There are a lot of great athletes in the Ark-La-Tex. Huntington senior wide receiver Shontraveen Ashley is one of those that will be playing on the next level next season. When he was younger, though, he says he never thought that was possible.
It's hard to just look at Shontraveen and tell what's he's feeling.
The Huntington senior stars as the Raiders’ wide receiver, as well as, on the basketball court.
Raiders head basketball coach, Mack Jones, said, "Tray is one of those kids, he's a quiet kid but he's a tough kid." but his toughness may have come more out of necessity than anything else.
Shontraveen said, "Life was hard. When I was 7 I remember my mother coming in the house and telling me that I lost my Dad and I've honestly been speechless ever since. I guess that's why I'm so quiet. It feels like a dream I never woke up from."
LaShanda Ashley, Shontraveen’s mother, said, "It was hard. It was had breaking him, he was younger. Watching him ask questions about his Dad and why he's no longer around and having to explain to him. God makes no mistakes."
"Seeing people with their family and me wishing, you know, I had a father figure in my life or had a male in my life, it feels like a dream I never woke up from."
Sports has helped Tray channel that energy elsewhere. He's been the cornerstone of the Huntington football team for the past 4 years. The void left by his father, though, has been filled by his coaches, teammates and a mother who has held on to hope for her son.
LaShanda said, "I love when he says momma I don't hang with those types of people because I'm always drilling him. Even about girls, stay away from them, stay away from them. I'm always drilling him."
The constant drilling has worked. Tray has a 3.1 GPA and the colleges are calling. He says seeing his mother smile is worth it all.
"I hear her on the phone bragging he got a letter from here or he got a letter from there or just bragging about me grades from this year."
"What's can't express how I feel right now," said his mother.
"It's not hard raising a man being a woman so just her stepping up, being aggressive with me, playing a father and a mother part, that stuff. Just hats off to her for that,” Tray added. I just want to graduate college, that's one of my goals and just and you know bless my family and put me my mom in a big house and have my little sister now want for anything."
Mom said, "When he graduates from high school I'll be so happy. If he doesn't do anything else I want him to graduate."
As he collected his Landers Athlete of the Week trophy, he said, "Thank you. First of all I want to thank God, my mom, my family you know my football teammates, my basketball teammates and the whole school for supporting us and standing behind us and I want to thank KSLA for giving me this award."
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