Batchelor named area's top athlete|Washington star having fun on the way to the top

Published 1:35 am Sunday, June 27, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
As the rest of the world is enjoying the World Cup, the most common American complaint about the event is the lack of scoring.
Those fans should come out and watch Beth Batchelor play in some Pam Pack games.
The junior forward/goalie/whatever is needed most at the time first-team all-state soccer player lit up the scoreboard this season, guaranteeing fans they would see at least two scores a game as she booted a career-high 32 goals in 16 contests for Washington.
When Batchelor wasn’t playing soccer, the sport she truly loves, the junior dabbled in tennis and basketball.
Batchelor picked up a racket for the first time competitively as a freshman three years ago, and it didn’t take long before she became a dominating force for the Pam Pack.
Despite lacking the classical training that some of the other top netters have, Batchelor used her soccer-quick feet and athletic instinct to level out the playing field. In just her third year of playing tennis, Batchelor went to the states as a singles player and was named the Coastal Conference Player of the Year.
During the winter the 5-9 Batchelor played forward for the Pam Pack, and once again her fantastic footwork, coupled with her never-back-down competitive spirit, allowed her to become one of the best defenders on the team, capable of covering anyone from point guard to center. The junior also posted nine points and five rebounds a night en route to being named to the WDN all-area hoops team.
Batchelor is ultra-talented, extremely dedicated and the ultimate team player, which made her the ideal choice for the Washington Daily News Female Athlete of the Year.
While Batchelor expects the best from herself every time she laces up her Nikes, even she said she was caught off guard by how much success she had this year.
“No, I never imagined having a year like this,” Batchelor said. “I just go out there to play sports and have fun.”
Fun is the key word in that sentence.
It’s common for a talented kid to feel pressured into going into the best summer leagues or camps, or to keep playing and practicing until whatever sport they are playing becomes business-like. Batchelor may sign up for a camp here or there, or run her customary two miles day plus sprints, but it’s because she wants to.
That’s what she enjoys doing.
The daughter of Bill and Augusta Batchelor, Beth was raised in an athletic setting and cited her father as her biggest sports influence.
“My dad played a lot of baseball growing up,” Batchelor said. “He’s just really athletic and he would come out to the high school and play with me. … He would play goalie and I would shoot at him.”
Despite growing up in a sports household, Batchelor was never pressured into playing sports.
“That’s the difference between her and a lot of people,” Pam Pack soccer coach Jimmy Kozuch said. “A lot of people get pressured into playing all these sports, but this is something she wants to do. I think that is the biggest difference. You see a lot of people get pushed into things, but she’s not. She doesn’t have to do any of the stuff she does, but she chooses to.”
And when she chooses to do something, chances are it is going to get done.
Whether it is in the classroom, where her 4.7 GPA has earned her Marshall status, or on the sports arena, what separates Batchelor from the pack is her drive and willingness to work harder than everyone else.
“I just know when I get to college the competition is going to be hard,” said Batchelor, who is mulling various soccer scholarships. “I want to be able to go out there and compete.”
Washington basketball coach Allison Jones said it’s Batchelor’ competitive spirit that sets her apart from other athletes.
“Beth is the ultimate competitor,” Jones said. “Whether it’s in the classroom or on the court, she wants to win. She loves to train and all that preparation has paid off. … She just sets a really good example for all the other kids.”
Kozuch echoed Jones saying that Batchelor’s commitment fuels her athletic prowess.
“She is so good because she is so dedicated to everything she does,” Kozuch said. “She doesn’t want to be the second best on the team, she wants to be the best and she is the best.
“During basketball season she will stay and shoot hoops till she is comfortable with her shot. In soccer she is out there shooting 100 shots a day. The other day it was 95 degrees out and she is out there with no soccer goal just shooting. She is able to push herself even if there is nobody else around.”
Despite reaching a level of success that is rare air for most athletes, Batchelor remains humble and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure her team leaves the field victorious.
On the soccer field, Batchelor is capable of scoring from anywhere, as she proved against J.H. Rose when she scored five goals in the Pack’s 5-5 tie against the Rampants. Despite being able to seemingly score at will, she will also play defensive roles if it’s best for the team.
Batchelor’s 76 career goals is two shy of Blaine Prescott’s school-record 78. She would have likely eclipsed the goal mark had she not spent so much time trying to prevent them.
“She is our best scorer, but she was also our best goalie. Last year we won a playoff game and she played goalie and forward,” Kozuch said. “But the best game I’ve ever seen her play, aside from the Rose game maybe, was against White Oak. Although she didn’t score in that game, we put her in goal knowing that they have one of the top five offenses in the state, and she completely shut them down. She probably made 25 saves in the first half; it was unbelievable. “
Other goal-scoring phenoms may have gotten mad about the position change, but Batchelor embraced it.
“I liked it, I like the change,” Batchelor said. “It’s fun when the other team takes a lot of shots … I like having the pressure on me, it makes it more fun.”
After being named to the all-state soccer team, earning the Coastal Conference Player of the Year in tennis and taking a spot on the WDN all-area basketball team, Batchelor said she is already feeling the pressure of lofty expectation to have an even more successful senior year.
Whether she can exceed what she has done this year is unknown, but is there is no doubt she will enjoy trying.