The story of Beth Batchelor

Published 6:46 pm Saturday, July 30, 2011

This year Beth Batchelor set the Washington record for career goals in soccer, averaged nearly 20 points per game for the basketball team and finished the tennis season ranked 16th in the state en route to being named the Washington Daily News Female Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row. (WDN Photos/Brian Haines)

To the average observer, it looks like Beth Batchelor steps on the court, hardwood, soccer field or whatever arena she choses to compete in and just dominates. While this may be true, the reality is that her domination begins long before her opponent gets off the bus – and I’m not talking about the team bus, but the school bus.
Before the rest of her peers begin their morning, Batchelor has already completed a workout. Whether it be kicking soccer balls or running sprints, she has taken a step towards improvement before the first period buzzer has blared.
See the story of Beth Batchelor is not about her immense talent, but more about her oversized heart. It’s about an athlete who needs to see improvement each day the way the rest of us need oxygen to breathe. It’s story about a girl who simply just wants it more than anybody else and is not afraid to go out and take it.
During her senior year Batchelor went 18-0 for the Pam Pack tennis team to win her second straight Coastal Conference Player of the Year award. In basketball, the 5-9 Batchelor increased her scoring output by nearly 10 points a game to average 18 points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists a night playing as an undersized power forward and was named to the WDN All-Area first team for the second consecutive season.
While her achievments in tennis and basketball were incredible, they became even more remarkable when you consider she was just playing those sports to stay in shape for soccer, her true love.
It’s on the pitch that Batchelor unleashes all the power she has obtained from those early morning workouts. It’s where she reaps the benefits of having woken up at the same time as the sun to run laps, or having hung around after practice to master that move or refine that shot.
She is human, she does feel pain and her muscles do get sore, but all that gets pushed aside every time she scores a goal, makes tackle or gets named to the all-state soccer team like she did her junior and senior years.
She is the ultimate hustler, she might lose but she will never be outworked.
“When it comes to Beth you always think of her great work ethic,” Washington soccer coach Jimmy Kozuch said of Batchelor, who broke the Washington record for career goals this season. “She just went from her junior year being our player of the year and stepped it up. She went to the next level, worked even harder and put in all her time for conditioning and it’s really paid off.”
It’s that kind of attitude that has led Beth Batchelor to complete one of the most prolific prep careers in Washington High School history and enabled her to repeat as the Washington Daily News Female Athlete of the Year.
Batchelor’s win-at-all-cost attitude applied to all sports and that, combined with her humble nature, made her a favorite among her teammates and coaches.
“She just loved to play and it showed every time she stepped on the floor,” said Washington basketball coach and athletic director Allison Jones. “Her teammates loved to play with her because of the way she played. When we ran drills in practice if it looked for a second like she might not be the first one to cross the line – you could see it come over her – she would slide like a soccer player making a tackle. The girls would look at her like ‘what is she doing?’ But it was contagious and the girls loved playing with her because they knew she would go wall-to-wall everyday.”
It’s plays like that, that have left a lasting impression on Jones.
“Beth is by far the best athlete that I have ever coached and I have coached at D.H. Conley, Fuquay-Varina and West Craven High School. While I have really been fortunate to be around a lot of great basketball players and great kids and great athletes, Beth is head and shoulders above them all.”
Jones, who has coached basketball for the last four years at Washington, said what she remembers most is not all of her 30-point games or all the times Batchelor successfully defended much bigger post players, but simple plays that really portray Batchelor’s spirit better than any scoring mark could ever attempt to do.
“I enjoyed watching a loose ball roll towards the out of bounds line, and when everybody else in the gym thought it was going out and nobody could get to it, Beth was the one that got to it and turned it into a layup on the other end.”
Surprisingly, the girl who does everything it takes to win is not so much inspired by obtaining a victory, but motivated simply by the fear of failure.
“I guess (the drive) just comes within myself. I’ll tell my parents (Bill and Augusta) that I’m going to workout and they’ll say, ‘No, take the day off your body needs rest.’ But I just feel like if I don’t keep working out then I will eventually be behind. And I don’t want to be behind,” Batchelor said.
On the tennis court Batchelor rarely found herself trailing as she went undefeated in conference play her junior and senior years. Batchelor didn’t lose a single match during the 2010 season but the jugernuat was stopped short at a run at the state title by the only thing that could possibly be more important: soccer.
Batchelor had won two matches on a Friday to technically advance to the state tournament. However, Batchelor, who received a soccer scholarship to play at East Carolina, was scheduled for an official visit to the school that Saturday and could not make her tennis match. Even though she would have advanced to state whether or not she won that match, she was disqualified because she did not show up.
“She technically advanced to the state tournament by winning two matches on Friday at the regionals,” said Washington tennis coach Michelle Elks. “We were prepared to go to the state tournament the next week but we got a call saying that she actually had to hit a ball on that Saturday in order to qualify for play the next weekend. She could not get out of her obligation at ECU and therefore they would not allow her to advance.”
Batchelor finished the season with an 18-0 record to rank 16th in the state and won her third straight team MVP award.
After enduring the tennis and basketball seasons, the temperatures got warmer and Batchelor began to heat up as she set the school mark for goals in the Pam Pack’s soccer season opener. Needing two scores to tie Blaine Prescott’s record of 78. In true Batchelor fashion, she got it in the first game of the year.
When asked about the record-breaking goal Batchelor couldn’t really remember much about it. Why? Her sights were set on 100 before the season even started.
“I was two goals shy of the record last year, but my main goal this year was to break 100. When I did that I just … It was such a big buildup but after I did that it was just like the weight lifted off my shoulders.
“When I broke Blaine’s record it was the first game of the year against Edenton. I don’t remember the goal. The 100th was against West Craven and I was dribbling the ball down left-center and I just shot it and it went between the goalie and the far-left post. I shot it about 20 yards.”
The next goal for Batchelor is to make her mark at East Carolina. Kozuch said when you combine her skill with work ethic the possibilities are endless for the future Pirate.
“Maybe I’m biased because I was her coach, but I see her being a Conference USA player of the Year sometime in the next four years,” Kozuch said. “The sky is the limit for her.”

Female Athlete of the Year winners:
2011 – Beth Batchelor, Washington
2010 — Beth Batchelor, Washington
2009 — Elizabeth Ange, Jamesville
2008 — Samantha Smith, Washington
2007 — Suzanne Lee, Northside
2006 — Meredith Knox, Washington
2005 — Meredith Knox, Washington
2004 — Melody Jo (MJ) Williams, Mattamuskeet