When Caroline Gentry woke up on Monday, December 5, she knew something had happened.
“By the time I checked my phone before school that morning, I saw that I had a text and a missed call from [Coach Dinkenor], telling me to go to his room with my parents. I didn’t know what was going on at first, so I assumed it was the worst.”
Gentry never could have anticipated what her coach told her minutes later; she had been named to the All-America girl’s soccer team by the National Soccer Coaches of America. All she could muster were tears.
“I was so overwhelmed that I just started crying,” said Gentry. “It was definitely a great moment.”
With that recognition, Caroline Gentry, senior, became the first female and second ever Leesville athlete to be named to an All-America team. The only other was Anthony Richardson, a basketball star who played collegiality for Florida State.
Gentry may be the individual recognized as an All-American, but she was quick to share the glory with her teammates. “It’s an honor for me, but for the team as well; I couldn’t have accomplished all this without them. They put in so much hard work and are so dedicated. I’m lucky to be able to play with them,” said Gentry.
Courtney Johnson, senior and Gentry’s teammate, expected as much of her peer. “Caroline had a great season,” said Johnson. When learning that Gentry had attributed her success to the team, Johnson laughed.
“It’s just like her to give everyone credit,” said Johnson. “Of course soccer is a team sport, and everyone plays their part, but [Gentry] consistently gives an incredible individual effort.”
Coach Dinkenor echoed Johnson’s feelings: Said Dinkenor, “[Gentry] will be the first to say that she owes the award to her teammates. Soccer players at LRHS are team oriented, but some of the goals Caroline has scored over the last three years have been sublime.”
Gentry knows that now, going forward, she will have to work even harder to improve. “I have to have a different mindset now; I have to be more dedicated and determined if I want to keep stepping it up,” said Gentry.
While Caroline may already be looking ahead and focusing on the next step, Coach Dinkenor realizes the significance of this award and what it took to become an All-American; he knows that Gentry earned it.
“She deserved it,” said Dinkenor.