Former Lady Redskins softball and track standout Sierra Newman hasn’t slowed down since graduating from Bryan County High School in 2012.
Just the opposite.
This spring, Newman stole 47 bases season and hit .345 while batting leadoff at Darton State College, and her stolen bases were a school record while also ranking her in the top 10 nationally.
That was good enough to get Newman postseason honors as a member of the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association All Region team.
It also led her back home, though not quite to Pembroke.
Newman signed recently to play at Armstrong State University after drawing interest from Georgia College, Middle Georgia, Valdosta State and the University of South Carolina at Beaufort, among others.
But Armstrong was closest to home and it also offered a winning tradition, Newman said.
“Armstrong has a really good program that has been to nationals a few times,” she said. “I wanted to go somewhere where they win.”
Newman will study nursing at Armstrong, she said, while two years at Darton helped her acclimate to the college game.
“Everything is so much more intense in college,” she said. “In college, everyone on the team is used to being the star player at their high school. They’re all MVPs, and the moment you get there you have to do your best to earn a position and keep a position. It’s just a lot harder.”
Newman said she misses her days at BCHS because of the pride there is in the program and the friends she made.
“There are so many memories from here,” she said. “And coach (Al) Butler, he made it fun. It was just a really fun experience, and there’s definitely pride in the program. It always feels good to say I’m from Bryan County, because everbody knows about our softball team and what we’ve done here.”
Bryan County has two state softball titles on its resume, not to mention a number of appearances in the Elite Eight and Final Four.
Like many athletes who find success, Newman said there are people who’ve helped her along the way.
“Christie and Steve Howard taught me everything I know about slapping (a sort of swinging bunt), and coach Butler, who helped me in high school, and my family, and everyone I’ve met who’s been a positive influence on me.”
Those she named include her aunt, Lisa Crawford, mom, Terra Shuman, and Mark and Becky Crowe and their son Cody.
And if asked, Newman has advice for up and coming high school softball players looking to get to the next level.
“Have fun while on the field, but don’t take it too seriously,” she said. “Enjoy yourself out there, but work hard. Do your best at all times.”