Ashton Long catches a pass and begins to turn and pass the ball off again during a game on Feb. 10. (Sydney Davis)
Ashton Long catches a pass and begins to turn and pass the ball off again during a game on Feb. 10.

Sydney Davis

Player 10 Spotlights

Sharing the stories of student athletes who passionately represent the number 10

February 17, 2023

As it is Liberty’s 10th anniversary of opening its doors, student athletics being recognized is a must. Student spotlights give them the opportunity to share their story. Continuing now onto the sport they play and the number they wear.

Representing number 10 is basketball player Ashton Long, volleyball player Kylee Velcheck and softball player Brianna Rowland.


Sydney Davis

Ashton Long plays defense against the Knights, blocking the player from passing the ball off to another player.

On the Court, a Home Away From Home

Varsity basketball player, number 10 reminisces about playing

Senior Ashton Long has been playing basketball since he was in kindergarten. “This is actually my second year on varsity because I didn’t play last year.” 

Long successfully bounds upward to sink the shot in a game facing the Francis Howell North Knights on Dec. 2, 2022. (Sydney Davis)

Long loves his teammates, adding that it’s a home away from home.

“To be able to just go out there and play and be able to have this opportunity, especially since I didn’t play last year, I’ve been able to enjoy it,” he continued. 

Though the coaches picked Long to represent number 10 on the court, he doesn’t mind it since his favorite number is 1. 

Long believes playing is kind of like a stress reliever. He went on to say, “Whenever you step on the court, everything kind of goes away, and it’s just you and those guys with you on the floor.”

Long said that when you are playing basketball, you are just worried about winning the game. You are not worried about anything else.

We are all going toward one common goal, and that is what I look forward to everyday,” he added.

In regards to playing after high school, Long said, “I’m just going to let everything play itself out and see what happens. What happens, happens.”


Alix Queen

Brianna Rowland winds up and pitches the ball to the plate.

Inspired 9 to 10

Softball player ignites her love for the sport, sparked by her older sister

Junior Brianna Rowland was inspired by her older sister to play softball.

While her older sister played number seven, she found a way to make her own impact. “I’m originally number nine but for high school I play 10 because we don’t have a nine,” Rowland said.

I loved watching her when I was growing up, and I just wanted to do it too.”

— Brianna Rowland

Though when she was younger, she played number 10, “It’s kind of like my second favorite number.”

Her love for the sport blossomed from her sister playing softball as she loved watching her when she was growing up. She continued, “I just wanted to do it too.”

Rowland loves the team and goes on to say, “We have played together since we were in 6th grade on a feeder team. We’re all just really close and we work really well together.”

She added that by playing, everything just kind of goes away when she is out on the field. Rowland said, “All the stress you’ve had, and just being able to hang out with your friends and doing the things you love, it’s amazing.”

Rowland also likes that in high school, you are playing with your friends. “It’s just getting that connection with them and knowing you all have the same interest, it’s way better.”

Outside of Liberty’s team, she plays for a travel team where she gets the opportunity to go to different states and play in a lot of tournaments. Rowland stated, “You have to work for it and you have to make sure you know what you’re doing.”


Sydney Davis

Junior Kylee Velcheck bumps the ball to save the point from going to the opposing team.

Mission: Keeping 10

JV volleyball player impelled to carrying out her sister’s legacy as player number 10

Junior Kylee Velcheck is following in her sister’s footsteps by playing jersey number 10. 

I picked the number 10 because of my sister, she played number 10, and she graduated last year. It was always her number,” she said. 

Velcheck’s older sister inspired her to play volleyball. “I’m kind of following in her footsteps,” she continued. 

Velcheck and her sister are still close despite her graduating. “We were closer before she went to college, so now she’ll come home for the summer, and we’ll get close again. It’s kind of an off and on switch. When she leaves, it turns off a little,” she added.

I picked the number 10 because of my sister, she played number 10,”

— Kylee Velcheck

Velcheck believes she started playing sometime around 4th grade. She plays both at school and on a club volleyball team. Club season is during the winter time, while the school’s season is during fall. 

“The coaches are really great. It’s a good atmosphere, everyone kind of knows everyone,” she said.

“With high school, you’re practicing every day after school, so I feel like you build relationships really quickly with the people. You see them a lot, and on the volleyball court,” Velcheck said. 

She mentioned she has gained a lot of experiences, lessons, and visited various places because of playing volleyball. “You get to stay in hotels with people, you’re not playing all day so sometimes you go out and do fun stuff, team bonding. It’s really fun,” Velcheck expressed.

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