COVINGTON - Before her senior year, Shay Marks had already left her imprint on sports at Newton High School.
Her senior year was no different as she not only excelled in softball, basketball and track, she also made those around her better.
"Shay has grown into an amazing athlete and an exceptional young woman. She is a talented athlete and one of the best athletes Covington has seen in a while," Newton girls basketball coach Tiffani Johnson said. "She can adapt and perform in a variety of sports. Only a true athlete will excel in all sports."
Marks was one of the Lady Rams' top hitters this season with a .418 batting average.
In track, she won the Region 2-AAAAA triple jump and placed third at state in Class AAAAA. She also had third-place finishes in the region meet in the long jump and the 100-meter dash.
Her personal records, which are also school records, are 38 feet, 8 inches in the triple jump, 18-73/4 inches in the long jump and 12.35 seconds in the 100.
"Shay is the total package. She is a good student, a tremendous athlete and is well liked by everyone that knows her. Her parents are fantastic people and are responsible for having raised a great daughter. They have instilled a good work ethic that has led her to be the person she is," Newton girls track coach Aaron Robinson said. "Shay has consistently improved in all of her events over the last four years leading up to her senior year. This year, Shay really put it together to perform at the highest level of high school competition."
Marks lettered all four years at Newton and was voted most valuable player for the track team all four years as well.
This season, she scored 138 points in track and won the triple jump, long jump and the 100 at the Citizen Challenge, which matches up all six local schools on the track. She also ran the anchor leg on the Lady Rams' winning 400 meter relay team.
In basketball, Marks averaged 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.8 assists per game for Newton.
Besides playing softball, basketball and participating in track and field for the past four years, she was also able to maintain her grades.
"It takes a lot of self-discipline and determination to be involved in three sports, maintain As and Bs and work a part-time job. She has a lot of self-discipline that is not currently seen in many kids," Johnson said. "I know Georgia State will be happy with her decision. There is no doubt that Shay will be a key asset to their track team. I wish Shay the best of luck in the future, as I know she will be successful in anything she does."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: Past winners
1999: Kerry Gilstrap
2000: Randall Hardy
2001: Shawn Smith
2002: Justin Stafford, Mindy Barnett
2003: Jamica Wyatt
2004: Kemisa Williams
2005: Brandon Heath
2006: Joe Behrmann
2007: Brent Durand