MINT HILL, NC – Ashleigh Aberley, a powerful three-sport athlete, played the majority of her high school career on struggling teams. However, she was always a standout, right from her freshman year, you can see the talent and competitive spirit in her makeup. At practice, she worked the hardest, she pushed her teammates to improve, and most of all, she never gave in to an opponent. She would give 100% from the tip-off, first serve, or opening pitch until the end of any contest.
She played three sports during her career, basketball, softball, and volleyball. Was a team leader, and had a positive can-do attitude. Because of her tenacity, many times she carried the team on her shoulders, she paid the price of sustaining knee injuries that eventually would keep this young lady from reaching her full potential.
However, it’s a time for celebration, as she graduates and begins the next phase in life’s journey. Therefore, we reached out at the recommendation and support of Queens Grant High School Principal, Josh Swartzlander to ask Ashleigh some final questions.
Q1. What are your most memorable moments as a student at QGHS?
As a student, the most memorable moments at Queen’s Grant would be having close relationships with teachers. I feel this is an important advantage of attending a smaller school.
Q2. What about as a three-sport varsity athlete?
As a three-sport varsity athlete, the memories that stick out the most would be home basketball games because, all four years despite the score of the game, the coaches, players, and spectators always kept the energy up in the gym, and that is a feeling I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Another big memory was building the softball field this year, even though I won’t get to play a real game on it, I know other athletes will enjoy the field in the years to come. They won’t have to go through the pain of walking across the street and up the hill to practice at Idlewild Park.
Q3. What are your next steps as a student entering college and in your chosen career field?
I will be taking classes at Central Piedmont Community College to be a diesel technician. The program gives graduates a full-time job with a Caterpillar dealership after one year of intense training classes. I really enjoy working with my hands, working on trucks and other machines has always been a hobby for me, I am very excited to have this career opportunity to enter into this field of work.
Q4. How do you feel about the impact COVID-19 had on your softball season and graduation?
I had high hopes for this year because halfway through my freshman season I partially tore a ligament in my knee and was out the rest of the season. And at the beginning of my sophomore and junior softball season, I underwent two different knee surgeries for torn ligaments. So I was eager to get back out there after being scorekeeper for two seasons. Sadly, losing this season almost felt normal to me because of the two previous years. I definitely feel cheated, as all the senior athletes do and wish we could somehow get a second chance. But I still got to play five games this season, it just made those games that much sweeter to remember, and I really feel like I left it all on the field in my last game.
As for graduation, Queens Grant is trying to hold a ceremony later this summer. I hate that my whole family won’t be able to attend due to limited guests. I do really want to see some of my friends one last time before they leave for college and see all my teachers again. I think it’s hard to move on from this crazy experience, especially during a milestone time in my life when I want to enjoy all the things the other graduating classes have experienced. However, I learned from this experience, including the past few years of my life, when you have no control over the situation there’s no point in staying still and being upset about it. Life keeps on moving whether you’re ready for it or not, so you just have to make the best of the time you have, and also what you have, because you can’t change what’s happened. But, you can make the most of it and look forward to what God has in store for you next.
Q5. What message and legacy would you like to leave behind as you move forward beyond high school?
I would like to say that working on your own time is everything, both in the classroom, on the court or in the field. If I study outside of class I’m going to do better on that test. And if I work out and train outside of practice, I’m going to be much more prepared for the next game. Working harder is only going to help you, when you think you’ve given it all you got, do one more rep or one more practice session, you’ll surprise yourself with how much you have in you.