Athlete of the Week: Shaelyn Grant
Central Warriors softball has dominated on the Western Slope for years on end. They will host a regional in Grand Junction after they captured their sixth straight conference title. Shaelyn Grant hasn't known anything but winning. The senior will lead Central in her final attempt at a state championship beginning this weekend.
Central softball captured their sixth straight Southwestern League title after going undefeated in conference play and boasting a 21-2 record. Senior Shaelyn Grant has won four straight conference titles.
"It's been really cool, it's crazy to think we are doing that,” said Grant. “That's the best record they have ever had so it's really cool to be a part of that."
This season, the Warriors have scored 10 or more runs in 17 of their games and this team is stout on defense. They allowed 2.3 runs per game and had eight shutouts.
"I definitely think that we have one of the best defenses in the state,” Grant said. “It's really cool to know that these girls, if I don't do good, they are going to pick me up. No matter what, every girl is going to pick you up on the team and that's why we shut teams out. We all pick each other up. I can't explain anything else. It's probably one of the best teams I’ve ever been on. It's great to be a part of girls like this."
"She knows the game,” said head coach Scott Else. “She played summer ball with some higher teams over in Denver. She’s been doing it for a long time. Great blocker, can throw girls out at second from her knees which is a huge advantage. She does a great job anchoring that defense."
Grant doesn't have an off switch. Off the diamond, she has a 3.5 GPA, performs in honors band and is a state qualifying diver. Oh yeah, and she volunteers at the humane society in whatever spare time she has.
"I want to do everything; I want to put my best foot forward,” said Grant. “College is the number one. I want to be a student-athlete and I put everything I can to go to college. Athletics, band, I do everything to keep me in shape to keep myself out of trouble, if anything."
Some of those skills outside of softball translate into her game.
"Swimming keeps me in shape,” said Grant. “I did not expect it to kick my butt like it does. It keeps me in shape. With softball, it makes base running like it's nothing because of how hard swimming is. It's fun."
Her talent on the field isn't only limited to behind the plate. Her flexibility has allowed for other players to shine on the team.
"This year, they started me out in center field. I've been catching back and forth, catching and center field, and it's really cool to know that there's four main positions on the team and i get to be a part of two of those."
"She hits the ball well. She's super coachable. She's fast for her size,” said Else. “We've got a quite a bit of interest from colleges on her. Good kid, good grades, never on my list. She's just a good leader."