After a 17-month lull in sports activities due to the pandemic, athletics started up again this school year at Tahlequah Sequoyah High School. And while many of the athletes who transferred at that time have either graduated or decided not to return, senior Echota Hummingbird was one who couldn’t wait to get back to his home school.
“When Covid hit, I had trouble academically with virtual instruction so I transferred to Fort Gibson where I could get in-person teaching and see about pursuing baseball as well. But this year I wanted to come back here because it’s like home to me,” said Echota. “Lots of my family members were here before me and they encouraged me to attend here. It’s a real welcoming school and I love everyone here.”
His baseball and assistant football coach, Eric Kirkpatrick, is certainly glad to have him back.
“Echota is the kind of athlete you want to have in your program. He brings energy every day and leads us in both sports. In baseball this season he’s hitting .356 and his speed makes him a stealing threat whenever he gets on base.”
Though he plays both football and baseball, Echota says baseball, where he pitches and plays outfield, is his favorite sport much to the chagrin of his family.
“My whole family is football, football, football,” laughed Hummingbird. “I’m the only one who has played baseball and stuck with it through high school.”
One of the big challenges for Echota and the Indians, in general, is leadership. With athletics just starting back up, there weren’t the experienced players to be those senior leaders you normally think of in a high school sports program.
“I think there’s a little more pressure on me as a senior to be a leader because we have so many young and inexperienced players this year. But life is going to put pressure on you, so you just have to learn to push through,” said Echota.
And he has really stepped up in that regard. He even acts as the emcee at pep rallies to stoke up school spirit.
“I like to get the students revved up and I go around and introduce people at the rallies and lead some fun events.”
In addition to athletics, another program that is gearing back up at Sequoyah is the HOPE (Honor Our People’s Existence) Program which Echota is proud to be a part of.
“We go out to other schools and demonstrate some Native American dances and pow wows which I enjoy,” said Hummingbird.
After high school, Echota says he’ll probably go to Connors State to study and hopefully play baseball.