Pleasant Valley High School graduate Selina Carpenter, Class of 1987, doesn’t visit Calhoun County as often as she did before her father moved away in 2012. For the past 17 years she’s been the physician’s assistant for an orthopaedic surgeon in suburban Chicago. She’ll be back Saturday evening, sitting on the stage at the Oxford Civic Center as one of six members of the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame’s fifteenth annual induction class.
“It’s a team effort in the operating room as it is in the clinic with my co-workers,” Carpenter said of her work as a PA. “I can’t say enough how I think sports helped form what I do career-wise.”
In high school, Carpenter was a five-year starter at setter in volleyball for Sandy Hunter, a five-year starter for Tommy Miller in basketball as a wing and a five-year starter in center field for Hunter in softball. Hunter, who nominated her for induction into the Sports Hall of Fame, called Carpenter “one of the best, if not the best, setters that Pleasant Valley ever had.”
“I just think she exemplifies what the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame is all about,” Hunter noted. “She was a great athlete, a great person, a great leader, a hard and diligent worker and she’s done so much with her life since then.”
In volleyball, Carpenter was all-county as a junior and again as a senior. She helped the Raiders to a state championship in 1984 and a second-place finish at the state tournament in 1985. Pleasant Valley won the Calhoun County tournament championship in 1986, her senior season, after finishing as county tournament runner-up in her sophomore and junior seasons.
In basketball, Carpenter was a deadly long-range shooter before the 3-point shot reached high school. She led Pleasant Valley in points, rebounds, assists and free throw percentage as a senior as the Raiders reached the Class 3A semifinals and finished 19-6. She was a member of the Calhoun County tournament’s all-tournament team in each her last four basketball seasons.
“What I remember about her the most was how she was very, very unselfish and team oriented,” Miller said.
Carpenter played center field on one state championship team and three Calhoun County tournament winners in softball. In 1986, her junior season, Pleasant Valley won the Class 1A-2A-3A championship at the inaugural AHSAA state tournament. As a senior, Carpenter batted .489 as the Raiders went 30-3 and won the county tournament for the third time in four years.
She received a volleyball scholarship from Jacksonville State and was a four-year starter for coach Janice Slay as the Gamecocks’ setter. Carpenter was all-conference three times and team captain for two seasons. Her 4,216 career assists were a school record that lasted into the 2006 season.
“Unstoppable,” was Slay’s one-word description of Carpenter.
“Selina was the type of kid that never saw an obstacle she couldn’t overcome. She was tireless in her work ethic. She just went after it with everything she had all the time. … She was always wanting to get just a little bit better. It wasn’t for her. It was all about, ‘I want to do this for the team,’” Slay said.
Carpenter has stayed active with triathlons, iron man competitions, marathons, swimming, biking and hiking.
“I’m always just looking for the next best challenge is the way I describe it because I get bored with something after a while and go find something else that challenges me,” she said.