Admittedly, the pain took some time to subside.
Nearly two months after representing St. Amant in an athletic event for the final time, three-sport standout Kara Gremillion has slowly moved on to the next phase in her life — a career with the Louisiana-Lafayette softball program.
“At first, I was really sad because I liked high school and playing all the sports,” Gremillion said. “I’ve gotten over it, and I’m excited for this next chapter in my life. I’m ready to be on my own, focus on one sport which is my favorite. I’m going to love just playing softball all year-round.”
Gremillion brings an impressive résumé, having starred in volleyball, basketball and softball, earning district MVP honors in all three sports. She merited the rare distinction as a repeat winner of The Advocate’s Girls Athlete of the Year.
Moreover, her credentials got another significant boost earlier this month when Gremillion was named the Gatorade Louisiana Softball Player of the Year.
Additional components factored into the Gatorade Award are community service. Gremillion worked with Operation First Base, an inner city outreach program and coached youth softball. Academically she posted a 4.31 grade-point average, good enough for 23rd in her 419-member graduating class.
“It’s a really good feeling,” she said. “I was disappointed about not winning a state championship. If we couldn’t get recognized as a team for winning state, I guess it’s good to get recognized as a player, but I’d much rather be recognized with my team. To be recognized just for softball is a good thing.”
Gremillion, a shortstop, helped St. Amant to a 27-1 record and another appearance in the Class 5A state tournament, where the top-seeded Gators were derailed in the semifinals, 3-1, by eventual state champion Sam Houston.
She batted .584 with 12 doubles, six homers, 35 RBIs. She scored 53 runs and recorded a .941 slugging percentage and .645 on-base percentage.
Gremillion was a .528 career hitter with 78 extra-base hits, 17 homers, 193 runs scored, 119 RBIs, .614 on-base percentage and .870 slugging percentage.
“I made it to the state tournament every year and had a winning record every year,” Gremillion said. “I can’t be too upset because of how good of the teams I played on. I was definitely sad not to get a state championship because that’s the one thing I wanted in my whole life.”
Gremillion embraces the challenge that transitioning to college softball will demand.
UL-Lafayette annually features one of the nation’s top programs, and the Ragin’ Cajuns finished 42-12 after advancing to the NCAA super regionals against Auburn.
“This is going to be the hardest challenge of my life,” Gremillion said. “They’re such a good program. I basically have to change everything about the way I play to be able to play there. I know it’s going to be tough, but I’m ready to be challenged like that. I’ve never had to change anything or do anything different, but now I do. Everybody is on the same level. I’m excited for what’s to come.”
Adding intrigue to Gremillion’s journey is the path she’s followed to UL-Lafayette — one cleared by a couple of the program’s standard-bearers in the mid-1980s, who both had their jerseys retired by the end of their careers.
Those players — center fielder Stacie Gremillion and pitcher Sandy Percle — are Kara Gremillion’s aunts, which further enhances the awaiting challenge.
“I want to do as good as they did and hopefully better,” Kara Gremillion said. “I’m that competitive. I know they went there and did good. I feel like I have to as well.
“The bar is high,” Gremillion said. “Everybody’s gone to college and done really well, and they expect me to do well. I feel like there’s a little extra pressure because they feel I should do well. I’m ready for it.”