How do you define passion? Is passion a love discovered over time, or is it pre-destined? Despite your personal opinion on the matter, one thing is forever assured. Once a person identifies their true passion, the level of commitment they will dedicate to it is profound.
For Ashley Beckstrand, basketball has been her passion from the beginning. At the early age of two years old, she was already dribbling a ball and already becoming familiar with a game that would significantly impact her life.
Being the only girl on her co-ed basketball team at the age of five, Ashley learned early on what it took to surpass expectations. Race to the present stage in her life, and you will find an athlete who not only continues to exceed expectation but is also fulfilling her dreams in the process.
“It had always been one of my goals to start on Varsity as a freshman,” Ashley explains. “I felt if I worked hard enough, I could do it. So when it happened, it was an amazing feeling! I kept asking myself if it was even real.” How did Ashley achieve such a goal? She stayed committed to her plan of working hard and in the course of it all, developed a schedule that only further illustrates her love for the game.
The agenda begins before sunrise and is strictly followed until after sundown. “I wake up about 5:50 AM each morning and go with my dad to the church building to shoot for an hour before school. Once I am back home from school, I go into our workout room downstairs and work on conditioning, acceleration, and weight lifting for another hour. Then depending on how I am feeling after that workout, I may get in a 1-3 mile run.”
However, the impressive routine doesn’t end there. Ashley strives to perform admirably in every aspect of her life, not only athletics. “After I eat dinner, I get straight to my homework to get that done.” She continues with a smile, “So it’s workout, school, workout, dinner, homework, and repeat.”
Also considering accomplished piano playing, singing with an older brother Jacob, and completing genealogy/family history work, Ashley is quite talented and easily considered a well-rounded individual.
Aside from the goal of playing Varsity basketball as a freshman, Ashley achieved another dream early on in her high school career winning a state title. “That was an amazing feeling. When we finally got on the court at SUU, I couldn’t help but think to myself, ‘This is what all the training and hard work was for – to get to this moment.’”
“So for me, the dream doesn’t stop there. I would love to play for the LA Sparks, and Jaden is right… Why not me?”
Ashley gave us additional details regarding the emotions that came with the victory. “Then, when the game was just about over with 10 seconds left, I just dropped to my knees and cried because I was so happy! It was a dream come true.”
Jared Beckstrand, Ashley’s father, shared what the experience was like for him, watching his daughter have an impact. “It was great to watch her play, and it was great that she was able to contribute to the team, scoring 10 points in the championship game. She was able to play and make a difference.”
Aside from the strategies and technique of the game, Ashley has come to learn much more. She says, “I’ve learned so much playing basketball, even beyond the sport. You get to learn how to deal and work with different personalities. Every single person on the team has a different thing to add, and when you can learn to play a team sport, and be successful at it with a diverse group, it helps a lot.”
Angey Beckstrand explains what she admires most about her daughter. “She genuinely wants to see others succeed, and she tries to elevate others as much as she can. She is always looking out for her teammates, and is happy and encouraging to them, telling them they did a good job, and I think those that are paying attention to her realize that about her.”
Other than her parents, Ashley heavily values the support of her older brother Jaden. Jaden played basketball during high school, and unfortunately, lost the State Championship game his senior year. Today, he utilizes the experience he gained playing competitively in his adolescence, and is one of Ashley’s greatest coaches.
At the time his younger sister won state, Jaden was away on an LDS mission; however, Ashley played with him in mind. She says, “My older brother Jaden was not there, and he is my biggest mentor, basically my hero. He has helped me so much with all of my training, always motivating and believing in me. I felt like I kind of won that for him. I love him so much.”
Having accomplished the goals of playing Varsity as a freshman and already having won a state title, you might ask, “What’s next for Ashley Beckstrand?” Recently, Ashley has verbally committed to play basketball for the college she has grown up loving, Brigham Young University. “It will be amazing to play for BYU because Jaden will be there too. The fact that he will be there watching me play and pursuing my dream, since he has been the one that has pushed me to be the person I’ve always strived to become, will be an awesome experience.”
About his younger sister, Jaden says, “Ever since she was little she loved to compete in whatever she did. She has a special fire to want to be the best she can be and not compare herself to others. I know that she holds herself to a very high standard, and I admire her for that.” Recounting Jaden’s advice, Ashley says, “He would always say to me, ‘Why not you, Ash? Why couldn’t it be you playing in the WNBA?’ So for me, the dream doesn’t stop there. I would love to play for the LA Sparks, and Jaden is right…Why not me?” • HSSI