Edgerton's Oren goes out in style
Ashlyn Oren has had a busy but productive week.
Wednesday, the Edgerton High senior signed a national letter of intent to compete in track and field at Division I Murray State.
Today, the hard-hitting Oren is honored as The Gazette's area player of the year in volleyball, an award now in its fourth year.
Oren put up some staggering numbers in helping lead the Crimson Tide to a runner-up finish in the Rock Valley Conference. She made her last season of competitive volleyball a memorable one with 537 kills, 660 digs and 73 aces.
Edgerton first-year coach Sharon Fox said Oren was simply a special player.
“Athletes like Ashlyn don't come around very often,” Fox said. “Not only was she an exceptional volleyball player, but just a very gifted athlete. The coaches in our conference all recognized that.
“She was a threat at all times on the court because of her all-around skills. We were a much different team without her on the court.”
Oren was the Rock Valley's player of the year this season and a two-time first-team all-conference selection.
One of the state's top sprinters and jumpers, Oren used her athleticism to terrorize opponents.
Despite being only 5-foot-7, Oren's vertical leap and strong right arm made her a punishing attacker.
“Oren was definitely a force outside,” Craig coach Blake Budrow said. “She seemed to be able to hit the ball wherever she wanted to. You had to know where she was at all times.”
Oren came into the season with high hopes for the Crimson Tide. Despite losing 2016 Player of the Year Kellan Schmidt to graduation, Oren felt like the team had a chance to win conference and possibly make a run at a state bid.
“I was really motivated knowing it was my senior year,” Oren said. “And knowing that me and my cousin, Bethany, had the most experience coming back, I really concentrated on trying to be a more of a vocal leader.
“We had a good season, I feel, but not a great one. It didn't work out as far as winning the conference, but this was the most fun I've had playing. Sharon and Meggie (Schmidt) made it fun while also pushing us to do our best. That's what I'm going to miss most about volleyball.”
Back in the summer, Oren wasn't sure what sport she wanted to play in college, or if she wanted to try and play both volleyball and run track.
Oren finished second in the Division 2 state meet last spring in the long jump, was third in the 100 and was on the Crimson Tide's record-setting 400-meter relay team that broke the D2 state record in the preliminaries and finished second in the finals.
She eventually decided on track because Murray State is a Division I program, and she felt her chances of having success at the collegiate level were better in track and field than volleyball.
“This year made me realize how much I loved playing volleyball,” Oren said. “I know I'm going to miss it, especially being with my teammates.”
Ashlyn Oren may miss volleyball, but she certainly went out in style.
THE GAZETTE'S AREA VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2017--Ashlyn Oren, Edgerton
2016--Kellan Schmidt, Edgerton
2015--Rachel Butterfield, Milton
2014--Katie Jones, Delavan-Darien