Jackson’s Paige Wilson digs a ball at the Timberwolves’ team practice on Oct. 24 at Jackson High School in Mill Creek. (Katie Webber / The Herald)

Jackson’s Paige Wilson digs a ball at the Timberwolves’ team practice on Oct. 24 at Jackson High School in Mill Creek. (Katie Webber / The Herald)

Q&A with Jackson volleyball player Paige Wilson

The Timberwolves’ senior loves working with kids with special needs at Camp Prov in the summer.

From a young age, Paige Wilson seemed destined to wear a Jackson High School volleyball uniform.

Now a senior, Wilson started playing when she was 7 years old, and since her neighbor was Ashley Allen, then the Timberwolves’ head coach, she had the opportunity to serve as the team’s water girl.

Wilson’s older sister, Casey, also played for Jackson, graduating in 2016.

Jackson has enjoyed success in Wilson’s four years, reaching the Class 4A state tournament in 2017 and finishing each season in the top half of Wesco 4A.

As one of three seniors on a youth-laden roster, Wilson, is leading the Timberwolves in their quest for a No. 2 seed out of Wesco 4A behind Lake Stevens and a first-round bye in the 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament, which begins Saturday.

“We had a rough start to the beginning of the season (consecutive five-set losses to Glacier Peak and Mount Vernon on Sept. 24 and 26), but we have really pushed in practice to get better in the second half of the season. Our biggest adjustment has been in our mental game,” Wilson said. “Our skills have always been there, it was just a matter of not getting frustrated and getting down on ourselves. We believe that we can win.”

Wilson, who has verbally committed to NCAA Division III Pomona-Pitzer in California, has been at the center of the Timberwolves’ resurgence, seeking to vary the timing and power on her swings to befuddle opposing blockers.

“Paige has really developed her ability to swing her hands and fool the blockers,” Jackson coach Mindy Staudinger said. “She has also developed a hidden roll shot that can be very deceptive. She is also a strong blocker, making right sides really work on shots to get around her.”

Staudinger referenced an Oct. 22 match at second-place Mount Vernon, when she called a timeout with the Timberwolves up 2-1 in the fourth set.

“I said that someone needed to step up and lead,” Staudinger said. “Paige did, swinging for several points to finish the fourth set, then serving us from seven points to 15 in the last set, ending the match.”

The Herald spoke with Wilson about fooling opposing blockers, her summer job that’s not really a job, and “Sergeant Mike.”

What does it take to win five-set matches, especially in the postseason? Is it more about talent and ability or desire and toughness?

I definitely think it’s more about desire and toughness. You have to believe that even if you’ve lost games, you can still win that final game. It takes good strength and conditioning. I feel like our team has the capability to keep going where other teams might run out of endurance. We have a strength and conditioning coach, “Sergeant Mike” (retired NATO special forces officer Mike Lawson) who works with our program twice per week (doing) a lot of strength and agility drills.

What makes you a tough hitter to block?

I think I’ve been changing my shots up a lot, and I really try to not hit where I’m looking. I’ve been working on a roll shot for a long time. I pretend I’m going up to take a big swing, and I hit the ball low on my palm, and it’s a soft shot that goes right over the block and lands in the middle of the court.

Outside of volleyball, what are you passionate about?

I like to get really involved in my school. I’m in five clubs, and all my friends and I always go to all the football games. I have a summer job, where I work at Camp Prov, a summer camp (at Everett’s Forest Park) for kids with special needs. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. I love working with kids and working in that field. The kids can be anywhere from 18 months to 11 years old.

What might you be interested in studying in college or pursuing as a career?

I want to go into neuroscience with a minor in computer science. I want to do brain research and work with AI to study Alzheimer’s.

Describe the feeling of getting a perfect swing on a ball and watching it slam to the floor on the other side of the net.

Honestly, the best way to describe it is that it’s very satisfying. It’s kind of a release. I always go over to my setter and thank her for setting a perfect ball, because so many things go into it. It gets me excited and almost a little aggressive. I just want to get that next ball and keep getting set. But I like blocking and digging almost better than hitting. When someone goes up and thinks they’re going to get this massive kill, and you can get it blocked or get the ball up, that’s something you don’t always get. It can be more exciting than getting a good kill.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Kamiak’s Koll Pehlivanian’s charge is halted by Skyline’s Vishnu Varadhan Saturday afternoon at Goddard Stadium in Everett, Washington on May 21, 2022. The Knights lost 5-2. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Skyline adds on late to oust Kamiak boys soccer from state

The Knights kept it close for the first 60 minutes of a season-ending loss in the state quarterfinals.

White line on Green grass sport field for sport concept
Prep results for Saturday, May 21

Prep results for Saturday, May 21 (Note for coaches/Scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Lake Washington rallies to eliminate Ed.-Woodway baseball from state

The Kangaroos pull ahead with 3 runs in the 6th and hand the Warriors a season-ending 3-1 loss in a 3A state regional.

Lynnwood baseball’s strong season comes to rough end at state

The district champion Royals suffer an 11-1 mercy-rule loss to Mt. Spokane in a 3A state regional.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox slug past Hillsboro, win 4th straight

Everett mashed seven extra-base hits, including three home runs, in a 9-4 win.

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, centert, celebrates his fifth inning home run with Enrique Hernandez during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Sturggling Mariners can’t hold on to early lead, fall to Boston

Seattle blows a five-run lead and loses for the 18th time in its past 24 games.

Edmonds-Woodway’s Gibby Marshall-Inman, left, and Jacob Gabler make up the Warriors pitching core. Photographed in Edmonds, Washington on May 19, 2022.(Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Golden arms: Edmonds-Woodway pitching duo is a lethal one-two punch

Senior aces Gibby Marshall-Inman and Jacob Gabler enter the state regionals having allowed just 7 earned runs over 102 innings.

Jackson’s Allie Thomsen delivers a pitch against Lake Stevens during a 4A matchup Friday, May 20, 2022, at the Phil Johnson Ballfields in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Jackson softball beats Lake Stevens to claim state berth

The Timberwolves qualify for state for the 6th straight time.

Lakeside’s Thiago Ausland stops a shot at goal with Edmonds-Woodway's Isaac Parreno charging with Lakeside’s Joshua Koch, left, and Uriel Lopez Friday afternoon in Seattle, Washington on May 20, 2022. The Warriors lost 4-0. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
E-W soccer’s state run comes to an end with loss to Lakeside

The Warriors finish the season 14-5-2 after a 4-0 defeat in the round of 16.

Most Read