McALESTER — For most of her life, McAlester senior Baylee Dawkins has been a competitor. She said Thursday she started competitive softball as a 7-year-old, and within two years she started playing competitive basketball as well.
Dawkins played both sports for Frink-Chambers, even winning a state championship in softball with the Lady Falcons. She also started playing travel softball with the McAlester Knockouts, a team that at the time included Lady Buffs softball teammate Cheyenne Selman, at about the same age.
Dawkins’ positions in both sports have changed over the years. She said she began her softball career as a second baseman, but she converted to first starting in the eighth grade.
“My sister always played first base, so when I was little, that’s what I always wanted to do, just because she did,” Dawkins. “It was just nice being able to finally do it, and I still play second base some for my travel team.”
In basketball, Dawkins said she began as a 3-guard/small forward. But with the transition to high school she’s moved up to post, battling with some of the tallest players on opposing teams.
“It was hard at first, because you’re just not quite used to it, getting physical and stuff,” Dawkins said. “I still struggle with that.”
Dawkins said going from Frink-Chambers to McAlester High School wasn’t easy, her class size suddenly jumping from 40 kids to approximately 200. But as a Lady Buff she’s made varsity in both sports every year since freshman year and a been starter every year since sophomore year.
That means Dawkins has been a key part of some very successful Lady Buffs teams, including the 2011-12 softball and basketball squads that both reached their respective state tournaments — experiences Dawkins still rank among her all-time favorites.