BUCKHANNON — It is important to highlight the youth in Upshur County and the hard work they have put in to excelling in the sports they play. This series of articles will go in-depth with one of B-U’s student athletes, allowing readers to get to know a little more about who athletically represents the community. This week Lady Bucs’ star freshman forward Alyssa Abel took the time to give the community an inside look at his journey in Upshur County sports.
Question 1: Describe your major highlights and achievements in sports in the past. What standouts out to you about your high school athletic career?
“Coming in as a freshman and immediately starting on the varsity level really stands out to me. I was looked upon as a team leader and had to play like an upperclassman. This pushed me to be both a better athlete and a better teammate,” explained Abel.
Question 2: What clubs, teams or other extracurricular activities are you involved in during high school?
“In addition to basketball, I also play volleyball and softball for B-UHS. I also okay for the NCWV Swish, AAU/travel basketball team,” said Abel.
Question 3: Why are you so passionate about playing sports?
“Ever since I was young, I looked up to Hannah McClung and Lauren Bennett. I remember going to watch them play in the state tournament back when I was in fifth grade. Ever since that trip, it has been a dream of mine to make it to states,” stated Abel.
Question 4: What is your favorite sport? What made it your favorite? What drew you to the sport?
“Basketball is definitely my favorite sport. I have been playing it the longest out of the three sports I take part in. Playing basketball is something that I look forward to doing and getting better at. Coaches, teammates and my Dad pushing me to be better has only drew me to the sport more. I want to be remembered for never giving up and always playing like it’s my last game,” explained Abel.
Question 5: How would your coaches and teammates describe you? What does it mean to you to be a part of a team?
“I would say that my coaches and teammates would describe me as hard-working, kind, funny and of course a freshman,” said Abel.
Question 6: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gained from a coach over your years playing any sport?
“I would say Coach Gregory, my middle school softball coach. He always said, ‘Know who you are and remember you are a Buccaneer. Do the right thing when nobody is watching and always give 110%’,” remembered Abel.
Question 7: How do you manage your athletic responsibilities and other outside recreational and non-recreational activities?
“I work as hard as I can to keep up with my schoolwork while juggling life as a three-sport athlete. It’s something you have to be able to manage if you hope to play at the next level. No matter how late you get home from a game or how tired you are, school has to come first,” stated Abel.
Question 8: How have you been able to compete at such a high level at such a young age?
“By being pushed to the max and knowing no matter what, you can always do better. Also knowing just because I am a freshman, doesn’t mean that I can’t be a leader. Building a great bond with my teammates has also helped me,” said Abel.
Question 9: What’s the biggest lesson you have picked up from playing sports?
“Always play the game like it’s your last time on the court or field and never take a play off. Also having a team that is like another family to you can help you accomplish so much more,” explained Abel.
Question 10: How long have you been playing sports? How would you describe yourself as an athlete?
“I have been playing basketball since third and fourth grade. I would describe myself as a hard-working player that would do anything for the benefit of her team and as someone who would never give up on myself or teammates. I am very passionate about the game and it drives me to be the best I can possibly be,” stated Abel.
Question 11: What has representing Buckhannon-Upshur as a student-athlete meant to you? What’s your best memory? What does it mean to be a part of a group that has the potential to do something special?
“To me, it means to always be your best and represent Buckhannon/Upshur County how it should be represented,” said Abel. “Also, I would have to say my favorite memory from the season was the bud ride home from Grafton. Knowing our regular season was over and getting to ride the bus home with the seniors, Shelby (McDaniels) and Olivia (Ellis) was such a cool experience. Ending the ride with a shared group hug was the perfect end to our regular season ride together. It feels so good as an athlete to be a part of a team with the potential to do something great. I am proud that I get to work alongside them and get better together.”
Question 12: Finally, are there any short-term goals you’d like to accomplish in the next few months to a couple of years? What about in the future 10 years or more down the road, where do you think you will end up? College plans?
“My main short-term goal is to win regionals so we can get to the state tournament. In terms of long-term future goals, I would love to go to college and play basketball,” explained Abel.