By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
The trio of Ashley Arnold, Judd Hammons and Jacob Henson are proof that good things come in packages of three. The trio are part of Johnson County High School's 2013 graduating class with career goals that will be difference makers in life.
What makes them so special is being able to mix their college studies in with athletics and excel at both. And that's not an easy task in this day and time.
Ashley is a second baseman for Milligan College's softball team. Jacob participates in Buffaloes' track program while Hammons is a starter on Alice Lloyd's baseball team.
Hammons had to adjust his schedule just recently when his team went on the road to play a doubleheader in Chattanooga.
I had to miss a test because of the games, said Hammons. I got back around 11 pm and had to study. I then went and took a make-up test at 8 am. It's something you have to get used to.
Adjustments have become a part of life for Hammons since arriving on campus in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. But overcoming them speaks volumes about his dedication.
I love it up here because it reminds me of Johnson County, added Hammons. I go to class all day and then practice baseball. I work in the evenings because Alice Lloyd is a work-study college. I get off around 9 pm and walk back to the dorm. I'm too tired to do anything else.
A recent medical issue gives us insight about his dedication. Hammons took time to explain.
I have a rare kidney disorder called Rhabdomyslysis, said Hammons. I've had to play in a lot of pain. I've been to the doctor nearly 20 times since it was diagnosed. But I won't quit playing until my body shuts down.
Hammons said that his mother, Missy Newman, has been his biggest inspiration.
My mom works hard and then she'll turn around and drive hours back and forth to watch me play. She's worked hard to provide for me and I want to make it up to her one day.
Hammons also credited his former coaches Pete Pavusek and Nick Perkins for helping him to get where he's at.
The college game is totally different from a speed standpoint, said Hammons. But I had confidence in my abilities because we were taught fundamentals by our high school coaches.
Hammons said that baseball would always be in his future plans.
I would like to play in the minor leagues one day and be drafted, added Hammons. I'm willing to play in an independent league. But I definitely want to teach school and coach baseball. Thats what I'm pursuing my degree in.
Arnold arrived at Milligan after four great seasons while playing softball for the Lady Longhorns. It's been a big adjustment for her as well.
I don't have a lot of free time, said Arnold. You don't really have a life outside of softball and your studies. Most of the time I hang out with my teammates. You must make good use of your time. I've worked hard learning how to balance softball around my schoolwork. I feel like I've gotten much better this year with my time management.
Arnold has been bitten by the injury bug as well. She had to sit out most of her freshman season because of a shoulder injury.
Milligan is a highly renowned academic school with great athletic programs, added Henson. You have to lay everything out on paper. Every minute of the day has to be spent wisely. It's the only way that you can make the two work.
Henson said he hopes his work will one day bring him back to Johnson County. He has another goal in mind besides being a doctor.
I would like to start a track program full force at Johnson County if my work permits it, added Henson. I would like to see a new track be built where we could have our meets. You need that in order to have a great program.
Henson was elated to share his story with Arnold and Hammons.
It's awesome that three of us went on to pursue athletics in college, said Henson. I always felt like our 2013 class was a special one. We had a lot of good people graduate with us.
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.