By: Adrienne Wallace | Email: Click Here
Posted: March 2, 2020 | 1:30 p.m.
Cheyenne Wray proves herself on field and off
A Dinwiddie football player signed with River City Sting after they approached the long-snapper for one of the best teams in the region. Cheyenne Wray is not your ordinary football player. The high school senior began her career five years ago serving as the first female football player for the Generals. Now she will continue that career at the semi-pro level on the River City Sting of the United States Women’s Football League.
She was contacted by the team due to her success as a long snapper under the leadership of Coach Billy Mills. She started as a lineman for the home team, and then when Cody Mills was about to graduate, Coach Mills’ had his son train Wray for that post.
“I loved being a lineman, but Coach Mills knew we were going to need a long snapper when Cody graduated,” she recalled about how she got the position. “Cody trained me, and it was a good fit.”
She is passionate about football and every position she is tasked to perform.
“Everyone wants to move on to the next level when they play high school sports,” she said whether it’s college or going pro.
She’s proving that commitment and drive can lead to bigger and better things even for the dark horses in the race.
The semi-pro team recruiters got in touch with Wray at the end of the season last year.
“The program was similar to Coach Mills, and was really together a big family,” Wray said. “That’s something Coach Mills takes pride in, so I take pride in it.”
Sting representatives were excited about Wray’s performance inviting her to practice with the team. It was not even an official try out but more of a chance to see the chemistry between the players and her.
“They’re a new team, so this is a building year for the team and us,” she commented.
Their season runs from March to June, and Wray started practicing fully in January, first once a week and now two to three times a week.
The games will take place on Saturdays with a plan to secure a field somewhere in the area either Henrico or Varina. They will compete against the other teams in the league in Virginia.
While Wray began her football career in middle school first working out with the team, she’s had other sporting experiences with everything from track including the shot put and discus, power lifting and even karate when she was younger.
But her athletic side hasn’t kept her from being a young lady with a glamorous touch when dressing up to go out to dinner or other events.
“I wear sweats and tank tops a lot, but I haven’t lost that felinity when it’s time putting on the make up getting dressed up,” she said. “I think you can be both.”
She compared it to those in the workforce who are more professional in that environment and a little different around their friends in a casual atmosphere.
She’s no stranger to change and wearing several hats. The high school senior is successful in her school work taking both dual enrollment and AP classes. In fact, she’ll graduate with 24 college credits studying challenging courses like Spanish 4, and DE Biology to name a couple.
“I keep a pretty busy schedule in school,” she said with a laugh.
But that’s not all. The Generals team captain also volunteers with the Ford Volunteer Fire Department.
She believes in giving back to the community and appreciates Coach Mills for allowing her to complete her requirements with the fire department including training, classes and other duties. She’ll continue to use those skills learned as she plans to attend Southside Virginia to become a paramedic and then continue her education at Virginia Commonwealth University to earn her business degree.
She has experience in both not just by serving as a volunteer firefighter, but learning from her dad Scott Wray who owns and operates Elite Contracting.
“He has a great story coming from nothing to beginning his business,” Wray says proudly. “My dad always wants to help people and I do too.”
After high school graduation she plans to work for her dad’s company in finance.
How does she manage to do it all?
“You have to be really good at time management,” the daughter of Scott and Mary Wray said.
She also learned a lot from her mom who worked in radiology before she began to handle finance and operation duties of Elite Contracting that has grown for a few people working out of the Wray’s backyard to several locations across the state.
Her parents always supported her goals and playing football though her mom was concerned initially about possible injuries. “Their attitude was if you’re going to do it then you’re going to do it and not give up,” Wray said of her parents.
And that was the attitude she went into when first trying out for the team. The most challenging aspect was those who didn’t know if she was serious.
‘There were girls who had come out before and didn’t continue, so I had to prove I was here to work and pull my weight and here to stay,” she said. And she did just that.
Starting on JV her freshman year she began varsity and served as lieutenant for two to three years and then captain.
She said she has never been treated more aggressively or less aggressively because of her gender and has had to take some hits that any other player has had to endure. Wray just gets back up and each time she knows that’s the sport for her.
There are other aspects of being a female on the team that can cause a divide because she can’t form the bond with other teammates before or after the game in the locker room, but Wray says her fellow players have always included her and together they shared an agreement “that if I will try harder and they will try harder and do the best we can, and I’m not treated differently – we’re a team and that’s how I see them and that’s how they see me.”
Her recent signing with the Sting is just one step into what she feels will be a bright future with a hard and learned work ethic and extended family support.
“I don’t think there is a challenge I can’t meet,” she said. “I hope I can prove that female football players can have the same passion and prove women are as capable as anyone.”
Copyright 2020 by Womack Publishing
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