Lauren Stewart, second from left, is Cambridge High's first All-State athlete. With her is the varsity softball team, who are, from left, Abby Vacarella, Stewart, Bella Bravo, Savannah Dixon, Lily Valeo, Abigail Wilson, Courtney Campbell, Taylor Hauber, Emily Fedrigon, Maria Lay, Ally Konishi, Lindsey Smith, Heather Kipniss, Mariah Kibik and Keara Napoli. Not pictured are Amanda Chernick and Amelia Milender. (click for larger version)
January 07, 2014MILTON, Ga. — Sixteen-year-old Cambridge High School student Lauren Stewart was recently recognized as the First Team All-State outfielder for the 2013 softball season. Moreover, she also became the first student in her school's history to be named an All-State athlete.
"I was very surprised and very blessed to have received that," Stewart said, "but I know that I could have not done it without my teammates and coaches."
Stewart also attributes her success to her daily commitments to the sport and her most prominent supporter and inspiration, her brother Reggie Dion Stewart, a former football player for the University of Mississippi. Stewart believes that her brother keeps her grounded and motivates her to set the bar even higher, no matter how successful she becomes.
"I try to practice every day, whether it's pushups, working out or actually going outside and hitting balls," Stewart said. "My brother has always been there. He will take me to the park to work out or go in our backyard and hit balls with me; but we always try to find time to do something."
Stewart has considered herself an avid softball player since the age of 4, when she started playing T-ball and then progressed into softball two years later. She is also a track runner for her school and was a basketball player, soccer player, cheerleader, gymnast, flag football player and ballet and tap dancer.
She says that bonding with the team between games played all over the nation and having great sportsmanship are the greatest parts of her career.
"We continually challenge and push each other through the day by telling each other that 'we have to make it to the championship,'" she said. "It's tough, especially when we have to get to the park at six o'clock in the morning and stay until two o'clock in the morning."
As an athlete, Stewart believes that she has not missed out on a normal high school experience, but she has had to learn better time management skills, which she believes is beneficial for her in general. Moreover, she believes that as an athlete, she is held up to higher expectations and bears more responsibilities.
"You're not only representing yourself, you're also representing your school. So you have to carry that responsibility with you wherever you go. You have to make sure that you present yourself well and make the right choices," Stewart said.
Other than sports, Stewart was also the president of the school's 10th grade student council and is an active member of National Honor Society and Beta Club.
Stewart was also selected as All-Region Player of the Year for 2013 by a panel of softball coaches.
She aspires to play on a professional level one day and intends to major in sports broadcast journalism.