Hayles’ biggest goal as a collegiate student-athlete is to perform well academically, which she believes is attainable with the help of Lady Bobcats head coach Jamie Grodecki and assistant coach Kayla Lucas.
“I’m very nervous, but I know I can do it,” Hayles said. “What I’m nervous about is keeping my grades up, but with the coaches help I think I’ll be able to — they said they’ll help me out a lot.”
Establishing a renewed reputation of its own, GC softball finished the 2013 season in the spring with runner-up honors in the Peach Belt Conference, an at-large bid for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Southeast Region Tournament and the fourth-most wins for a season in school history.
The future Lady Bobcat admits it was the investment in the players’ lives that sold her on both Grodecki and Lucas right away.
“Their love for the players,” Hayles said. “They’re so player-oriented and not just about winning, winning, winning, which is a good thing, but they want to do what’s best for the players.”
For Brooker, the fit could not be more appealing as Hayles will get to stay local, get an education and play softball for a four-year institution; all of which she believes will help both GC and GMC Prep softball.
“To me, what makes it such a great fit is that it’s a local school and number one, it’s a four-year academic school. With Jessi being such a great student, that’s really what I wanted for her; to play softball at the same time is kind of a bonus,” Brooker said. “I think it’s great for the community and hopefully establishing connections between GMC and Georgia College, so I’m just excited about that.”