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White balances time between four sports, academic excellence

NATCHEZ — Cathedral senior Semmes White may be a four-sport star, but he doesn’t play multiple sports simply because his school needs to fill each team.

And the workload hasn’t affected his grades, as White boasts a 4.16 GPA and recently scored a 28 on the ACT.

Last fall, White played football for the Green Wave, then moved on to soccer during the winter. This spring, White is playing baseball like usual, but also picked up golf for the first time.

“I figure I’d need to learn to play for later in life, maybe for business purposes or something like that,” White said.

Despite being a rookie, White is in the top five in Cathedral’s rotation, and recently shot a 46 in a nine-hole tournament.

“I’ve been to the driving range with my dad before, but I’ve never played any holes,” White said. “I feel like I can drive it pretty well, but putting is the hardest thing for me. If I could putt it well, I’d definitely be a lot better.”

White said his first love is definitely football, and he’s switched between playing cornerback, safety, linebacker and wide receiver during his Green Wave career.

“Playing cornerback is my favorite,” White said. “I like defense the best, and I like to make contact.”

White also said he thinks players have to be more skilled while playing defense.

“You’re at a disadvantage, because you don’t know what the offensive player is going to do,” White said. “We have to read and react, which is what I’m good at.”

Playing soccer was a decision White was sort of a tradeoff for White, but White said he enjoyed the experience.

“I told our kicker Brent Gaudé that if I played soccer, he’d have to play football and kick for us,” White said. “We didn’t have a kicker, and we had talked about doing it, I just needed to convince him.

“It worked out well for us, because Brent was our leading scorer. I liked playing soccer too, it was just cold.”

White is a second baseman for the Green Wave baseball team, but he said baseball is his least favorite sport.

“It’s more about being with friends,” White said. “I like being on a team, and that’s especially true in football.”

That’s because team chemistry is a very big deal in football, White said.

“You’re basically a family,” he said. “If one person misses an assignment, the entire play is busted, then the other team scores or you lose yardage.

“You have to have good chemistry and trust that they’ll do their job and you’ll do yours.”

White was able to get his GPA to be more than a 4.0 thanks to taking AP calculus, honors physics and honors English, he said.

“The honors classes are worth a 4.5 if you get an A, and the AP class is worth a 5,” he said. “I don’t really know why I took the honors classes, I just did.”

But White said he took calculus to have college credit. Even though White said he might want to own a business one day, civil engineering is his preferred major in college.

“I’ve always liked to build,” White said. “Last summer, I worked for a carpenter building houses and stuff, and I enjoyed it. With civil engineering, I could design really big buildings.”

White said he’s not sure how he’s able to maintain his grades while playing four sports, other than dedicating his after-school time to homework.

“Usually on my busy days I’ll get home from practice and just study until it’s time to go to bed,” he said.

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