Macy Merchant has her priorities straight.

To say that Wayland senior Macy Merchant is a superstar on the softball field is not an exaggeration. Anyone with rudimentary knowledge of the softball program at Wayland knows of the Merchant family. Macy is the last of four daughters of Bill and Deb Merchant who have done amazing things for coach Cheri Ritz (who happens to be their aunt). We got a kick out of the understated terms coach Ritz used when describing her niece.
“She is doing quite well. Macy is a tough out,” Ritz commented. “She is a pretty important part of our team.”
At this point in the conversation we had to laugh. Calling Macy a “tough out” who is “pretty important” is like saying it has been a little damp around here lately. When we spoke with Macy she had just come off the field from a double header against conference rival Caledonia. (The Wildcats won 6-1, 10-0.) She was 8 for 8 getting on base in those games. Her batting average was .619 before that double header. She is hitting .750 with runners in scoring position. She leads the Wildcats in hits, runs scored, stolen bases, in doubles, and in triples. Yup, you could call her “a tough out”. No wonder she is the leadoff batter for Wayland.
Macy, a shortstop, is equally impressive on defense. She has only committed one error in 15 games, has seven put outs and 11 assists. Her fielding percentage is .947. During her 2007 season Macy captured several school records including: games played (45), times at bat (156), hits (64), and singles (57). Her softball skills have earned a full ride scholarship to CMU. She will be playing centerfield there because her sister Brittini plays short. The two played similar positions when Wayland captured the state title in 2006.
It should probably be mentioned that Macy also plays basketball and volleyball. In fact, she plays them well enough that she earned All Conference honors and had colleges and universities recruiting her in all three sports. In a time when many schools force student athletes to specialize, we think it is commendable for the coaches at Wayland to encourage kids to play all of the different sports they can fit into their schedule.
Now that we have established Macy’s athletic abilities beyond a shadow of a doubt, let’s discuss some other aspects of her personality that make her an outstanding young lady on and off the field. Finding time for her schoolwork is not a problem for Merchant – she has a 3.7 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society, and was recently one of 32 kids in the entire state to be recognized with a MHSAA scholar athlete award. She has acted as the Sports Editor for the school paper and yearbook for the last two years.
You might expect Macy to prioritize sports beyond anything else in her life, but nothing could be further from the truth. Macy made sure we understood the primary importance of her Christian faith. She is a long time member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“God blessed me with my talents,” Macy said. “So I play every game for Him to the best of my ability.”
Along with her faith, Macy puts family and friendship at the top of her list. One of the things she enjoys most about softball is working together with her teammates and friends. One of the most important aspects of sports for her are the life lessons she can learn while participating in them. Macy related that an injury to her ACL halfway through volleyball season in her junior year helped her to realize that her ability to play sports “can disappear instantly”. She missed the second half of volleyball, all of basketball and some of softball that year.
Did she mope and pout while she was benched? Not a chance – she was there rooting for her teammates the whole time. Coach Ritz cited her for a great sense of humor and concluded by saying, “Her teammates all love her and look up to her.”
Macy knows exactly what she wants to accomplish in college. She wants to become a Special Education teacher. She was leaning in that direction and some experience gained during her second trimester this year sealed the deal when Macy spent time as a teaching assistant. She taught a gym class to special needs kids and thoroughly enjoyed it. You could hear the excitement in her voice as she described teaching a new sport every two weeks or so to the kids in her class.
Macy Merchant is not going to be one of those people who will look back at her high school sports career as the high point in her life. It will certainly be memorable, but not the zenith of her life. One reason we say this is because of her humble, unassuming nature. Coach Ritz told us that Macy really doesn’t understand what a fantastic softball player she is.
Another reason we believe this is because of something Macy said as we finished talking with her, “Sports prepare you for life after high school and college.”
Well said Miss Merchant. Best of luck to you.
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