Prestigious recognition for Knotts

No matter the sport, it usually doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if someone has talent as an athlete.

What’s even better is when people actually make the most of being a student-athlete. One such person who truly fits that mold is former Roane County standout and now West Virginia Wesleyan graduate Ashli Knotts.

Knotts, who just recently completed her degree in communications and is off to West Virginia University to obtain her master’s, always has been pretty much a star at whatever she chose to do.

In high school, all she did as a Raider was earn 16 varsity athletic letters and finish with a 4.0 GPA.

When it came to doing things the right way as a Bobcat, she more than succeeded in her career. Not only did she graduate Summa Cum Laude, but she was a dominant track athlete and earned first team all-West Virginia Conference honors in cross country.

All-WVIAC in the steeplechase and 800 meter run as a senior, Knotts also captured the now defunct conference’s heptathlon her last three years at Wesleyan. That helped her earn league MVP honors at the last WVIAC meet and also didn’t hurt her in being nominated for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award.

Knotts owns Wesleyan school records in the javelin, 800 and 6,000 meters, but she also is one of only 430 female athletes to be in the running for the NCAA Woman of the Year.

“We’ll find out the middle of next month if Division II passes me on,” said Knotts, who must await word if she makes the cut to the round of 30 where 10 female athletes each from Division I, II and III will make the final round before the winner is chosen.

Of course, Knotts was totally surprised when she learned both Wesleyan and the WVIAC had submitted her name for the honor.

“That’s going to be a huge cut and everything, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be acknowledged with that,” she said. “But, it was enough for me to be this far.”

Along with going to graduate school in Morgantown, Knotts is thinking about getting a doctorate. She plans on teaching and perhaps one day getting into coaching.

Some of the things she’s going to miss the most about Buckhannon, her home for the last four years, is all the camaraderie from her teammates, friends, coaches and even her professors, she said.

“Everybody always said that high school goes fast, but college goes faster and I kind of laughed at that,” Knotts admitted. “I thought high school went really fast and now that it’s all over with I do realize that each year it just seemed to go faster and faster and faster.

“My senior year (at college) just flew by. It’s sad to say goodbye to a lot of those people, but I know they are my greatest friends I’ve met. Even though I’m no longer a Bobcat, I’ll always be a Bobcat.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com