BOONE — It would be understandable of 2021 Watauga High School graduate Ava Williamson to not know what to do with herself in the afternoons of the upcoming school year.
Then again, Williamson plans to stay busy by attending Appalachian State to study in the field of health care. Possibly becoming a nurse will no doubt take plenty of Williamson’s time over the next several years.
She’s already used to staying busy after playing on three Watauga sports teams in her final three years at the school after playing on two teams in her freshman year. Williamson was recognized for her dedication to the Watauga athletic department when she was given the Hall of Fame Award — given to the top Watauga female athlete — at a ceremony on May 24.
Playing athletics at Watauga has been a labor of love for Williamson. She said staying busy playing sports from fall to spring turned into a routine and not a burden.
“I love having to go from sport to another sport to another sport,” Williamson said. “It gives me something to look forward to.”
Williamson has been a member of the Watauga volleyball and girls’ basketball programs since her freshman year after playing those sports at Valle Cucis Middle School. She also took up track and field in her sophomore year.
Despite graduating May 27, Williamson wasn’t finished just yet in representing Watauga’s sports department. The Pioneers participated in the Northwestern Conference Track and Field Championships at Freedom High in Morganton on June 3. She ran in the 100-meter hurdles and on the 400-meter relay team.
She had about a month off before the track schedule, which was modified to accommodate the COVID-19 safety issues. She was able to squeeze in some fun before going back to the track.
“Actually, I took my senior trip to the Virgin Islands,” Williamson said. “I missed our first two track meets, but it was worth it because it was my senior trip.”
Williamson is no stranger to the post season in prep athletics. She was a four-year athlete in the Watauga volleyball program that has built a Northwestern Conference dynasty of five straight league championships. Watauga had also won 65 straight conference matches during that streak dating back to 2015.
Williamson is part of a group of seniors who played on the 2020 edition. The Pioneers, who welcomed former coach Kim Pryor back to the program after it was led by coach Kris Hagaman, had to replace six graduated seniors from the previous year.
Watauga mixed its seniors with several outstanding underclassmen to win another NWC title with a league mark of 12-0. She said the senior class felt the expectations left from previous teams, but pushed their way through to the top.
Williamson did her share by setting and playing on the back line. She also was counted on to be an accurate server for the Pioneers this season.
“When I came to Watauga I was a defensive specialist,” Williamson said. “Then we were in need of a setter and I turned around and played in freshman year on JV. Ever since then I’ve kind of been an all-around player.”
Things did not go as well for the Watauga basketball, which endured the loss of several seniors from the previous year. Williamson, who averaged 2.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, was the off-guard for the Pioneers this past season as the Pioneers had to make a quick transition to basketball from volleyball.
“Basketball wasn’t as successful as volleyball this year, but it was still a good year,” Williamson said. “We really grew a lot as a team.”
Williamson said there was no time to rest from the volleyball season.
“We had a game the week of the end of volleyball,” she said. “Especially this year, the transition was crazy.”