Bothell High School Senior Named Gatorade Washington Volleyball Player of the Year

Jenna Legault of Bothell High School was recently named the 2021-2022 Gatorade Washington Volleyball Player of the Year. The Bothell native started playing volleyball when she was 11 years old, and this past school year she led the Cougars to win their first 4A Volleyball Championship.

“My mom actually forced me into my first volleyball camp, and she let me go for the first two years, and then when I really got into the team, I really started to love the team,” Legault said.

Legault’s favorite thing about volleyball is the challenge, especially how fast and strategic the sport is compared to softball, another sport she has competed in. She has played for the BHS varsity team since her freshman year and she is currently the team captain. Her position is outside hitter.

Shortly after leading the BHS girls’ volleyball team to a state championship win last November, her Gatorade nomination was announced.

“It feels pretty cool because I ended up winning 4A State Player of the Year, so to be billed as Gatorade and knowing all my hard work has just paid off and it was recognized – it felt super good,” said Legault .

According to the company, Gatorade’s State Player of the Year program recognizes athletic excellence, high academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field. Gatorade annually nominates one player in each state for certain sports, including volleyball.

“I only found out this year — a little bit about Gatorade’s program and what they’re doing for the girls, so I was really excited to just be a nominee,” Legault said.

Gatorade has already selected their National Volleyball Player of the Year, which went to Avori Carlson of Texas. Those selected for Gatorade’s National Player of the Year will be awarded a $1,000 grant on their behalf to an organization that helps young athletes realize the benefits of sport.

Had Legault been selected, she would have chosen to support her club team, Sudden Impact.

“It’s just for volleyball. They’re a non-profit organization and they’re just amazing and they’ve made me the player and the person I am today,” Legault said.

In the summer of 2021, Legault began volunteer coaching for Sudden Impact.

“I got a bit involved when I got a text from one of the club managers,” she said. “My coach now, Tom Murphy, said, ‘Hey, I need some coaches for high school camps. Can you come and coach?’”

Since then, she has continued to voluntarily coach approximately 30 players in the Sunday Classes 4-6 program.

“I really enjoy helping with the younger kids because they have so much energy and are so excited,” she said. “The elementary level is just so much fun because their skills aren’t developed yet.”

Not only is Legault an all-star athlete and volunteer volleyball coach, but she also has a GPA of 3.98. She said balancing schoolwork and sports has always come naturally, and she focuses on creating positive relationships with her peers and teachers.

“I always drive to do well in class. I’ve always had a passion for every class I was in,” Legault said.

After high school, she plays volleyball for California State University, Fresno, while pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.

“It was just the perfect balance for me,” she said. “Having multiple offerings from all different types of schools across the board – Brown University, Virginia Tech, the University of Arizona – with this wide spread of schools has really helped me pick and choose my options. [California State University, Fresno] checked every box perfectly for me.”

Legault’s desire to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering stems from an experience in sophomore year, when she skipped school with a friend from school to visit Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company. She shared how she spoke to female engineers and said to herself, “That’s what I’m going for!”

As for her long-term plans, she wants to continue coaching and if the opportunity presents itself, she would like to play internationally or professionally.

“I think it would be really cool to play internationally, and I definitely want to coach. Coaching is so natural and just so rewarding,” she said. “Volleyball won’t be a part of my life forever. I know it will end at some point, and if it wants to continue, I’ll keep playing.”

As for advice, Jenna Legault has for young players:

“You have to fail to succeed and failure is how you learn. It’s okay to make mistakes and you have to be patient with the game because you can’t expect to compete in the sport and be good,” she said. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I’ve lived by that since I was about 15, and I think it was the quote that kept me going.”

To view Jenna Legault’s volleyball skills, visit https://www.hudl.com/profile/12303905/Jenna-Legault

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Jenna Legault headshot for Bothell High School Cougars. Thanks to Jenna Legault.

Jenna Legault serves during a game.  Thanks to Jenna Legault.

Jenna Legault serves during a game. Thanks to Jenna Legault.


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