PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (WTOK) Some high school athletes never experience winning a state championship but for Philadelphia High School’s Ndrah Tanksley, that isn’t the case.
“My first season – eighth grade season – we won the 2015 slowpitch state championship title. That was the first one I won so I didn’t really know what was going on," Tanksley said. "I was kind of shocked when everybody ran out of the dugout. We had a double play at the end and everybody ran out of the dugout...I was just looking around and didn’t understand.”
Heading into her junior fastpitch softball season, Ndrah shared the team was confident they would end the year as state champions.
The Tornadoes opened up the season with a 22-4 win over Northeast Lauderdale and eventually found themselves qualifying for postseason play. After opening up the first round of the playoffs with a bye, they swept the competition on their way to competing against Enterprise for the MHSAA 2A State Championship.
“I remember we went into three games. We lost the first game but the second game, we beat them 10-0 then the third game we beat them 1-0 so we shut them down the last two games," Tanksley said. "My favorite memory would probably be the last play when we won. I remember it was a slapper and she hit the ball straight to Nia (Luckett) and I was right behind Nia in case it went over her head. I threw my facemask off, I threw my glove off...everybody jumped into a dogpile it was so fun.”
Ndrah was looking forward to another great season of fastpitch softball before the year was cut short by the coronavirus three games into the season.
“Our last game was at Magee and I did really well that game," Tanksley said. "I’m glad to say that my last high school softball game I did really well.”
As senior veteran on the team, she also helped out interim softball head coach Trent Hanna.
“You know, she was on last year’s state championship team so that helped out a lot and she really helped out the younger players that had never played," Coach Hanna said. "She knows what she wants and what she’s going to do in life and she’s got it planned out.”
Ndrah enlisted in the Army National Guard where she will train to become a Combat Medic Specialist. She leaves for basic training in Sep. where she will spent 10 weeks in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
"Recruiters came to our school and it just touched my heart. I knew that Jesus was leading me down the path to enlist in the National Guard," Tanksley shared. “I wanted to reach out to places all around the United States, be a veteran and serve my country."
Once she completes her basic training, she will continue her academic and athletic career at East Central Community College where she will suit up for the Lady Warriors softball team. She then plans to continue with her education at Ole Miss or Southern Miss.
Ndrah will be graduating from Philadelphia with an impressive 4.02 GPA. While she has already accomplished so much athletically and academically, those around her know her time as a Tornado was only the beginning.
“She’s got her ducks in a row and knows what she wants to do," Coach Hanna shared. "She’s really active in school and I think she’s got a bright future."