Ashley Blankenship has accepted an invitation to play volleyball at the international level. The Minford freshman will play in a Down Under Sports Tournament in Australia, July 12th-23rd.
Blankenship, who is currently playing on the girls basketball team, was surprised to receive the initiation.
“I was surprised because our volleyball program hasn’t been as strong as it could have been,” Blankenship said. “It’s really exciting. I’m definitely taking volleyball more serious this year.”
According to downundersports.com, Down Under Sports is an annual tournament hosted by International Sports Specialists (ISSI), which provide a forum for athletes from other countries to compete head to head in the sport they love.
The Down Under Sports Tournaments have included competition in football, cheerleading, basketball, volleyball, golf, cross-country, track and field, free style wrestling, and swimming. ISSI’s goal is to continue to provide athletes who excel in their sport the opportunity to experience the culture, beauty and grandeur of the land Down Under all within the framework of spirited and intense competition in many different sports.
As far as volleyball is concerned, Blankenship is looking forward to the opportunity to asses her skills against elite level competition.
“Most of the players are 11th and 12 graders that are attending,” Blankenship said. “So, I am going to watch and see where my skills are, and what I need to improve on for the collegiate level.”
Blankenship is excited to represent her school and state as she prepares to travel halfway around the world.
“I think I’m just now starting to realize what I get to do and how important it is for our school — coming from Ohio — and our school being smaller. It’ll be a great opportunity to represent our school and the state of Ohio.”
As far as her immediate plans, Blankenship still considers basketball her first love but admitted that could change during her high-school career.
“I’ve only played volleyball for three years and basketball has been my life-long sport,” Blankenship said. “I like basketball more at this moment but if our volleyball program improves at Minford, I could see myself picking volleyball over basketball.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.