Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Boulder City three-sport star balances a full schedule to lead Eagles

By Anthony Fenech (contact)

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009 | 9:30 p.m.

Paxton Fleming is a five-tool student-athlete for Boulder City High.

When she’s not on the softball diamond in the spring and summer, she’s in the gym on the volleyball or basketball courts in the fall and winter. When she’s not serving as the student body president, she’s closing in on a salutatorian finish to her academic high school career.

So goes her life of juggling academics and athletics, a life that the senior admits, catches up with her at times.

“I don’t sleep,” she jokingly said.. “But I like anything competitive. Anything I can compete in is good.”

Competitive. In a word, that explains the near-perfect grade-point average, one of the highest softball batting averages in the state last year and the three-year tenures on each of the Eagles teams she plays for.

It’s why she was nearly driven to tears after last year’s Boulder City softball team fell apart late in the state tournament. The Eagles finished 32-5, but lost twice to Northern Nevada’s Fernley High in state finals.

“It was horrible,” she said. “It was the worst feeling ever.”

Last year, Fleming earned first-team All-State honors for the third consecutive year in softball, batting .647, stealing 26 out of 27 bases and captained the team from her catcher’s position.

“Last season was so much fun until we lost,” she said. “This year will be different.”

Different, not only for the Eagles softball team, but for the volleyball team, too. Fleming described last year as a rebuilding year, but the setter promises her senior year will be different.

That is music to the ears of coach Cherise Roe.

“She’s definitely one of the top setters in the league,” Roe said. “And after last year, we expect to get to states this year and with her being one of the leaders, she’ll be a big part of that.”

During the fall and winter, Fleming doubles her volleyball and basketball duties with playing club softball.

“I’d say basketball is my favorite sport to play because it’s fun,” she said. “And softball is my best, but really, whichever sport is in season is going to be my favorite.”

Her ticket to the next level, however, seems all but punched in softball, a sport where the 5--foot-3 catcher can balance the size she doesn’t have with her speed and leadership skills.

“Her work ethic is unbelievable,” Roe said. “I don’t know how she juggles it, just the fact she can handle all of it, that’s something that will definitely translate to the next level.”

Fleming said a number of smaller schools have contacted her about playing softball. She will be attending camps Boise State and Texas State.

“After doing so much in high school, I just can’t imagine doing nothing in college,” she said. “So I think I need to play softball.”

For a girl that excels at almost everything: Throwing runners out, balancing A’s in school, leading a volleyball team, heading the student council and making jump would seem to be the easy part.

Getting some sleep is another thing.

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