Dual-sport threat making push for college

Posted Monday, Jul. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Haley Gray is just looking to catch her breath.

As a dual sport athlete for Byron Nelson – softball and volleyball – her time has been devoted to making sure she’s as polished in those sports as she can be.

Admittedly, her chosen sport is softball, and that’s where her future in college is going to lie. While the school year is divided between working out for the two, the summer is spent with the bat and glove. Gray is starting to wind down the summer softball season with Texas Fusion Gold. The team has already played in four tournaments in Tulsa, Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There are two more tournaments before the season ends.

“The big thing for me is that both my coaches at Nelson have been really supportive of me doing this,” Gray said. “I definitely play because I want to stay in shape, but I also want to push myself to be as good as I possibly can.”

Gray (5-2), who has been on the varsity for her first three seasons, played shortstop for the Lady Bobcats during their run to the Class 4A Region I quarterfinals but is playing second base with Texas Fusion. That’s the position she’ll likely play should she find the college opportunity she wants, because her arm strength is better suited at that position, she said.

For volleyball, she should be the leading candidate to land the starting defensive specialist position. Nelson volleyball coach Libby Pacheco pulled her up for the playoff run that also ended in the regional quarterfinal round.

So this will be Gray’s first full year to make an impact. Defensive specialists are critical to a team’s defense, especially on the serve receive game as well as keeping rallies alive. With the glut of seniors on the 2012 team, there just would not have been the opportunity for her to be on the varsity. Pacheco wanted to keep her on the junior varsity so she would get her touches.

“I hope she will bring leadership and a great sense of teamwork to the season,” Pacheco said. “We will have a whole new set of defensive specialists on the team, so she will be a big part of making a push for the starting position. I know I will be able to rely on her energy for practices and games.”

Part of the summer has been spent attending summer camps. Earlier, she traveled to South Carolina to participate in Furman’s camp. The Furman coaches had taken notice of her before. Plus, she has family living in South Carolina.

While an offer hasn’t been extended, Gray knows she has their attention. She left it with the coaches that she would stay in touch with them and they would with her. Still, a big senior year could make the difference.

“The coaches told me that they liked a lot of the things I was doing, and that they were going to stay in touch,” she said. “There are a couple of junior colleges that are interested. But I want to see what happens at some other levels first.

“But when softball is over, I’m going to get in the open gym and get my work for volleyball. I have to get ready when practice starts in August.”

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