By Clay Whittington
Belton Journal

For years, she waited to receive the honor. Now, she waits to show it off.

From the first day Paige Nunes joined the Lady Tigers’ softball team, it was apparent she was destined for greatness, and she was.

Nunes was part of the varsity roster all four years of her career, helping the team advance to the playoffs each season while collecting multiple accolades, including all-district superlatives and all-state selections.

One achievement, however, eluded her despite being already in her grasp for years.

To earn a spot on Belton’s prestigious Athletic Wall of Honor, nominees can qualify by meeting a variety of criteria, and Nunes exceeded the requirements early in her high school career, allowing her to know a spot was secured.

Recently, it became official as Nunes was inducted during a ceremony, and now, she is anxious to share it.

“I am honestly so proud of this honor,” Nunes said. “My parents are so proud of it, and I can’t wait until one day, when I’ve grown older and have children and a family, to be able to show them. It will be such an honor to show them what I used to do.

“I’m just so proud of the impact I made here.”

Nunes was an all-district first team member as a freshman and within a year, she elevated her status to the highest possible, being named all-district most valuable player and receiving a pair of all-state nominations. Then in 2020, when the season was canceled four games into the district schedule due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, she was an all-district first-team selection.

Once play resumed during Nunes’ senior season, she again compiled all-district and all-state recognition.

Along with her numerous awards, Nunes started 124 out of 129 games in her career with the Lady Tigers, producing a .439 batting average to go with 26 home runs and 128 RBIs.

But Nunes, who now plays for Tarleton State, does not concern herself with the statistics generated.

“When I think about my time at Belton,” she said, “I just remember how we were such a great and competitive school. It was just a given that Belton softball was going to playoffs every year no matter what, and sure enough, we achieved it every year.

“And I made some of the best friends and relationships of my entire life there. … I am forever grateful for the atmosphere we had within the Belton softball program.”

Now, upon receiving Belton’s highest honor, Nunes’ career with the Lady Tigers is complete and her spot among the school’s greatest athletes is cemented, and she looks forward to welcoming future generations of inductees.

“I would love to go to the ceremonies in the future and tell the kids who made it that they don’t even realize how much of an honor it is to be on this wall,” Nunes said. “I want to tell them that I wish them nothing but the best, because they are the best from Belton.

“It is going to be a really good day when I get to go back and be a part of that.”