By Tim Chambers
Harold Arnold Field had a lot of good Longhorn athletes running around on it during the football game on Friday but none more athletic than the dynamic duo that made up part of their homecoming court. Natalie Winters and Emmy Miller were decked out in “crowns and gowns,” and they too were victorious like the Horns were over Claiborne County.
The two young ladies were all smiles during the halftime show as each walked away with a prestigious honor. Winters was crowned the 2019 homecoming queen, and Miller was selected as the junior class princess.
It was only fitting for both of them to walk away with those honors because they, too, are fixtures when it comes to Lady Longhorns’ athletics.
Winters and Miller both stars on the basketball team, and each of them were starters last season. They are also outstanding softball players and appear to have the talent to play at the next level when their athletic careers are over.
But now both of them have mastered another sport with a chance for a scholarship at the next level.
They chose to show their school spirit by trying out and making the varsity cheerleading squad. It’s a huge accomplishment for both girls.
They cheer during all the football games, and they’re hoping to be on the sidelines during the boys’ basketball games.
They are currently awaiting approval to do that but are excited about doing it if they are approved. They will be looking to end decades of frustration in girls’ basketball by earning a spot in this year’s regional basketball tournament. They would love to put their cheering uniform afterward.
They do all this and still manage to maintain one of the highest overall grade point averages in their class. Winters said they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I don’t know what I would do if I weren’t overwhelmed with sports,” said Winters. “It’s something that I’ve always enjoyed doing. I love the fact of being selected as homecoming queen because I’ve had a lot of support from my family and friends all week long. It meant a lot knowing that the student body at school would vote for me.”
The same could be said for Miller. She was elated to represent the junior class as their princess. She touched on how she and Winters got into the cheerleading field.
“Natalie and I were sitting there one day talking and wanted to do something new. We thought cheerleading would be super fun and we both have fallen in love with it. I enjoy it probably more than anything. I love my teammates and coaches, but it’s that way in all the sports that I participate in. Cheering is something that is new to me.”
Miller said that being a three-sport athlete wasn’t easy sometimes, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s hard but fun, and we’ve been doing this since we were small kids,” said Miller. “It takes a certain type of motivation to do it, especially if you have your hard classes during that time. You have to work hard and get everything situated.” Natalie and I just took out volleyball this year and added cheerleading. It’s been good for both of us.”
Winters agreed with Miller about how cheerleading
had been one of the best things that they have ever done. She describes her love for it.
“Cheering gives me a positive outlook on everything and helps me clear my mind,” added Winters. “Coach Walters is such a good mentor and great womanly figure to have in my life because she’s so passionate about her faith in God. That makes a big difference to me. She brings with it a lot of positivity. I’m blessed to have some great coaches.”
Michelle Walters, her cheerleading coach, knows that she too has been blessed with the addition of Winters and Miller. She touched on what it meant to her program to have them there.
“I worried at first because I didn’t know how their other coaches would feel, but it’s all good,” said Walters. “I saw how much they wanted to cheer, and it got me so excited. You could never tell this was their first year of cheering. They fit in good with the girls, and that’s important because we spend a lot of time with each other. From the beginning, they were leaders, and it’s easy to see why they are so good at basketball and softball. Both of them have the athleticism to do well at this sport. We love having them on the team.”
Walters went on to say.
“If Natalie wants to cheer in college she’ll have a college scholarship cheering. She just that good, and she is a super tumbler. I can see Emmy being able to do that after her senior year. You would never know it was their first year of cheering. Both of them are excellent leaders.”
The pair also star on the softball diamond. Both of them hit over .400 last season that earned them high praise from softball head coach Greg Reece.
“Natalie has been an outstanding player for JCHS Softball. She is an excellent first baseman, but last year she stepped in to catch several games when our starter (Emmy) was out. She was one of our very best hitters batting in the second spot and was an Honorable mention All-Conference. She always has a positive, coachable, and team-oriented attitude.”
Reece went on to say about Miller.
“Emmy may be the best catcher to come through the program in the last ten years, but that may not be her best position. She is an outstanding outfielder and one of the best base runners I have ever coached with her aggressiveness and an on-field nasty streak. We love having both of them.”
Girls’ basketball head coach Leon Tolley gave a classic quote when describing his starting point guard and power forward.
“Natalie and Emmy are very well rounded,” said Tolley. “They play multiple sports and give their all in each of them. They also lead by example and still have time to put on a pretty dress and look all lady-like. I’m glad they are on my team for sure. They are beauties in the hall and beasts on the basketball court.”
They are also this year’s 2019 homecoming queen and junior princess.