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Sports and studies fit for Boothby

BRADENTON

Jenny Boothby knows academics.

She sports a grade-point average hovering near perfection. She’s a regular in advanced-placement classes.

She did such a fine job applying for the Godbold Foundation Scholarship that the interviewer gave her the good news over the phone.

“He said, ‘I don’t know why you wouldn’t get it,’” said Boothby, a senior at Saint Stephen’s. “‘Expect to get a letter in the mail.’”

But Boothby knows sports, too.

She knows volleyball, basketball, softball and tennis. She participated in all four this year, including the last two, which are played during the spring.

Boothby is the epitome of a student-athlete, which is why the Florida High School Athletic Association named her to its All-Academic Team last month.

She was one of 24 picked from a pool of more than 230 qualified nominees. All Boothby had to do was letter in at least two varsity sports in either her junior or senior year and sport a grade-point average — unweighted, by the way — of at least 3.5.

Sounds simple, right?

When Boothby was told she made the list, she was shocked.

“I had forgotten I’d even applied for it,” Boothby said.

Makes sense. You’d have a hard time shoving a ruler into the free time Boothby has on an average day. She’s up by 6:45 in the morning, leaves her house around 7:30 and is in school until 3. Then she’s off to practice for any one of the four sports she played this year and gets home around 8.

“And then I do homework,” she said.

Boothby wouldn’t want it any other way. She understands why some people don’t value sports as much as she does — people are entitled to their opinions and some folks just don’t like to play games.

Not Boothby. Take sports away from all she’s accomplished in the past four years, and it just wouldn’t be the same.

“Sports is my time to blow off steam and have fun,” she said. “The school day can be so frustrating. ... Sports is fun — it keeps you in shape.

“There is something you get out of a team sport ... and you get to build all those friendships.”

Rather than cramming Boothby’s time, sports, she says, helps her manage it better. There’s not much time to lose focus when you have to squeeze a term paper around two hours of volleyball practice or when you have to get your homework done before a 7 p.m. basketball game.

“I have to set time for school work,” she said.

Boothby is headed to Georgia Tech next year to study biomedical engineering, a major that typically doesn’t allow for a whole heap of free time.

But Boothby plans on playing intramural sports anyway, because if done right, athletics and academics can form the perfect union.

Just ask Boothby. She knows.

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