High Five: Cherry plays her fun sport

Published 9:29 am Friday, September 8, 2023

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Northside senior Emaleigh Cherry started playing volleyball as a seventh-grader at Bath Elementary and is the captain of the Panthers squad this fall. The Pinetown native is also the shortstop on the Northside softball team and aspires to play that sport in college. She sat down to answer some questions before practice earlier this week.

  1. Why do you refer to volleyball as your fun sport?

Emaleigh: Because I’m out there to enjoy playing with my teammates and for Coach Leathers without having the pressure to try to keep playing in college. Coach Leathers has taught me so much about life and how to love God. I love playing for her and am grateful to her for making me a better person. Softball is my serious sport because I’ve wanted to play in college since I was six years old.

  1. What about softball makes you want to take it so seriously?

Emaleigh: I’ve learned to deal with the challenges life throws at you through softball and I enjoy challenging myself every day to improve. I learn something new every time out there and my teammates are outstanding. I work harder and am more competitive because of softball.

  1. Northside and Pamlico County were two of the top softball teams in the East last spring. You beat them here by one run, lost by a run in extra innings there, then lost again by a run in extra innings to determine the top seed for the state playoffs. Because of that, you had to play all your games on the road, but still made it to the third round. What did that teach you?

Emaleigh: I learned to keep battling when things don’t go your way, even though you thought it should have gone your way. Our team learned to control our emotions better and to stick together as a team. Sometimes life doesn’t work out like you want it to, but you have to keep working.

  1. Your grandfather, Fred Cherry, qualified for the national CrossFit games in Wisconsin this summer. What lessons did you take from a 65-year old man competing with the best in the world?

Emaleigh: He’s an awesome man and I’m so proud of him. My mouth just dropped watching some of the things he did on TV. He’s been a great role model for me and inspires me to do my best every day. I think I inherited a lot of his traits. I was shocked that he did so well at the nationals, but then again not really, because I saw how hard he trained and how disciplined he was with his diet. I lost the drive to play college softball for a while, but he inspired me to get back into that mindset. He’s sent me to all my camps and travel tournaments and I hope I can be like him when I grow up.

  1. What are your college plans?

Emaleigh: To attend Pitt Community College to play softball and study to be a dental hygienist. They have a good program, then I’ll transfer to ECU. I used to put rubber bands on my teeth when I was little, like braces. I was always interested in the lady who cleaned my teeth and decided that’s what I wanted to do.