North Stokes junior Chandley Garner split Northwest Conference Player of the Year honors with East Surry’s Emily Cummings this season.
As an all-conference athlete for the past three years, Garner is a force on the field and has a reputation that reaches far beyond Stokes County.
After her freshman season at North Stokes the shortstop was offered a full-ride scholarship to play for NC State University and plans on signing her letter of intent in November. As a member of the Lady Lightening team she’ll travel to California, New Jersey, and Florida over the summer before coming back to finish her senior season with the Lady Vikings.
“I love softball and the feeling of adrenaline especially when games are close. It keeps you on edge,” she said.
Although North is known for their softball program, Garner said earlier in the season it felt different and she wasn’t sure how it would all come together.
“We were all very determined, but practices started a little slow and we knew we had some work to do,” she said.
It didn’t take long for the girls to prove they’d be another formidable powerhouse.
“We started working harder especially when we got closer to the conference tournament and playoffs. We buckled down and came together.”
The team went on to finish with a record of 24-3, clinch the Northwest Conference title, and fall just one game short of making another appearance at the state championship.
“Going that far is intense but coming off the field knowing you’ve done everything you can, it’s hard to be upset about it,” she said.
According to assistant coach Randy Shelton, the rising senior is the heart of North Stokes softball team.
“Coming in she was one of those players we heard so much about which really doesn’t mean all that much. But she showed us what she could do in her first game as a freshman. At her first bat she hit a homerun and Jeff and I just looked at each other and smiled.”
Shelton said while Garner offers leadership and a solid work ethic she contributes as much off the field as she does on.
“What sets Chandley apart is this. We went to North Stanly and beat them 6-1 in the playoffs. Jeff and I walked out of the dugout, turned the corner and saw Chandley in their bleachers on our side picking up trash. It gave me a chance to turn to one of our freshman and say, ‘She takes pride in our program. From cleaning up trash to giving it her all in drills’.
Garner is equally impressive on the volleyball court where she was named on the Under Armor Phenom Watch List as a junior. While she’s a standout athlete, she’s also competitive in the classroom.
“Last season we were just talking and she straight out told me softball wasn’t her life. She loved it, but she’s planning on going to NC State and majoring in biomedical engineering. She laid out her four years and what she was doing. That’s impressive,” Shelton said.
“If there’s any kid that can walk around here and think she’s something, it’s her but she would never do that,” the coach said. “She’ll be the one six, seven, years down the road when a group of freshmen come in we’ll be talking about. We’ll tell them about Chandley’s work ethic, how hungry she was, and what she did up here.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.