Batchelor earns her spot in the Walk of Fame

Published 8:38 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Few others have the résumé that Beth Batchelor has for the Washington Walk of Fame. She was a four-year varsity player in three different sports, and an all-star outside of athletics, too. She enjoyed immense success during 2007-2011 to earn her spot among the greatest Pam Pack athletes.

Even considering her extensive athletic career with the Pam Pack, Batchelor was somewhat surprised by the honor.

“I’m definitely very honored,” she said. “I was a little shocked that I would be considered for such a big honor. I’m appreciative and just grateful for the chance to carry on the Pam Pack pride.”

She wasted no time making an impact in each sport. As a freshman, she earned the Fast Serve Award on the tennis team. She also earned the Coach’s Award in basketball, and was an all-conference soccer player.

Each sport meant something different to Batchelor. Basketball was something she had always played. She was good at it, too. She was Defensive Player of the Year in her sophomore and junior seasons. As a senior, her 18 points per game led the team. She was named the team’s most valuable player and earned all-conference honors.

“Basketball was something I grew up playing. I absolutely loved the sport,” Batchelor said. “I definitely had to fight for it. Wanting to be a varsity player as a freshman was my goal coming into high school. I wanted to push myself to play with better people. I was willing to fight for that.”

Batchelor’s remarkable success on the tennis court is something to behold, too, especially considering that she didn’t have much of a background prior to high school.

“Tennis was a sport I picked up freshman year. I wanted to play a sport every season,” Batchelor said. “My grandmother played a lot of tennis because of my dad, so I wanted to give it a try. Tennis was a sport that pushed me more than any sport because it was so mental. I felt like I grew a lot, not just in my athletic abilities, but as a person, as well.”

Faced with that mental challenge, Batchelor more than excelled. She quickly climbed the ranks of the tennis team. She was a three-time team MVP and two-time Conference Player of the Year. She finished her senior season as the 16th-ranked player in the state.

As much success as she had in tennis and basketball, soccer is where Batchelor truly excelled. She earned all-conference honors all four years, and was a two-time all-state player. She started captaining the squad as a sophomore. Her 104 career goals broke the school’s record at the time.

“It was absolutely incredible coaching a player like that. It’s the reason why you coach,” former Washington girls’ soccer coach Jim Kozuch said. “She was responsive to everything that you could ever possibly do. She worked harder than any player I’ve ever had.

“She was the definition of professional. She showed up before practice and she was the last person out there at the end of every practice. Every little bit of energy she had, she put into it.”

Simply put, Batchelor was special. She stood out in everything she did, not just athletics. She finished her high school career with a 4.67 grade-point average, which ranked fifth in her class. She was part of the student government association, climbing to the rank of executive president as a senior. She was the National Honor Society president.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in the Walk of Fame that has a better résumé as an athlete or a student than Beth Batchelor,” Bartow Houston said. “She had an amazing career. When taking into account how involved she was in the life of her school … That’s downright intimidating. Then she got a soccer scholarship to ECU. She was the first to earn a Division I soccer scholarship. That speaks for itself.”

Batchelor added, “I learned at a very young age to work at everything with my whole heart. I think part of that mindset comes through my faith and knowing that, ultimately, I’m working for the Lord and not my own personal gain and satisfaction. So, I definitely carried that into school, friendships, family and sports.”

Beth Batchelor takes a breather during an East Carolina soccer game. Batchelor was the first Washington girls’ soccer player to earn a Division I scholarship.

Beth Batchelor takes a breather during an East Carolina soccer game. Batchelor was the first Washington girls’ soccer player to earn a Division I scholarship.

All of Batchelor’s hard work paid off in the form of that scholarship to play soccer at East Carolina University. Kozuch said he knew she could play at the Division I level the first time he saw her, but it took Batchelor a little longer to come to that realization.

“I just enjoyed the sport of soccer,” she said. “It never really crossed my mind to play at the college level until the end of my sophomore year. Coach Kozuch actually brought it to my attention to check in and see where I could play. Of course, he was super supportive, pushed me and encouraged me.”

For Batchelor, seeing her hard work in all facets of life pay off in such a grand way was something she’ll never forget.

“It was just a huge relief and excitement,” Batchelor said. “I felt like I had finally proven to them that I could play with them and play for East Carolina. It was something that, when you work so hard to get to a certain goal, and you finally reach it, you feel like you have accomplished something incredible.

“The real story was that I knew I was just starting and I had so much more to accomplish at East Carolina.”

To Batchelor, setting an example for the Pam Pack generations to come was just as important — if not more so — than any of her personal accomplishments.

“I also feel very encouraged that, if current students put forth 110 percent, they can stand alone, as well, and have their name in the Walk of Fame one day,” she said. “Being a Pam Pack athlete, still to this day, I cherish those moments greatly. … I’m just excited to be able to encourage other students.”