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Checotah’s Natalie Knight – Athlete Spotlight – Presented By Cross

Given her family genes it should come as no surprise that Checotah senior Natalie Knight is a cracker-jack softball player, captain of the cheer team and a team leader. She has been playing school softball since the sixth grade, has been tumbling and doing flips around the house since she was little and is now in the top 10 percent of her class and, according to her coach Erin Bridges, has really stepped into the role of senior leader.

“To be honest I really didn’t see Natalie as the leader type because she’s always been content to let the upperclassmen handle that, but she’s really stepped up this year as a leader and surpassed my expectations. She talks to the team before games about their attitude and energy out on the field and every time I ask the team to do something she pushes them a little bit harder and that’s really helped me as a coach.”

Natalie is hitting .379 so far this season with a fielding percentage of .854 and has thrown out 10 would-be base stealers as the Lady ‘Cats catcher-a position she acquired a couple of years ago when they needed someone to fill the gap. But it’s not like she didn’t have some exposure to the catching position.

“My older brothers played baseball and so I was around it a lot and one of them was a catcher, so I learned that position.”

That brother is Caleb, a Checotah grad who went on to have a stellar career at Connors State and is now in the pros in the Cubs organization.

“He was certainly my role model growing up and even now,” said Natalie also who runs track where she does the long jump and runs in some relay races.

Like the catching position, leadership is something that Natalie has grown into, especially this year.

“Our team is very young with just two seniors so I knew that there needed to be someone for the young kids to look up to. I want to be able to help them with their skills and help make them be the best they can be so when they’re seniors they’ll be able to carry it on.”

Natalie also loves her position as captain of the cheer team which she has thought of since she was little.

“I used to stand on the sidelines with the high school cheerleaders and just dream that I could do that one day.”

Outside of school, Natalie volunteers for projects like Santa’s Soldiers at Christmas time, helps with big city events through the chamber of commerce and, with the cheer squad, helps with Special Olympics.

Because of her familiarity with the campus through Caleb, Connors is certainly at the top of her list for college softball but says if that doesn’t happen, she might try to get on a college cheer squad.

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