Lady Cat to Lady Reddie: Conway’s Hailey Estes moves to college level

Story and photos
by Sonja J. Keith

Hailey Estes, a standout for the Conway High School Lady Cats, will be playing college basketball for Henderson State University.

Estes has been on the Lady Cat basketball team and soccer team for three years. She is a three-year letterman for both teams, with two-year all state and all conference selections.

Last spring, surrounded by family, friends, teammates and classmates, Estes signed a letter of intent to play for HSU during a ceremony at Buzz Bolding Arena. She said the signing represented the culmination of a lot of time and hard work.

“The people who are here mean a lot to me because without them, none of this would be possible,” she said at the ceremony. “To share this with them is a huge deal to me.”

The signing followed an undefeated regular season and a runner-up finish at the state basketball tournament.

Following basketball, Estes played goalie for the CHS Lady Cats Soccer Team and was selected to play during the All Star game in Conway.
Estes said she loves both sports and it was difficult to decide which one to pursue beyond high school. “Soccer is a passion but I don’t love it,” she said. “Basketball is just something I live for. I can’t live without it.”

During the annual Conway High School All-Sports Recognition Program last spring, Estes won two awards: the Dandra Thomas Award presented by CHS Lady Cat Basketball Coach Ashley Nance, and the Ruth Doyle Award For Outstanding Female Athlete, voted on by the coaches. Austin Norris was the outstanding male athlete.

Estes said she fell in love with the Henderson campus and atmosphere after a visit to the Arkadelphia school. She plans to study biology and would like to pursue a career in the medical field. “I actually hung out with some of the teammates on spring break. It already feels like home and feels like I’m fitting in,” she said at the signing. “Today is a big day. It is a true testament that hard work really does pay off.”

A daughter of Mark and Kathy Estes, Hailey said she has been inspired by her mother, who played basketball growing up but now has difficulty walking because of muscular dystrophy. “She’s always been someone I’ve looked up to and I want to be like when I grow up.”