Her accolades include the Group A and Scrimmage Play player of the year in 2010, the same year she set Nelson County’s kill record and led the Governors to a Division 1 title, along with this year’s Region B POY honors. Ashley Wells is one of the most decorated volleyball players in Nelson history and on Wednesday she officially signed a letter of intent to play at Lenoir Rhyne in North Carolina for both volleyball and also partially for track and field, earning a full ride in the process.
“I really feel that all of this started in eighth grade when I came up here watching the team and (Coach Vicky Crawford,” Wells said. “I just kept playing and felt like this was the sport for me and I didn’t need anything else in my life to full my (sporting) needs. I kind of fell in love with volleyball.”
Wells, who’s older bother M.J. was an accomplished football and baseball player for the Governors and who’s father, Mark, is the football coach at Nelson was more than pleased to have her college search come to an end.
“I didn’t feel as comfortable anywhere else as I did at Lenoir Rhyne,” Well said. “I felt a whirlwind of ‘this is where I’m supposed to be’ and I enjoyed being around the girls and the campus.”
Patriots send a pair to the collegiate ranks
Albemarle also held a pair of signings on Wednesday afternoon with Lauren Eklund signing to play golf at Old Dominion and Becky Johnson inking up with Davidson for field hockey.
Eklund was an integral part of leading Albemarle to a Commonwealth District title in all four years she played for the Patriots leading coach Greg Maynard to offer high praise.
“She’s the best girl I’ve ever coached, “ Maynard said. “Of course she’s also the only girl I’ve ever coached.”
Eklund, a winner of multiple Reines Jewler’s Charlottesville City championships also qualified for the Group AAA tournament as an individual during her time with the Patriots. The chance to play at the college level was no accident as Eklund’s been playing since she was young enough to remember.
“When I was little my parents used to take me out all the time in the golf cart and I’d actually sleep in the basket (in the rear of the cart),” Eklund said. “Finally one day I asked if I could hit a golf ball. I did and I’ve just loved it ever since.”
And having watched her older, Wes, go on to turn his golfing days at Albemarle into a chance to play at Radford made her effort to find a home to continue her golf career an easier process.
“He helps me before I know what’s going to happen, so I know everything before I need to use it,” Eklund said. “We get a long really well and he’ll keep helping me out on the golf course.”
Johnson led the Patriots in assists this year in field hockey. Playing in one of the toughest district’s in the state for the sport, the distributor for Albemarle’s offense is looking forward to transitioning to play on the college carpet at Davidson.
“I know the game is going to be faster,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be quicker and it’s going to be an adjusment, but I know that I can do it.”
And getting that chance to play at the next level has Johsnon wondering how could she do anyhting else.
“It’s my passion,” Johnson said. “I don’t know who I’d be without it and I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have to go to practice. Most days, all I do is play field hockey.”
Coach E.A. Jackson didn’t mince words when it came to Johnson’s signing, putting it straight forward when she said, “We’d wish Becky luck but she creates her own luck.”