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Senior year over, Knott looks ahead to college life and sports

South Boston News
Ashlyn Knott / April 29, 2020

Bluestone student-athlete Ashlyn Knott is like most high school seniors in the country right now, just wishing for a graduation ceremony.

In spite of seeing the final months of the school year canceled due to coronavirus, Knott is preparing herself for summer workouts with the Randolph-Macon College girls volleyball team. Knott, a 2020 first-team James River District honoree and 2020 first-team All-Region player in volleyball, is making it a top priority to stay in shape for the volleyball court — and the college classroom.

“Now that there is no school or sports, I stay active and busy by working and exercising,” Knott said. “I’m also finishing up classes online.

“I enjoyed the two weeks of quarantine but now I’m exercising every day to get ready for summer workouts.” All high school spring sports sanctioned by the VHSL were initially delayed two weeks before seasons were canceled.

Knott, who likes to hang out with friends and family, and go out on the lake and fish, was a star athlete on Bluestone's girls soccer team up until this season, when she decided not to play the sport this spring. The senior also earned all-district and all-region honors in soccer in past seasons.

Her decision not to play soccer this spring was partially based on a severe ankle injury Knott suffered in early October during volleyball season. That injury almost sidelined her the remainder of the way. Knott’s determination was such that not only did she return to the volleyball court, she bounced back in the VHSL Region 2 playoffs as if she had never missed a game.

Knott picked up volleyball in the sixth grade while at Bluestone Middle School and has continually improved her level of play. She also played basketball from grades seven through nine coming through school.

For aspiring student-athletes, Knott recommends playing with a travel team in your chosen sport to enhance what you learn with your school team — if the opportunity presents itself. She said joining a travel team is another way to improve your game and character.

“I played (volleyball) with the North Carolina Dominators for three years,” Knott said. “Being a part of those travel teams helped me build my game, exposure and leadership.

“The teams allowed me to practice with different people and develop my game based on theirs. It also allowed me to guide other players and make great friendships.”

Knott holds some impressive numbers with Bluestone. This season Knott broke records for best receive percentage (81 percent), best dig percentage (88 percent), and best kill percentage (38.7 percent).

Knott owns the records for most serves received (191, in the 2018-2019 season), most kills (368, 2018-2019) and most blocks (75, 2017-2018).

A lot of athletes graduating high school attend colleges and universities that maybe weren’t their first choice. Paying for college, the school’s location and many other reasons sometimes guide student’s decisions on where to attend.

Knott said she is extremely happy to have been signed by the Yellow Jackets, saying she really has taken a liking to the college and its volleyball team. She expressed she was glad she was able to sign early, in spite of still suffering with the injury.

“Looking back now, I’m glad I signed when I did, because I was going to wait until May 1 which is a national signing day,” Knott remembered. “I had been in contact with the coaches there for a long time and went for an overnight visit May 3, 2019.

“I instantly fell in love with the campus and volleyball program. After my visit there, I didn’t want to tour any other colleges.”

Knott signed her letter-of-intent to attend Randolph-Macon on Feb. 28 in a ceremony at Bluestone before schools were shuttered for the remainder of the current academic school calendar. She plans to study to become a physician’s assistant.

Although Knott wasn’t playing spring sports this year, she empathizes with those who lost their senior seasons. She makes the point it was much more than just sports being canceled.

“Learning that all of the things that allowed us seniors to celebrate our accomplishments was canceled was very disappointing,” Knott acknowledged. “Prom was supposed to be a time for us to celebrate our last few months together, and graduation was going to be a time for us to reflect on everything we’ve been through and yet still accomplished so much. I’m still holding out hope for a late graduation.”

Knott has earned all A’s this year and will graduate with an associate’s degree. She is a member of the Mecklenburg Junior Women’s Association.

The daughter of Cyndi and Ben Knott, she also has a younger brother Caleb. She said she appreciates the challenges and opportunities of growing up in Clarksville and attending Bluestone.

“Growing up here you have to create an opportunity for yourself,” Knott said. “Finding something I was good at and sticking with it worked for me. I’ve also met some of the most amazing, strong, and supportive people here and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

The Randolph-Macon girls volleyball program is a force in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The squad has won the ODAC regular season championship the past six seasons and head coach Bill Rogers eclipsed the 400-wins mark earlier this year.

Randolph-Macon is a NCAA Division-3 college located in Ashland. The private liberal arts college was founded in 1830.

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