Cove senior Jayda Carter signs to play softball for Angelina Lady Roadrunners
By TJ MAXWELL
Brutal honesty has developed Copperas Cove’s Jayda Carter into the player and the person that she is today, and she hopes that honesty helps propel her on her next journey as the senior recently signed a letter of intent to play for head coach Mark Mattson and the Angelina College Lady Roadrunners.
“It was just a good fit,” Carter said of her decision to choose Angelina. “The coach was very warming, but he told me straight up that he’s very honest and that’s one thing I want from a coach – honesty. He said he would tell us if we were going to play that game. It’s good knowing he will relay the information and put in the time and effort to develop me as a player.”
Jayda’s father, Tony Carter, acknowledged all that went into her achieving this momentous opportunity.
“This is a big moment for her and for the family and a really big moment for the school – as far as I am concerned,” he said as Jayda wiped tears from her eyes. “I appreciate the coaches and all the time they have put into her. From coach Penny, when they first started to coach Waller and coach Mack. It takes a lot to produce something like this and it takes a lot for her to understand what they’re giving her and trying to get her to. So, I want to thank everybody that has been with her from the beginning and those that have joined in the journey to bring her to this. It really means a lot to me to see my little girl achieve something like this.
“It took all you guys loving her, laughing with her, pushing her, talking bad about her when she does something bad to make her what she is today. I just want to thank everybody for that, and I appreciate you all more than you can imagine.”
Carter was selected to the 2018 homecoming court, excels academically and is a member of DECA, despite being a dedicated multi-sport athlete.
However, the question of which sport to choose was never in doubt.
“I always knew it would be softball over basketball because that’s what I’ve been doing since I’ve been growing up.”
The journey of finding a choosing a college can be a demanding one, but Carter is just glad she has the decision behind her heading into her senior season on the diamond and can just relax and play the game she loves.
“It was very stressful at first, but thanks to the help of the coaches and my teammates who continue to push me, that helped me get to this point,” she said. “Now it’s just all about fun and pushing myself further. It’s very relieving to know that I don’t have to worry about impressing someone and having someone looking at me all the time. Now it’s just about doing what I know how to do.”
Carter looks forward to her final season with her Lady Dawg teammates before embarking on the next chapter of her journey but admits it will get tougher as the season winds down.
“It’s my last ride so I have to go hard,” she said. “It’s going to be a rough ending because it’s my last year, but I know I’m going to enjoy it the whole time.
“It’s going to be rough. I’m already crying. Everything they’ve done for me just means a lot.”
Copperas Cove head softball coach Bryan Waller watched Carter grow into the leader she is today and beamed from ear to ear as he spoke about her during the ceremony.
“One of the things that stands out about Jayda is that she has become a great leader on the field and off the field,” said Waller. “She started out at first base as a freshman then we moved her to the outfield as a sophomore because we figured that was where she could help us the most. Now, the last two years, she’s going to be our shortstop. She has adjusted and overcame different things and learned to play many positions; which has helped her in her choices of college.
“It’s going to be bittersweet when she graduates this year, along with the other ones in her class. It’s a wonderful class of young ladies. I have high expectations for our season and Jayda is a big part of that.”
Carter is currently in a playoff race for the Lady Dawgs’ basketball team as a starter for the squad.
“Jayda has played this game since she could throw a ball,” said Waller. “She has given her heart and her passion to this sport. It’s also a joy to know that she has given her heart and passion to other sports as well.”
Carter was surrounded by throngs of supporters at the ceremony, including many of her underclassmen teammates and she offered some words of advice for those facing these decisions in the near future.
“Continue pushing yourself and don’t give up,” she said. “If one coach doesn’t like you, it’s all right because there are a million other coaches.”
Carter plans on majoring in Nursing at Angelina.