190516 Hatton vs Sand Rock 12

Hatton's Laney Jeffreys hits a foul ball to her coach Denton Bowling in the second inning of the Class 2A losers bracket game in the state softball championships at Lagoon Park Montgomery.[MATT MCKEAN/TIMESDAILY]

Hatton is known for its’ girls athletics. Whether it’s softball, basketball, volleyball or even cross country, each sport has had its share of the limelight. 

However, in recent years that limelight has been stretched pretty thin. That’s because each sport has had considerable success here lately. 

Softball has won five state titles since 2010, and is coming off its’ second state finals appearance in three years. Volleyball is two years removed from a run at the state tournament. Cross country has finished state runner up the past two seasons. Now, basketball is entering the club, reaching Wallace State last year and looking to go further this year. 

All these teams have one thing in common (besides players), and that is a combined weight program that is as intense as any you’ll find out around here. 

“We grind four days a week,” said Hatton softball coach Denton Bowling. “The summer weight program is mental just as much as it is physical. Every female athlete at Hatton High School is on the same program. Coach (Chasta) Chamness, Coach (Libbi) Huffaker are here, as is all our assistants.” 

Having all head coaches on the same page is a big deal for the Hornets, especially since most of the athletes play at least two of the sports.

“It’s huge,” Bowling said. “I’m the biggest volleyball and basketball fan when we’re not playing softball. We’ve tried to do the same thing we do with male sports and it’s worked well the past few years.” 

Having a combined effort also encourages athletes to play more than one sport, if they’re not already doing that. 

“It allows for a player that may only play one sport to realize that they’re doing the same stuff these other girls are doing,” he said. “We’ve seen numbers improve in all three programs. I have a softball/basketball girl that’s trying volleyball out for the first time. She’s a great athlete, but I don’t know if she does that if she’s not in here working with these girls.” 

Hatton has a long list of athletes that will dominate in their respective sports this year. Players like Josie Harville, Laney Jeffreys, Ashley Berryman and Bradyn Mitchell thrive in the weight room and will help lead their teams to success because of it. 

“I’ve coached girls before, but the numbers these kids are putting up speaks a lot about them,” he said. “Bradyn (Mitchell) comes in and squats 330 after Laney (Jeffreys) squats 325, well Laney comes back the next day and gets it back. That competitive attitude is what makes athletes special. It’s impressive day in and day out and it excites you to go in there and work.” 

It’s hard to argue with the results of the program, as the teams have been ultra successful on the court and field. 

“Girls athletics is successful here for a reason,” said Bowling. “There’s a commitment level. We’re over 90% attendance every day in the summer and that speaks volumes about them and what they’re willing to do to obtain success.” 

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