Wright inks with Southwest

by Nicole Stokes

A standout, two-sport athlete at Franklin County High School announced her intentions on Thursday, May 4 to attend Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit to further her post-secondary education.

Senior Niyla Wright, who made a name for herself in playing both basketball and volleyball for the Lady Bulldogs, will get a shot at being part of the Lady Bears’ cage squad thanks to the scholarship opportunity she inked last week.

The 6-foot Wright said she was excited to get the chance to be part of the Southwest family, which she characterized as the best choice for her out of all her options.

“I plan to study kinesiology to be an athletic trainer,” she noted of her future course of study.

In terms of her philosophy on life — especially when it comes to athletics — Wright said she does not left negative influences discourage her because that would only slow her personal and career progress.

“People will talk about you and (try to) put stuff in your head, but you really just have to look past all of that,” she continued. “I wouldn’t say a lot of people talked about me, but with basketball they kind of … I let it wear my confidence down (at times), but I just really played through it.”

The scholarship opportunity for Wright was greatly appreciated, especially in light of losing her sophomore basketball season to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just wanted to come back stronger for my team, because I knew we were going to be kind of short handed,” she continued. “I did my best to be able to be better for my team, to be the best that I could be.”

As both a junior and senior, Wright was part of an FCHS basketball team that cruised to back-to-back 7-3A district crowns with those squads making an appearance in the post-season.

She also excelled both offensively and defensively with the fledgling FC volleyball program.

“Most of my best memories are from my teams,” Wright continued. “I especially loved away games and laughing on the bus on the way back to school ... I will miss that most.”

She also credited her FC coaches for helping her get to where she is presently — preparing for everything life holds after high school.

“I couldn’t have asked for better coaches,” Wright went on to say. “Of course, they were hard on us, but did it in such a way that made you want to continue to play the game.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people that tell me their coaches took away their love for the game, but that didn’t happen with me. They made me love it that much more, and I appreciate that.”

In kinesiology, Wright desires to continue being surrounding by athltics — with an emphasis on eventually helping other competitors by serving as an athletic trainer.

“I want to do it professionally — not just college or high school,” Wright said. “I want to go to the highest level of (the profession).”

From a career perspective, Wright said she doesn’t want to just settle for a bachelor’s degree, but wants to purse master’s level credentials.

“In five years, I will probably still be in school, because of what I hope to do in terms of learning all I can about athletic training,” she added.