Central Florida Heat Supporting Lake Wales Community
by James Coulter
Shaneque Simmons has been playing softball since childhood. She won several championships during her career as a student-athlete. Now she wants the next generation of female athletes to bring the heat through the aid of her new organization.
Shaneque is one of the founding coaches of Central Florida Heat, a local non-profit organization heading up four softball teams in four divisions in Lake Wales. With this being their inaugural year, her expectations are nothing but sky-high.
“My ultimate goal is to develop the girls year-round and have them sign up for little league,” she said. “And I want to try to go back to the world championship.”
Born and raised in Lake Wales, Shanique started playing softball at age nine. She won two championships during her time at Lake Wales High School. After graduating, she attended and graduated from South Florida in Avon Park.
She and another coach, Brittnay Thomas, played on the same team that reached the 2005 World Series Team, and they became the second team in Florida to ever win. They later reached the state championship in 2007 for Lake Wales High School.
She began coaching Lake Wales Little League this year. Through her involvement, she considered creating a new organization to support the city’s Little League team and bring it to the next level.
“We are looking forward to developing the girls, getting where they want to be, preparing for high school and the collegiate level, and we want to get back into the community,” she explained.
Though the road has had many bumps, their journey remains smooth and their expectations for the destination remain high. Shanique has high hopes that she and her softball players will reach the big games and come home winners.
“We have had a few bumps in the road,” she said. “But for the most part, I am very happy with the outcome. I am happy where we stand at the moment.”
Central Florida Heat is currently seeking chair members and coaches. Potential applicants can apply at CentralFloridaHeat.com