Three state volleyball championships, two state basketball tournament appearances, and a state qualifier in both cross country and track are just a few of the accomplishments Neches Lady Tiger Mallory Main leaves behind in her high school career.
To the incoming seniors who want to get to college so badly, stop and take a minute to appreciate how great high school really is. That is the sentiment shared by Main who has loved nothing more than experiencing the atmosphere that comes with high school sports.
“It’s sad because I played sports my whole life,” Main said. “It’s been a lot of tears. I’m in between it being sad and me being thankful I was gifted with the people and teams around me.”
It’s been an emotional end to a satisfying career for Main.
Main has been at the center of two different eras for the Lady Tigers. She was a part of a volleyball team that was overwhelmingly the most dominant unit during a run that saw them win three straight state titles.
She was also the starting point guard on Neches’ back-to-back state tournament teams. She’s participated at state meets in both cross country and most recently track and field as she was a member of their 4×400 relay team.
“I was trying not to cry,” Main said about how she felt after leaving the state track meet. “It was that realization that it’s over.”
From the time she was in middle school, Main has been a cog in Neches’ athletic program. She came into her high school career a grade behind Neches’ veteran group that included two-time state volleyball tournament MVP Kacie Kimbrough and 2020 state tournament MVP, Lexi Rogers.
“Being an underclassman was a little easier for me because the previous group took a lot of pressure off,” Main said. “Watching them leave was super sad because of how long we played together. They’re family.”
“Looking back on it it’s bittersweet. I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I should. Winning was an expectation and we were accustomed to it.
After three state volleyball titles, it was Main’s turn to be the veteran leader in the locker room. This past season she was the lone senior on a volleyball team that was mostly comprised of first-year varsity players.
“I loved embracing this year’s group,” Main said. “It was fun teaching them what it looks like to be a winner and what it means to work as a team. We grew tremendously. They were willing to learn and put in the work.”
In a year where many were unsure what to expect from a Neches team losing six seniors, Main helped guide them to a regional semifinals appearance where they went five sets against a Sulphur Bluff team who were State semifinalists.
“I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to coach Mallory,” head coach Jenna Jenkins said. “I can’t tell you how many coaches I had approached me after games this season to let me know how impressed they were with her effort and abilities.”
“She’s a competitor that plays her heart out every single game. WE are going to miss her so much next year.”
Main’s leadership continued to flourish during their basketball season where head coach Andy Snider said she and Abigail Spaith – their second senior – took a “motherly role” over the team.
The team began the regular season 12-0. They continued that momentum towards a district championship, a regional championship and their second consecutive state tournament appearance.
It was her final time as a player sharing the court with Coach Snider who had coached her since junior high.
“I love Coach Snider,” Main said joyfully. “He gets upset but I call him my dad. He’s taught me so much and I really do consider him to be like my dad. He’s pushed me. He wouldn’t ever let me quit on myself. I’m thankful for him.”
Main’s final bow as a Lady Tiger came on the state stage in Austin where they placed seventh in the 4×400.
Main will attend the University of Texas in Tyler where she plans on pursuing her nursing degree and ultimately a career as an anesthesiologist.
“I want to thank all my coaches for being supportive,” Main said. “They didn’t let us quit no matter how hard it got. They were always there. For the athletes, enjoy every single moment that you have. Don’t take any of it for granted. Be super grateful for the team that you have. Most people don’t get to experience what we had this year. Just keep working. I want to watch them play at state. Don’t quit.”