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

Monroe's Iseah Canizales attempts a reception over Snohomish's Joshua Vandergriend Friday night at Monroe High School on October 22, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Monroe tops Snohomish in OT for share of Wesco 3A South title

The Bearcats stop a 2-point attempt in OT and earn a share of the league crown with a wild 42-40 win.

The Herald's prep football roundup. (Photo by Elaine Thompson)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Oct. 22

Prep football roundup for Friday, Oct. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

White line on Green grass sport field for sport concept
Prep results for Saturday, Oct. 23

Prep results for Saturday, Oct. 23: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacob Eason (9) in action during an NFL preseason football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021 in Minneapolis. Indianapolis won 12-10. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Lake Stevens alum Eason ready for fresh start with Seahawks

The young QB, who was cut by the Colts this past week, said he’s eager for an opportunity to ‘grow’ in Seattle.

BYU running back Tyler Allgeier, top center, reaches for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. BYU won 21-19. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
In first game with new coach, Washington State loses to BYU

A late rally comes up short at the Cougars fall 21-19 in Pullman.

Washington running back Cameron Davis (22) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Arizona on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Chris Coduto)
Huskies rally, extend Arizona’s losing streak to 19 with win

Trailing 16-7 in the fourth quarter, Dylan Morris throws two TDs as UW comes back for a 21-16 win.

Stanwood's Baylor Hezel, left to right, Olivia Rueckert and Grace Henken celebrate a point against Arlington Thursday night at Stanwood High School on October 21, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Stanwood defeats rival Arlington in 5-set volleyball thriller

The Spartans win the back-and-forth match 3-2 and take the inside track on the Wesco 3A/2A league title.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Swetlikoff posts hat trick, Silvertips down Winterhawks

Everett wins 5-2 on the road in Portland and improves to 5-0 to open the season.

Lake Stevens' Jayden Limar races for additional yardage after a reception with O'Dea's Trey Stokes trailing Friday at Memorial Stadium in Seattle on September 17, 2021. The Vikings defeated the Irish, 20-3. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
A look at this week’s top local high school football matchups

The key Lake Stevens-Kamiak and Snohomish-Monroe league matchups highlight the Week 8 action.

Most Read