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Haleigh LeCompte’s signing on Wednesday was not so much a ceremony as a celebration.
In a tear-stained, emotional testimonial in the Shelby County High School library, coaches, family and friends sent LeCompte off to Transylvania University, where she has signed a letter-of-intent to play softball and basketball for the Pioneers, a landmark day for former Shelby County Rockets.
“Haleigh is the first two-sport signee in my time here and maybe in the history of Shelby County,” Athletics Director Sally Zimmerman said.
More than two dozen people were on hand to celebrate LeCompte’s big moment. Her teammates sat together in chairs in front of an arranged podium. There was a bouquet, a cake and Transylvania banners and tee-shirts as decorations.
Because Transylvania is an NCAA Division III school, no one from the school was allowed to attend. Even the “letter-of-intent” was a library form and not the official document.
But her future basketball coach did comment on his new player.
“We are excited to have Haleigh come in this fall as a student/athlete,” Women’s Basketball Coach Greg Todd said via e-mail. “Anytime you can get one of the best basketball players from Shelby County it is a plus. Haleigh has worked hard in the classroom and on the court to have this opportunity.”
The ceremony bore out her accomplishments.
One by one, LeCompte’s basketball coach, Zimmerman, her softball coach, Kelly Cable, her parents, Charlie and Sheri LeCompte, and her teammates went to the microphone to deliver her personal and emotional wishes, many wiping away tears and choking back their emotions.
Each complimented LeCompte for her athletic accomplishments as a starting guard and leading scorer in basketball and ace right-hander in softball but also made mention of her academic excellence, her character and her leadership.
LeCompte, who has a 4.6 weighted grade-point average (that’s about 3.97 on the 4-point scale), will major in secondary education at Transy.
“She is a student before she is an athlete,” Zimmerman said. “And that was especially true given the school she is going to. I’m proud of all you have accomplished here.”
Said Cable: “I’ve coached her since sixth grade, and I’ve gotten to see her become not just a great athlete but a really wonderful person.”
When LeCompte’s turn came to speak, she was well prepared and eloquent in thanking many, but especially her parents, who tried to control their emotions throughout the event..
“I want to thank you for pushing me to this level,” she said. “Mom kept me in the game mentally. You [her dad] toughened me up. You made me the athlete I am today.”