It is never easy making history at a high school filled with history, especially if a student-athlete is still in middle school.
However, that did not stop Hannah Best and Gracyn Perry from making history at Wayne Country Day.
The duo are the first middle-schoolers in Wayne Country Day history to play on two varsity teams simultaneously. Best and Perry were on the girls’ tennis team and the cross-country team this season.
“I was only planning on doing tennis, but coach Glass (Wayne Country Day cross country coach Robert Glass) said I should do cross country,” Best said
“My mom made me join both teams,” Perry added.
Best may be an eighth-grader, but she does not play like one. Just ask any of her coaches on tennis and cross-country teams at Wayne Country Day.
Along with Best, Perry also made a big splash at Wayne Country Day this year. Perry played a vital role in the Chargers’ success, even though she is in seventh grade.
At first, Best and Perry were a little intimidated playing with older student-athletes, but the high schoolers welcomed Best and Perry with open arms, and the team quickly bonded into a family. They also credit their coaches for helping them navigate high school athletics.
“I’ve always been mature for my age, so people are always surprised when I tell them I’m 12,” Perry said. “I always made it fun, and I told little jokes to lighten up the mood. So, it was intimidating at first, but then I told myself, ‘I’m playing with them, so I got this.’
“I know there’s an age gap, but it was really fun, and they treated us like everybody else on the team.”
Whether playing tennis or running, Best and Perry have a veteran demeanor about them that goes along with their talent, which enables them to be successful student-athletes.
Charging to the front of the pack, Best was named the Coastal Plains Conference runner of the year, while on the tennis court, she played in the No. 3 singles spot.
“There was a lot of pressure, and I was really nervous about it,” Best said about winning runner of the year.
Perry was the Chargers second-best runner this season, while on the tennis court, she played in the No. 4 singles spot.
Perry admitted it took her some time to like running cross country, but she learned the importance of running and how it helps her in other sports.
“Cross country is fun, but you’re running,” Perry said. “it’s just so mental. Sometimes, I’m just crying when I’m running, but I know I got this.”
Initially, Best and Perry found it difficult to juggle their schoolwork, social life, and athletics. Still, over the season, they developed a routine that will serve them well as they keep making history at Wayne Country Day.
They have thoroughly enjoyed their time playing high school athletics, and they cannot wait until next season.
“This season was so much fun. The teams really bonded together. A good way to make friends is to play different sports,” Best said.
“I just think of myself as Hannah 2.0. I’ll be here next year because she’s a year older than me. We’ll both be even better next year,” Perry added.