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Cheyenne Miller SEHS Senior With Softball In Her Soul

story by Cindy Burbage
photos by Shelia Scott
Cheyenne began the journey in her softball career at an early age and demonstrated a hint of her natural talent. “I started playing t-ball when I was three years old,” the athlete recalled.  “I think I stayed busier filling my pockets with rocks than playing; although, I do remember taking the ball from players on my own team to try to make the play.  I continued with rec ball until I turned eight and we decided to try travel ball.  I started playing with the Sharks and my dad was my coach.  It was so much fun and staying in hotels all the time with my teammates was a blast.  We played in Atlanta and Jacksonville a lot back then.  As I got older, most of my teammates stayed together, but, we did change our team name a few times.  We were the Sharks, Extreme Combat, USSSA Pride and Southern Force.  Each change in name was to try to get our players to the elite level of play.  When I was 14, my dad decided to step down from being head coach and moved me to an elite organization out of Atlanta called Georgia Impact.  I have been with them for the past three years and, playing at that level with such amazing girls and coaches, has been life changing.  It took us all over the country and opened a lot of doors for me and all my teammates for colleges.” Cheyenne continued with a proudful smile, “Of course, my dad couldn’t totally give it up and he is still an assistant coach.”
In her last year of high school, Cheyenne will make her ultimate move in travel ball to Georgia Power Academy, a competitive girls fast pitch travel softball organization.  This prestigious group is based in metro Atlanta and produces a hefty number of players that go on to play at college level.  “I am very excited about this move because I will still get to play with some of my current teammates and best friends and I will also get to play with three of my future college teammates.  I think it will be great to get to spend this time with them before we go to college,” she thrillingly shared.
Hard work and perseverance have certainly paid off for this talented athlete. After graduation, Cheyenne will be trading her Mustang mascot for a panther! She has earned a scholarship to Georgia State University via her athletic abilities.
Cheyenne explained how this incredible opportunity presented,” After playing a few years, my parents asked me if I had any desire to play college softball.  I said, absolutely!  So, they did a lot of sacrificing to get me to tournaments, camps, showcases and everything they could to help me play at the highest level and to be seen by college coaches.  I was lucky that several colleges were interested in making me offers and I thought I had my mind made up until I went to a camp at Georgia State University.  I didn’t really realize it but both coaches were watching me and following me around a little.  When we had a break, they asked to talk to my parents.  I was shocked!  A few days later they contacted my head travel ball coach, Jack Barfield, and said they wanted me to come and meet with them.  I was shocked again!  The next week we went to Atlanta and spent the whole day with Coach Roger Kincaid and Coach Todd Downes.  They were so amazing and welcoming!  They showed me all over the city and the campus along with their facilities.  I loved their energy and everything they had to say.  I had no idea that they were going to make me an offer that day, but they did!  Again, total shock!  I was just 14 years old and a freshman and was being offered a D1 scholarship.  We left and drove home discussing it all the way and once home we discussed even more.  I told them that I wanted to go there.  My parents asked if I needed more time to think and talk about my other options, but my mind was made up.  My parents handed me the phone and I made the call to Coach Roger that I wanted to verbally commit to them and Georgia State University.  He was so awesome, and it has been a great journey to finally get to my senior year with college just around the corner.  I have had time to meet and become friends with some of my future teammates and I couldn’t be more excited.”
At just seventeen years old, this gifted young lady has racked up quite an impressive collection of accomplishments: Academic Award (9th-12th grade), Varsity Letter (9th-12th grade), 2nd Team All Region (10th grade), Savannah Morning News Best of Preps Honorable Mention (10th grade), 1st Team All Region  (11th grade), 1st Team All State  (11th grade), 2017 Region Co-Player of the Year (11th grade), SEHS Offensive Player of the Year, Savannah Morning News Best of Preps 1st Team and Player of the Week (11th grade), and Effingham Herald Player of the Week (11th grade)
Cheyenne Miller’s athletic life may be on cloud nine, but this meek teen keeps her feet rooted- her biggest wind in her sail is her family.  She humbly shared, “Wow, I feel so blessed to have so many supporters, but I would have to definitely say my parents; I just feel I have the best parents.  They have raised me to be a strong person, not just a softball player.  They have just always tried to teach me how to be successful and how to treat people.  They have been my biggest supporters in my accomplishments, have disciplined me when I needed it and have been my shoulder to cry on when times were tough.  I want to thank my grandparents for always supporting me.  My Mema that is nearby is proud for me and tries to come to my games but if she can’t, she meets me at the car to give me a hug.  My grandparents that live in Kansas and Illinois keep up with me on social media and are always so proud and supportive; they try to come to games when we travel out west too.  I have an amazing family! Fortunately, I have had a very blessed life and I owe that to them and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I thank my parents for giving me a strong Christian foundation.”
This SEHS senior would like to close with this, “I would love to thank everyone who has helped me along this softball journey and just my journey as a person.  Coach Marie Zettler has always been a great support for me.  She was not only a great hitting coach and worked our tails off in agilities, but she has become a supportive friend and mentor.  Coach Donald Pinnett for naming me Cheytown and being an amazing coach who is still always willing to give up his time for all of us girls. Coach Jona Downs for being tough which helped me to be tough and responsible.  Coach Jack Barfield for being an amazing coach and for opening so many doors for me.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without his help and support and love, Coach Victor Belogorska for always keeping everything fun.  Coach Mike Wilson for all of your help and softball advice. Coach Chuck Smith for 4 amazing years at SEHS; you are a great coach with lots of volume and energy.  Coach Randi Cox, for all of the support and the fist bumps on first.  Thank you for your spiritual leadership for our team and helping us to bond with each other and in Christ.  Coach Brandy Heinzen for being my bucket buddy with all the talks and encouragement and our inside jokes. Thank you to Coach Makayla Peny, Kristen Seckinger and Bud Smith for joining our team and making everything fun.  Coach Jose Tunon for inviting me to be a part of your team and familia.   Thank you to my future Georgia State University coaches, Coach Roger and Coach Todd for believing in me and giving me a chance to fulfill my dreams. Go Pathers. Thank you to all of my teammates. You are my sisters and lifelong friends and I will never forget you and our times together.  I look forward to many more memories to come. And last but not least, my dad for being the greatest coach ever. I will never forget all of our times on and off the field.  Thank you for always being there for me. I love you mom and dad. And, thank you to my Lord and Savior for all my many blessings!”
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