By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Throw in classwork, extra-curricular activities and homework, the average teenager could easily become overwhelmed. Tipton County standout athlete Ali Gover knows the task from playing on the varsity levels of volleyball, basketball and softball.
But all her time, dedication and hard work devoted to being a student/athlete paid off on National Signing Day 2018. In the Covington High School Library in front of friends, family, coaches and teammates, Gover inked her national letter of intent to play softball at Delta State.
“I’ve really worked hard for this my whole life to play softball in college,” Gover said. “And now it’s finally here.
“Playing three sports, it’s tough,” she acknowledged. “You’re always busy. You’ve always go to work on something involving that sport. This one is just special. I just wanted to work especially hard at that one. It was softball the whole time.”
Her love for softball started when her parents Angie and Ed signed her up at the age of 4. Then when middle school came around, Ali asked to participate in basketball and volleyball.
Angie, who starred in varsity volleyball, basketball and track, warned her daughter of the challenges she would be taking on in high school.
“We are so proud for her as a student/athlete,” Angie said. “One, Ali has maintain an almost 4.0 GPA throughout all four years of high school while playing three sports and playing travel softball. It’s unbelievable to me. We played and were multi-sports athletes. And we didn’t maintain a 4.0 GPA.”
Ed was a two-sport standout reaching the University of Tennessee at Martin playing football and baseball. Knowing the dedication it takes to reach the college level while playing multiple sports, Ed was nearby guiding his oldest child along the way.
“She absolutely loves (softball),” he said. “As far as putting work in, that’s her. She’s doing homework until late hours. Then she is still getting in work whether it’s shooting on a basketball goal or hitting in the cage. She does it.”
Ali’s hard work is now a part of Covington athletics. Her final prep sports year will be with Lady Charger Volleyball, Basketball and Softball.
Gover is off to a successful start helping the volleyball team reach Sub-State this past season. Back as a sophomore at Munford High School, Gover was vital to the Lady Cougar Basketball team reaching Sub-State.
She has one more try to reach Sectionals in softball trying to help Covington Head Coach Justus Cousar reach that goal.
“It’s always nice to be able to get a transfer who is high quality like Ali is,” Cousar said. “She’s outstanding defensively whether she’s plays in the outfield or at first base. Where she’s going to make a huge difference is with her bat. She’s just a really strong hitter that’s going to add to our lineup.”
Cousar is familiar with Gover’s skill set playing against her several times over the past three years. Now Gover has assimilate with her Lady Charger teammates smoothly.
“It will be just adding a piece that we did not have as far as adding a bat in the middle of the lineup,” Cousar added. “She’s going to have a lot of extra base hits and drive in a lot of runs. I’m just looking forward to it. They knew each other already and getting to know each other better.”
The Lady Chargers describe Gover as unselfish. Her younger siblings Anna and Braden second that description.
“I learn a lot from her just fundamentals and all things like that,” Braden said.
“I learned to push myself and do my very best at whatever I do from her,” Anna said. “ She showed me that it is possible to go to the next level if you work hard. She taught me to always do the right thing and work hard even without being told to.”
Ed has witnessed Ali making that sacrifice at home as well.
“She makes time for her little brother and little sister,” he said. “She’s helping them with ball no matter what.”
Angie, who has coached her daughter at Munford in softball and volleyball, has finally seen her daughter blossom social.
“In the beginning, the social aspect of it as far as hanging out with friends, she didn’t do a lot of it because a lot her time was involved into her athletics,” she said. “When she was at home she was working on homework or whatever sport it may be. I’ve always wanted that for her, the social aspect to just be a kid. Part of the high school experience, lucky this year she has that at Covington High School. That excites me.”
By the time Ali hits the Delta State campus in Cleveland, Miss., she will only have to focus on one sport. She will be a part of Head Coach Casey Bourgoyne-Charles’ Lady Statesmen team playing in the Gulf South Conference in NCAA Division II.
For now, Gover is focusing on wrapping up her senior year at Covington and reaching at least Sub-State in her final high school sport.
“I hope my legacy is I went out with a great year in softball, basketball and volleyball,” Gover concluded. “That I played every thing great. And she was just a great person, not just in sports but in general.”