“How come tennis has to be so quiet?”
The question coming from the mouth of Eau Gallie High athlete Sammie Streeter as she waited for her No. 5 singles match to begin Thursday was similar to one that could have been asked of her three years ago. That was before a transformation brought her to the forefront of campus life.
The Sammie Streeter who enrolled in the ninth grade at Eau Gallie would not recognize the one who is now weeks from finishing her senior year, has been homecoming queen and played six sports.
Sports has been an avenue of growth for Streeter, who, in addition to her time in class and playing sports, has an internship with Brevard Schools that has her traveling around the county talking to younger students on many days. And she has joined an AAU basketball team separate from her varsity activities.
“I’ve had a lot of success at my sports, and that’s definitely made me more confident,” Streeter said.
The list of high school girls who have run cross country and competed in the shot put and hurdles in the same academic year is not a long one. Tennis, the only sport she plays away from sister Ally, is something she added this year. She also played volleyball throughout her days with the Commodores, and she tried softball during ninth and 10th grade.
Basketball, her first love, was arguably Streeter’s most successful sport. She averaged 18.5 points, eight rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Her high scoring game was 40 points against Jensen Beach in November.
Her shot put of 33 feet, 4 inches is fourth best in Brevard County as of this week. Streeter also competes in the 300-meter hurdles and runs on the 4×800 and 4×400 relays.
Thursday, she won her singles match and was part of a winning doubles team for Eau Gallie girls tennis. She has a 5-4 singles record, playing mostly at No. 5 but moving up to No. 4 when needed.
In the fall, she had a hitting percentage of .263 for the volleyball team and served 52 aces.
Streeter has had many school days this year exceeding 12 hours.
“I think it’s just a passion for sports. I try to do as much as I can,” she said. “I don’t like to lose, so I just keep working at it until I’m good at it.”
Barbara Berry, Streeter’s volleyball coach, has been helping her student search for a college and thinks she could play that sport at the next level, but basketball is where her heart lies.
A move a year ago from power forward to shooting guard mirrored a physical transformation that played a role in her social growth.
“I was really heavy-set. I came into volleyball conditioning and I was really to myself. I usually just walked around with my brother everywhere,” but the activity of sports caused her to shed pounds. “I just kept losing weight. I lost about 65 pounds over the course of four years.”
She “started getting really socially comfortable” as a junior after having started school with “no confidence” as a ninth-grader.
The next challenge for Streeter, who will be 18 on Friday, will be to expand her horizon beyond her home, school and neighborhood.
“She has evolved into a little bit of everything,” Berry said. “Eau Gallie has become her safe place, and now it’s time for her to start all over again and go out into the world.”
Streeter has visited Florida Southern and is also investigating schools around the state. Wherever she goes, she will start the next phase of her life as a different person.
Eau Gallie girls tennis coach Ed Lietz, who didn’t really get to know her until this year, offers an opinion of Streeter untainted by her past. It began with “leader” but didn’t stop there.
“There’s an edge about her, a tenacity to win that’s amazing,” he said. “She just has it, that will to win, and she does it humbly.”
Contact McCallum at 321-242-3698 or email@example.com. Follow facebook.com/FLtoday.brianmccallum and @Brian_McCallum on Twitter.