By TOM WILLIAMS
You could be a dedicated Ocean City High School sports fan and you might not know about Ashley Jamison. Even though she is probably the most successful OCHS graduate competing in college today.
You likely know her father and uncles as successful football players. Her aunts were record-setting athletes. Her two brothers are multi-sport athletes. If you are old enough, you’ll remember her grandfather as a football All-American. And her mother was a stud defensive end on the Ocean City Hawks.
Recently, Ashley – a senior – was part of a quintet that scored a perfect 10.0 in gymnastics, producing a 281.635-280.660 victory for the Oregon Ducks over Baylor, the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
“My most memorable moment at Oregon,” Jamison said, “was definitely winning against Baylor. Baylor has always been our number one rival. They went undefeated for almost four years, so being the first team to beat them was amazing. To top things off it was during senior night, therefore the last time I competed at home. That feeling of celebrating with your team is indescribable and something I’ll never forget.”
In 2019, Jamison helped the Ducks to a 7-3 season and a National Championship runner-up finish. She competed in four events and five heats, including the compulsory toss, compulsory tumbling, synchronized toss, open toss and quad tumbling pass. Her efforts helped the Ducks to their first 10.0 of the season in the compulsory toss and registered another perfect-10 later in the season. She earned an NCATA national title in the open toss with a score of 9.875.
OCHS, like most area schools, has no gymnastics team so Jamison did not hear the cheers from Raider Nation.
“During my senior year of high school I did compete for Ocean City with just one other girl to try to jump-start a gymnastics team, which was really fun,” she said. “However, my main source of training and competition was with Bright Stars Gymnastics Academy. I started there when I was in second grade, and stayed until I graduated high school. I owe a big part of my success to their support and coaching. I would not have had the opportunity to compete for Oregon’s Acrobatics and Tumbling team if it weren’t for Bright Stars, so I am forever grateful.”
“Sports have been an essential part of my family’s life,” she explained. “Both my brothers, Tommy and Bradley, have had incredible success in sports throughout their lives. Then taking into account my extended family, there was a sporting event every weekend. My brothers and cousins involvement in sports has provided a circle of support that we give each other. I can’t imagine growing up without going to baseball or basketball games that family members were competing in. We all share in each other’s success and have fun along the way.”
Though the win over Baylor was exciting, this has been a challenging year for Oregon, like just about every college team in the country.
“COVID-19 has definitely had an impact on our team,” said Jamison, a biology major. “However, we have made the most of it. Throughout the season we have had to get COVID tested five times a week, since we are considered a high contact sport. Furthermore, we’ve had to adjust to wearing masks and not having fans at our home meets. Last year, when our season got cut short, it was devastating as all of our hard work seemed to go to nothing. So, regardless of all the protocols we’ve had to follow, having the opportunity to compete is something my whole team is grateful for. It’s easy to take things for granted, and after having last year’s season cut short, we have been soaking up every moment of this year.”
Another of Ashley’s family members – cousin Kylee Watson, who was an All-American basketball player at Mainland – is a freshman at Oregon.
“I was overjoyed when Kylee chose Oregon. Getting to have her here and share all that Oregon has to offer with family has been amazing. It’s refreshing to see her around campus and in Matthew Knight Arena and have that extra support system for each other while we’re so far from home.”
Oregon has a re-match with Baylor on Saturday in the regular season finale. It will be at Baylor in Waco, Texas, where the celebration for the men’s basketball team winning the National Championship likely continues.
“Currently we are training for our last regular season meet at Baylor,” Jamison said. “We will travel to Waco on Saturday. This will be our first meet this season that allows limited fan capacity, which is exciting. After our Baylor meet we have nationals, also being held in Waco. Nationals is the final tournament which will determine the overall national championship team.”
Fans in Waco should be aware that Saturday’s meet will be attended by an infamous trio once known as The Neall Girls – Leslie, Pam and Courtney – who earned their reputation as party animals in the last century. They are Ashley’s mother and two aunts.
So, now you know about Ashley Jamison, the most successful OCHS graduate who is currently competing at the highest levels of college sports. Even though you never saw her wearing the uniform of the Raiders.
In addition ….
Maddie Bradway (grad student-Sacred Heart) won the hammer throw by almost three meters and finished second in the discus at the Rider Invitational. Sacred Heart will be at the Mount St. Mary’s Invitational on Friday.
Speaking of The Mount, Danielle Donoghue (sophomore-Mount St. Mary’s) has scored three goals and added an assist in the team’s eight-game win streak. The Mount will be at Central Connecticut on Saturday and back home against Bryant on Wednesday..
And Delaney Lappin (freshman-Drexel) leads the Dragons in goals and assists after seven soccer games. She scored the game-winner against Delaware State and assisted on the game-winner against Towson. Lappin was named Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week and Drexel Athlete of the Week. Drexel will travel to play Delaware on Saturday afternoon.
One final thing.
The 22nd Annual Harry Vanderslice/Jack Davis Memorial Golf Tournament is coming up on May 26 at Greate Bay in Somers Point. The event raises scholarship money for members of the OCHS football team. To schedule a foursome, a twosome, reserve a seat at the dinner or become a sponsor, contact Valerie Davis at 609-602-6725 or vjjdavis@ comcast.net.