Success in multiple sports and academics doesn't always seem to go hand in hand, but Sulphur High School graduate Alyssa Navarre found a simple formula to do both and earned this year's American Press Scholar Athlete of the Year Award.
"As long as you try harder than everybody else, then you are going to get there," Navarre said. "If you have a great work ethic, that is all you need. That is really what carries you through sports and academics.
"School and sports are both things that I enjoy doing. They are things that I enjoy investing myself in. I never really found it to be a struggle except for maybe studying. If you just set time for everything and have goals and deadlines, it works."
Navarre wrapped up her high school career with a 4.15-grade point average and a 28 ACT score while taking several advanced and dual-enrollment classes at McNeese State University. She also earned Louisiana High School Athletic Association All-Academic composite team honors in basketball and track. Navarre ranked 11th in her graduating class of 435.
Navarre said she will attend Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, this fall with the hopes of graduating and getting into the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She will also play basketball for the Majors.
"Millsaps has a direct relationship with William Cary med school," Navarre said. "It is a really intimate relationship and hopefully I can use that to my advantage and get into med school eventually. I would love to be a physician and specialize in orthopedics. One of the big reasons for that is that is a field that requires a lot of competitiveness. It is just something that I am used to."
Navarre said she set her sights on becoming an orthopedist after a hip injury during her sophomore year that she didn't even know she had. Now she wants to help others avoid a similar situation.
"I didn't realize it was broken," Navarre said. "It wasn't like it was a full break.
"I ended up playing on it until I finished out the playoffs that year. Once I become an orthopedist, I want to start a program that can help athletes recognize the difference between major injuries and minor injuries. They need to be aware of the symptoms. I want to help start that so we don't have as many knee injuries and stuff like that."
Navarre's first sport was gymnastics, which she credits with building up her muscles to play other sports. She played four sports in junior high but paired it down to basketball and track in high school. On the hardwood, she played forward and guard and helped lead the Tors to four consecutive playoff appearances.
"Sometimes the air conditioner in the gym wasn't working and in the summer it was hot," Navarre said. "Those were the toughest practices because you were running and you just want to stop. You get over it and it is all worth it."
On the track, Navarre placed second in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs and third in the 3,200 at the District 3-5A meet.