It's Happening: Tough Decisions and Perseverance; Roll Tribe!

By Julie Perine on May 09, 2017 from It’s Happening via

Being a member of the BHS Tribe – as well as a successful adult in the making – is certainly about teamwork and a desire to excel. But it’s also about learning to make decisions one can live by. Several members of the BHS Tennis Team found themselves in that dilemma this past weekend. According to Coach Dan Oliveto, parents and others in attendance, our young people definitely rolled through that challenge.
On Saturday morning, these Indian athletes were faced with a tough decision: Forfeit their matches in Region II action, delayed and relocated due to weather, so they could get ready for and attend that evening’s BHS prom or stay in Morgantown and play their matches. Oliveto said he let his athletes make that decision for themselves.
Among others, Taylor Abraham – who had already qualified for states in line one singles – chose not to miss her senior prom nor the excitement of the day with regard to getting ready, taking pictures, etc. Her partner, senior Anna Wilfong, concurred with the decision. The duo had been seeded second in the regional action and certainly had a good chance of advancing.
Olivia Rush – who had also already qualified in singles for state tourney play – decided, along with her doubles partner Eleanor Noone – to stay in Morgantown and stick it out. The duo wound up winning the regional title and now advance to states next week in Charleston.
Grant Duvall and Ben Holbert, as well as Brent Sinsel and Antonio Spatafore, engaged in regional doubles action, each team winning one match and thereafter deciding not to disappoint their respective prom dates. After their respective initial victories, all four athletes forfeited and returned to Bridgeport to slip into their tuxedos and escort their dates to prom.
Then there were Ashton Miller and Caroline Furby – who were seeded first in line three doubles. This pair of BHS juniors decided to go the distance. The outcome wasn’t as they hoped. They didn’t qualify for states. After three hard-played matches – a quarterfinal tie-breaking win over Liberty, a semifinal win over Lincoln and ultimately a loss to Williamstown in the championship – the girls had just enough time to slip into their prom gowns and make the event. Their dedicated dates supported them in their matches – and their decisions. They were late and they had their very own photo session in Morgantown, but it worked out.
Miller said it was all stressful, but she and Furby knew they had a shot at states.
“Even though we didn’t get the result we wanted, I’m still happy with our decision,” she  said. “(The final) was a really tough loss, but I’m extremely proud considering that we went 15-1 regular season and with our performance in our semifinal (an 8-2 victory over the Lady Cougars).”
As Michelle Duvall said, there’s a lot to be said about the situation.
“Our kids had to make some difficult decisions. Some never got to compete as a result of how crazy the scheduling for regionals was and these kids did not want to miss out on a rite of passage: their prom. Some stayed and competed and (sacrificed) some time from prom,” said the mother of BHS team member Grant Duvall. “And in the end, I think we have to remember that these are high school kids. The class, integrity and team support that I saw (Saturday) was definitely something to be proud of.”
Diana Noone, mother of Eleanor Noone, expressed appreciation for the coaches’ leadership and support – and for letting the kids make decisions. She said the scene was truly a Tribe atmosphere. Those staying wished their teammates who chose to forfeit a good time at prom. Those leaving expressed their best wishes to those competing.
Miller’s mom Melissa McCall Miller said her daughter will always remember the year she went to prom sweaty. I saw her photos. She looked gorgeous. She was glowing from the inside out because you see, even though she and her teammate lost their match, she had persevered and had victory.
About a year and a half ago – on Aug. 25, 2015 - Miller was badly injured in a BHS soccer game. She collided with the Liberty High School goalie, flipping over and landing on her head. Although she got up and walked after the collision, she was later transported by ambulance to United Hospital Center, where she was diagnosed with a concussion and spinal injury. She was thereafter transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where she was diagnosed with C1 and C2 subluxation and admitted to PICU. Though surgery was initially the plan, the athlete’s vertebrae realigned after about 12 hours. She spent four days at Ruby and wore a neck brace for five weeks, thereafter completing a five-week physical therapy regimen and released from medical care. She said it wasn’t easy being on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. But she enthusiastically cheered on her teammates and looked forward.
She told me in November of 2015: “I knew that (God’s) plan for me is greater than what I could ever imagine and that he was going to heal me and use me in a way that I didn’t know at the time. I had this peace over me that was calming – and made me not worry.”
In addition to a successful tennis season, Miller is also simultaneously running track. Thursday, she'll be participating in the regional track meet, running the 4x200, shuttles, 100 high and long jumps. She participated in the latter event during the Harrison County meet, her first since she was a freshman. She placed second and is hoping to place at regionals and states in that event and others. 
There’s one more facet of this whole story very worthy of mention. At sectionals, BHS junior Rachel Lamm filled in for Furby, playing doubles with Miller and grasping the sectional title. She, too, is an important piece of the series of games which led to the regional qualifier.
I agree with Eleanor Noone: “Roll Tribe! We are all proud to be Indians!”
(Read more about Miller’s 2015 injury and recovery HERE.)
Julie Perine can be reached at 304-848-7200, ext. 2 or More "It's Happening" HERE

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