ST. GEORGE – Ashley Beckstrand made what has long been expected official today. She will be playing for the Brigham Young University Cougars next year.
“I listed a goal to play for BYU when I was 12-years old,” she said. “This is not only a realization of that goal, but also of a dream.”
Beckstrand was introduced by her coach, Ron Denos, who said he has loved coaching her from day one.
“Ashley is not only the greatest talent I have coached,” said Denos. “She is also one of the greatest people I have had the opportunity to coach.”
Beckstrand had more than 40 different schools expressing interest in her.
“It has always been BYU,” said Ashley’s father, Jared Beckstrand. “She went to their camp in sixth grade. Right away they moved her up to the varsity level. They offered her a scholarship when she was in eighth grade.”
At the gathering for her signing at Desert Hills High School, Ashley first talked about the recruiting process.
“My AAU coach, Gary Tomlinson, moved me up at a young age to play on his varsity squad. So as a 12-13-year old I was given the opportunity to play against some of the most talented players from all over the country.
Ashley then spoke of the influences in her career. “My brother Jaden inspired my love of basketball and also the work ethic I have. He believed in me more than I ever did. We made the goal together to play for BYU. He did not get the opportunity so I am going to take my talents there and play for the both of us.”
Ashley also thanked her parents, coaches, teammates and friends. “I also want to thank my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ,” said Ashley. “They have been with me at times when I have felt completely alone. My Savior has always been by my side.”
Beckstrand was a freshman point guard when Desert Hills won the state championship in 2013-2014. She has led the team in scoring and has made the all-region team for the past two years.
“BYU is a perfect fit,” said Jared Beckstrand. “It is our church school. Her brother is there. And it is only a 3 ½ hour drive for us go to watch her play.”
Beckstrand will also be reunited with former teammate Haley Bodnar, who is now married and plays with her married name, Haley Rydalch. The duo played key roles in that 2014 state championship.
OTHER LOCAL ATHLETES
Several other local athletes have also signed national letters of intent during this week-long early signing period. Dixie High’s Aspen Welch will join Beckstrand at BYU in gymnastics. Hurricane’s Alec Flemetakis (baseball) and Pine View’s Noah Schone (golf) both signed letters of intent to play at Dixie State. Flemetakis pitched for Hurricane last year, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.45 ERA. Schone will first complete an LDS mission. He placed in the top three in the state in golf in 3A the past two seasons. Pine View’s Josie Bushar will attend SUU and compete in cross country. Hurricane’s Jaiden Smith will play softball at Snow College. Smith batted .430 with 11 doubles and 24 RBIs for the Tigers last year.
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