Blythewood churns out D1 commits

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood Bengals have always been well represented in the ranks of major collegiate athletics, and two more Bengals are headed off to Division I volleyball programs. Bengal volleyball standouts Gabby Waden and Isabella “Bella” Bell are both committed to fill in the ranks of the Southeastern Conference.

“There are no words to describe how extremely blessed and happy I am to attend such a great program. When I think about it literally makes me cry tears of joy,” Bell said.

“It’s truly a blessing to be where I am today,” Waden said.

Waden (2), a senior, is heading for a strong finish to her Blythewood career. | Photos: GoFlashWin

Waden, a senior middle blocker, has committed to head to Starkville to play for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. She has racked up a laundry list of awards and adulations while at Blythewood, including being named the WLTX player of the week and earning multiple All-Star nominations.

“The people of Starkville are so nice and they love their sports teams, win or lose. I was very interested in Kansas and Missouri,” Waden said.  “They both have great programs, outstanding coaching staff and great players. But, both of them just didn’t give me the same feel as Mississippi did.”

“The southern vibes is what I liked the best. I am so blessed to be a part of a SEC Division I program. The conference as a whole is very challenging and I love being challenged. I can’t wait to play other talented girls across the country and compete.”

Bell, a junior middle blocker, could be doing battle against Waden on the court when she joins the Kentucky Wildcats. She is well above the national average in total blocks, aces, assists and hit percentage.

Bell (14) is a junior at Blythewood.

According to Bell she considered a who’s a who of schools including Auburn, West Virginia and the University of North Carolina, before choosing the number the five ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

“When I committed I told everybody bye, but I was planning on visiting a few more colleges that recently had gotten interested in me, but I did not want to visit any more colleges,” Bell said.  “I knew that UK was the one.”

“So, I turned around and told Coach Skinner (Craig Skinner) I want to be a Wildcat and all the girls stopped practice and came and gave me hugs and high fives and said welcome to the family.”