Sports Spotlight: Rose’s Wilford goes from hardly any experience to division one athlete through high school

Rose volleyball senior has earn division one spot at Bowling Green State
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - J.H. Rose volleyball is having an incredible season. In the middle of it all is senior Helen Wilford. An incredible story of growth and determination makes her this week’s Pepsi Sports Spotlight.

“My 8th grade year one of my friends just invited me to come to an open gym. Then I kind of realized that I really liked it,” says J.H. Rose senior Helen Wilford, “It just took off from there.”

J.H. Rose senior Helen Wilford tried out for volleyball her freshman year with almost no experience.

“I wasn’t very good, I didn’t know a whole lot,” says Helen, “I didn’t understand the terminology, the rotation.”

The coaches decided to keep her on junior varsity and see what happens.

“Teaching her from scratch,” says J.H. Rose head coach Kelley Krainiak

What happened is Helen is one of those kids who figures out how.

“I watched a lot of college volleyball to try to understand what I needed to do,” Helen says, “I asked a lot of questions at practice. Some of them probably sounded ridiculous.”

“Developed her speed, her athleticism, really her everything,” says Krainiak, “It’s amazing what hard work, and some height, can really do.”

Wilford is six foot two.

“All my pictures, like in preschool, I am the tallest one,” says Helen.

But even with height, learning to be the middle at the net takes tons of work.

“Definitely blocking,” says Wilford, “It took a lot for me to get the timing.”

“It takes so much discipline and so much training,” says Krainiak.

Helen made varsity sophomore year and has been in the middle since.

“It takes a lot of trust. Especially in the middle you tend to get in peoples way,” says Helen, “So I have kind of learned to back off when my teammates have my back.”

“She’s the best,” says Krainiak, “She’s the best teammate, she’s going to be the last one to leave. Make sure everything is cleaned up. She’s going to be the first to celebrate other people. She is great.“

Her Rose team has improved together like Wilford. The Rampants are the 5th ranked team overall in the state right now

“I have been playing with all these girls all three years,” says Wilford, “Just gotten so used to working together. We know how each play, we know our strengths.”

“Loving it, and knowing how to apply it all, they are just going all out their senior year,” says Krainiak.

And all of Helen’s growth on the court has her bound for division one volleyball after this season.

“I’m currently committed to play for Bowling Green State University,” says Wilford, “This past year and this upcoming season I am playing at Triangle up in Raleigh. That’s been a huge part of exposure, getting coaches to see me, and this past season is when I committed.”

If you would like to see your athlete featured in our Sports Spotlight please let us know about them by email at spotlight@witn.com .

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