SCHOLAR ATHLETE: Terry balances life with plenty on plate

For Permian senior Natalie Terry, it was never a question of whether to concentrate on academics or athletics.

It was just a matter of making enough time for both, along with all the other organizations in which she has been active.

Terry, a four-year varsity soccer player, also competed in cross country and track during her high school year. She played soccer, as well, in addition to being active in National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and volunteering with Special Olympics and West Texas Food Bank, and that hardly scratches the surface.

“Time management is super important, definitely,” said Terry, who can add the 2019 Permian girls scholar-athlete honor to an already packed resume. “I think that’s what’s super cool about sports. It kind of teaches you, without you realizing it, how to manage your time better. You have to do homework before practice or after practices. You have to work everything into your schedule.

“I love it that I get to play sports. I think that’s what’s made me so successful in the classroom. I care about my results.”

Permian girls soccer coach Chad Peterson said it would almost be impossible for Terry to not achieve excellence in all her endeavors.

“I don’t think Natalie’s ever been able to separate either her athletic career or her academic career,” Peterson said. “She approaches both sides of that the same way. It’s full speed and full tempo in everything that she does.

“Of course, you add on to that the social life and everything else that high school kids have to go through, but to get to this point both athletically and academically for Natalie is what’s she’s been working for for four years and it shows. The academic award that she’s won here plus the FCA Impact award she won, it’s just a testament to how hard she works both on and off the park, both in and out of the classroom.”

Terry, who recently signed to play soccer at Wayland Baptist University, said success in one area only spurs her to match it in other pursuits.

“I definitely think I see my competitive nature in both,” she said. “I’m super competitive, so I think I compete with my grades a lot more than I thought I did.

“On the field, I’m super competitive and want to be the best one. It’s the same thing in the classroom. I always want to do my best. I’ve always be taught to do my best and be the best one. I feel like that’s helped me a lot. I’ve learned all that on the field and it’s carried over to the classroom.”

A three-time all-district selection in soccer and a regional qualifier in cross country, Terry said her academic background set a solid foundation for other areas of her life.

“I was home schooled before junior high, so my first teacher was my mom (Kim),” Terry said. “She taught me early on that your character is the most important thing ever. I think with character comes your hard work and your dedication and your best with everything that you do.

“I think that’s carried over not just in my athletics but also in my academics. I learned early on and it’s just carried over through the years.”

Terry plans to major in business in college, but has no concrete plans beyond playing soccer for the Pioneers.

“Honestly, I haven’t given it much thought,” she said. “I want to study business and hopefully one day own my own business or do something with marketing. I haven’t really given it much thought. I’m really excited about playing soccer, so I feel like that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”

Terry was one of six Lady Panther soccer players to receive an offer to play in college and will join classmate Briana Moore at Wayland. Permian teammates Tyeliyah Jones and Elissa Easley will play at Cisco College, while Kendra Cecil is bound for Howard Payne University and Tobi McCoy signed with Northumbria University in Newcastle, England.

Peterson said all six share similar qualities.

“It’s always easy when you have kids come in with the right mental attitude,” he said. “Obviously, we had six of them that came in four years ago together. For four years, every step of the way, they’ve done all of that stuff together.

“It showed their freshman year going into the regional tournament athletically and it showed again with an 18-4-3 record for us this year. This is the closest-knit group of seniors we’ve had in a long time. Not only are they very good athletes and soccer players, they’re great kids. Each of the schools that are getting them are getting top-notch kids and top-notch athletes.”