Caledonia High School senior AC Parish poses for pictures Thursday during a signing ceremony to celebrate her decision to play soccer at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus. Standing, from left: Caledonia High girls soccer coach Louis Alexander; AC’s grandfather, Kenneth Burns; her grandmother, Ann Burns; her niece, Milo Parish; her brother, Nic Parish; Nic’s wife, Sara Parish; and AC’s old soccer coach, Morri Mims. Seated with AC: her mother, Laura Parish; and her brother, Garrett Parish. Photo by: Adam Minichino/Dispatch Staff
March 1, 2018 10:52:50 PM
CALEDONIA -- Don't be afraid to throw a lot at AC Parish.
Between schoolwork and extra-curricular activities, Parish has a to-do list that would make just about anybody tired.
But that isn't enough.
Parish's work as senior class president and her roles in numerous clubs served her well as a captain this past season on the Caledonia High School girls soccer team.
"I pushed her extremely hard this year, and I asked of her things that probably have never been asked of her before," Caledonia coach Louis Alexander said. "Whether she thought she could do them or not, she kind of bit down and gave it her all and let the chips fall where they may. Luckily for us and for her they fell pretty well this year."
Parish played a key role as an attacking midfielder for Caledonia, which won Class 4A, Region 3 and beat Senatobia in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A tournament.
Parish reaped the benefits of that hard work Thursday morning when she signed a letter of intent to play soccer at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus.
Parish said she wanted to go to The W to study nursing in part because it is close to home. Since The W announced the return of intercollegiate athletics, Parish hoped women's soccer would be one of the school's new sports. Later this year, The W will welcome women's soccer back to campus. This school year, men's soccer, volleyball, women's cross country, baseball and softball were introduced.
Parish said everything worked out and the timing proved to be just right for her freshman year in college.
Parish is a member of the Anchor Club, Beta Club, National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FCCLA, Art Club, and Foreign Language Club. She also is vice president of the Spanish Honor Society.
"It takes a lot of patience," Parish said. "Sometimes it is me being stressed out all of the time and taking things in little jobs and putting them together eventually."
In addition to all of the extra-curricular work, Parish said she took an online class at The W and another one at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba.
Alexander said he knew Parish had a lot of responsibilities, but he felt confidence Parish would be able to handle the load because she manages her time.
"She is a busy girl. She has a lot going on," Alexander said. "That being said, she's never really spread too thin. ... Somehow she has the recipe right. She can handle it all.
"For a girl her age, she is mature beyond her years."
Alexander said Parish's maturation as a soccer player was a key in her realizing an opportunity to play at the next level. He said her development from the beginning of the season to the last game -- a loss o Northeast Jones in the second round of the playoffs -- was "night and day." Alexander feels Parish now is at "another level" because she sees the field better and is a better communicator on the field.
"She has come so far," Alexander said. "Honestly, I don't think she has peaked here. I am excited to see what the next four years hold for her as a student athlete and as a soccer player."
Parish admitted it was "shocking" to know she will get a chance to play soccer in college after putting in so much time and spending so many years with the sport. She said there were times after hard practices when she wondered if she was going to get better, but she opted to stick with it.
"I didn't think I could let myself give up," Parish said. "I needed to keep working. All my playing has changed."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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