A sporty Southern belle is kicking off her senior year of high school a bang.
Mary Kate Smith, 17, was recently voted homecoming queen at South Jones High School in Ellisville, Miss.
A week later, she made her school’s varsity football team.
Smith, who was already a girls’ soccer star, is now the team’s starting kicker. That means, at the game at the end of the month, she will have to change out of her white gown after she is crowned homecoming queen and into her football pads.
The team was in need of a kicker, so head coach Corey Reynolds put one of the other coaches, who also works with the soccer team, in charge of filling that position.
“He told me, ‘We’ve got a pretty good kicker,’ and when I found it was a girl, no big deal,” Reynolds told The Clarion-Ledger.
Even though the Braves are 0-4 this season, Smith has made all but one of her extra-point and field goal attempts.
“When she’s out there, she’s been like one of the guys,” Reynolds told TODAY.com. “It’s not like, ‘Ooh, we have a girl.’”
Smith may be a seasoned soccer player, but she told TODAY.com that, in football, “the pressure is 10 times worse, with big guys, running at you, who outweigh you by 200 pounds.”
She also said her teammates have been supportive from the beginning.
“I have a new respect for football players and what they go through. Not just working out, but mentally,” she told The Clarion-Ledger. “It’s crazy how you can be a better team but you can lose the game if you’re not mentally prepared.”
Smith will hang up her helmet at the end of the season, as she has committed to play soccer at the University of Southern Mississippi.
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