Surrounded by a crowd of friends, family, and classmates, Johnson County High School senior Ashley Arnold officially signed with Milligan College last week at the high schools media center. Receiving both academic and athletic scholarships, Arnold will continue her love of softball as she moves into her college career. Milligan Coach Wes Holly was on hand for the ceremony to welcome the newest member of his team.
Ive kept up with Ashley the last couple of years, Holly said. Shes come to my camps at Milligan and she also played summer league ball with some of my girls. Ive also been giving her some private lessons in hitting, so Im well aware of her character, her fundamentals, and how she has developed over the last couple of years.
A strong infielder, particularly at second base, Arnold will likely continue her position as she transitions to her new team. Were looking to bring her in as a great infielder and also as a utility player, Holly said. With her ability we feel like we can use her wherever we need her. She has that much versatility. Were excited she chose Milligan and were looking forward to seeing what contributions she can make to our softball program over the next four years.
A key part of both the Lady Longhorns defense and offense, JCHS Head Coach Dana Smith was naturally saddened to see Arnold leave, but was also very proud of what she has accomplished over the last four years. Nobody has given the effort that she has given, Smith said. By watching her, these younger players have aspired to be like that, to work as hard as she works. Just by who she is and the way she does things, I want all of my players to put in the work and the time that she has put in, to be the athlete and the student that she is, because she is tops in the classroom too. To be able to see that and to emulate that image is what our program has always been about. Weve had students to do that over the years, but to watch her go from her freshman year to now and watch her transform herself has been amazing. To be part of her life, to get an opportunity to see every bit of that unfold in the person she is, to be around her and watch this process, I feel like I am truly blessed.
Smith went on to note that Arnold has always been interested in Milligan and that she is proud to know that one of her players has been able to accomplish the goals she has set for herself. This is the college that she has wanted to go to from the beginning, said Smith. Academically its one of the best colleges and she is going to get to do the thing that she is passionate about as far as her sport. To be able to do both of those at a place thats going to nurture her both academically and athletically is one of the things that she has aspired to do from the very beginning. She knew that this is what she wanted to do, where she wanted to end up as a senior. To pull that off personally, that level of commitment is unmatchable.
Arnold currently has plans of going into sports medicine and admits that the switch into college is going to be a challenge. Ive just got to keep my head on straight and focus on school, Arnold said. Im going to keep practicing softball and work for my position there. My sights were always pretty much set on Milligan. Dana Smith and Lisa Mullins have really helped me. They knew I wanted to go on and play somewhere and they really helped me get to where I want to be. Im excited, its sad to leave all your friends behind but its a new chapter in life.
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