Williamstown’s Bethany Arnold inspired by her late grandpa

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Williamstown senior Bethany Arnold is a standout on the Yellowjackets’ volleyball, basketball and track teams.

Bethany Arnold

Nicknames: Beth, BA

Williamstown

Year: senior

Age: 18 (as of Nov. 4)

GPA: 3.9

Favorite subject: math

Sports: basketball, volleyball, track&field

Hgt.: 6-foot-1

College: University of Rio Grande (verbally committed)

Major: Exercise science (4 years), PT (physical therapy) school for 3 years.

Family: Phil and Danna Arnold (father and mother); Kayleigh Maidens

Question: What is the Williamstown volleyball team’s status right now?

Answer: We won a sectional championship and then Saturday we had regionals. We swept Sherman, and then we played (Parkersburg) Catholic in the regional championship and we lost in five sets.

Q: Is the season over?

A: They take two from the regionals, so we’re still going to state. And we’re in a good place for state. We play at 8:30 on Friday against Doddridge County. If we win, we’ll play the winner of Tyler Consolidated and Greenbrier West at 6:30 that night.

Q: Basketball season starts when?

A: (Smiles) Today (Nov. 5), but I’ll have volleyball practice.

Q: So, how do things look for the Yellowjackets at state?

A: We’re a very well-rounded team.

Q: You’re a middle hitter?

A: And outside. I play both. All of our hitters are good enough where you can put them wherever you want to.

Q: How many years have you gone to state?

A: This would be my fourth year. I’ve been very blessed with the teammates I’ve had. We have a very good program.

Q: You’ve been a volleyball player for how long?

A: (Laughs) Believe it or not, I got cut my sixth grade year.

Q: Cut?

A: The grade two years ahead of me had all those superstars, and it was my first time of even touching a volleyball. So, it was a little rough and kind of a shock, because of my height. But I came back the next year. So, I’ve been play since the seventh grade. This would be my sixth year.

Q: I’ll bet you could play volleyball at the next level, too?

A: It was really hard for me to make a decision. I’ve only had a couple of volleyball coaches approach me, but I turned them down. For awhile, I was focused on track, and I didn’t even think I’d like Rio Grande.

Q: But you’re going to Rio to play basketball? I mean, that’s your favorite sport, right?

A: (Smiles) Honestly, I love all three of them (basketball, volleyball and track). It’s hard for me to pick one. But yes, it’s basketball, just because my sister played basketball, and I’ve grown up with it.

(Pauses)

I went to Rio Grande and toured, and I decided it was the best fit for me. But it’s going to be hard to say good-bye to volleyball, because it’s been a huge part of my life. I’ve played all year-round as a team.

Q: How long have you played basketball?

A: (Smiles) Since I was four.

Q: How far has the Williamstown varsity basketball team gone in your career?

A: In my freshman year, we lost to (Huntington) St. Joe in the regionals. And, then, in my sophomore year, we went to the state championship game but lost to St. Joe. Last year, we lost to St. Joe again in the regionals. St. Joe’s a very, very good team.

Q: How are things looking this year?

A: Well, our point guard Keely Alsup, one of my closest friends, has a minor tear in her ACL from a fall league game, and we don’t know if she can play this year. I’m really broken up about it. She has an appointment Tuesday to see how bad it is. We don’t know if we can brace her up yet. But we still have a lot of point guards who can take her spot. It’s just that we’ve played together a couple of years, and we know each other like the back of our hand. I’m still confident we’ll have a real good season.

One of our really good post players Shayla Wiseman, she recently moved away. We’ve taken a little bit of a hurting emotionally with those two, but we’ll still be a real good team.

Q: What are your thoughts on head coach Fred Sauro?

A: (Smiles) I love that man. He held me as a baby. He coached my mom for two years and then coached my sister for four years. Our families are pretty close.

Q: In track, you’re a thrower?

A: The shotput. I won (state) my freshman year, and then I’ve gotten second the last two years to the same girl.

Q: The shot is a tough event?

A: It’s harder than people think. People think it’s strength, but there’s so much technique. I have a very good coach (Zach Hall).

Q: What’s your PR?

A: 37-9 last year..

Q: What was your winning throw at state?

A: I won be a quarter of an inch at 33-8. (Smiles) Whatever wins.

Q: Is there a career highlight that stands out in your mind?

A: Honestly, it was two years ago when we went to state (in basketball). We spent a week together down in Charleston. It gives me cold chills just thinking about it. We were ranked number seven, and we played the number two team and the number three team. Beating Wheeling Central…that was so great.

Q: Who has inspired or impacted your sports career as a student/athlete?

A: Going into my freshman year…I think I’m going to cry…my grandfather passed away.

Q: What was his name?

A: Dan Preston. He was my best friend. He was always there to support me and was realistic with me. It was hard that he didn’t get to see me play any varsity sports. Four years later, I can still cry like a baby thinking about him.

Q: What do you do off the playing fields?

A: Hmmm…it’s hard because I play sports year-round. I read a lot of fiction, more like mysteries.

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: Whenver I can, I’ll sit down and watch a couple of shows. “Frozen” is my favorite movie. Everyone here knows that, too. I’m a very big fan of it. I’m a big Disney fan.

Q: Been to Disney World, by the way?

A: (Smiles) Four times. It’s really nice and really hot.

Q: Being a senior, what would you like to shout out?

A: I definitely want to give a shout out to my family, because I can’t tell you how many hours or how many miles they’re driven for me, taking me to practice and to tournaments.

And, teachers here at Williamstown, I’ve been very blessed with the faculty we have. It’s more like a family than it is a school.

Also, Coach Sauro. just because of the fact that he’s helped me so much with trying to pick a college. He’s been there for me since Day 1. Any time I get stressed about college, his door is always open.

And, then, there’s Zach Hall and Coach (Rachelle) Cole (volleyball coach).

Ron Johnston, rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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