Jenna Legault of the Bothell High School Cougars. Photo courtesy of Jenna Legault

Jenna Legault of the Bothell High School Cougars. Photo courtesy of Jenna Legault

Bothell High School senior named Gatorade Washington Volleyball Player of the Year

Jenna Legault led the Cougars to their first volleyball state championship.

Bothell High School’s Jenna Legault was recently named the 2021-2022 Gatorade Washington Volleyball Player of the Year. The Bothell native began playing volleyball when she was 11 years old, and this past school year, she led the Cougars in winning their first 4A volleyball state championship.

“My mom actually forced me into my first volleyball camp, and she made me go for about the first two years, and when I actually got on the team, I actually started loving the team,” Legault said.

Legault’s favorite thing about playing volleyball is the challenge, specifically how fast paced and strategic the sport is in comparison to softball, another sport she has participated in. She’s been playing for the varsity team at BHS since her freshman year, and she is currently the captain of the team. Her position is outside hitter.

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

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

Gatorade’s State Player of the Year program acknowledges athletic excellence, high levels of academic achievement, and exemplary character on and off the court, according to the company. Gatorade nominates one player in each state annually for select sports, including volleyball.

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

Gatorade has already selected their National Volleyball Player of the Year, which went to Averi Carlson from Texas. Those selected for Gatorade’s National Player of the Year will have a $1,000 grant awarded on their behalf to an organization that assists young athletes with realizing the benefits of sports.

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

“It’s only for volleyball. They’re a nonprofit and they’re just amazing and they’ve made me into the player and person I am today,” Legault said.

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

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

Since then, she has continued to volunteer coach about 30 players in the program for grades 4-6 on Sundays.

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

Not only is Legault an all-star athlete and a volunteer volleyball coach, but she also holds a 3.98 GPA. 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 good in the classroom. I always had a passion for every class I was in,” Legault said.

After high school, she will play 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 offers from all different types of schools around the board — Brown University, Virginia Tech, the University of Arizona — having this wide spread of schools 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 a sophomore year experience, when she skipped school with a friend to visit Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company. She brought up how she spoke with female engineers and told herself, “I’m going to go for that!”

As for her long-term plans, she wishes to continue coaching and if the opportunity arises, she would like to go on to play internationally or professionally.

“I think it’d be really cool to play internationally, and I definitely want to coach. Coaching is so natural and just so rewarding,” she said. “Volleyball is not going to be part of my life forever. I know at some point there’s going to be an end, and if it wants to continue, I’m going to keep playing.”

In terms of advice Jenna Legault has for young players:

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

To check out 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. Courtesy of Jenna Legault.

Jenna Legault headshot for Bothell High School Cougars. Courtesy of Jenna Legault.

Jenna Legault serves during a game. Courtesy of Jenna Legault.

Jenna Legault serves during a game. Courtesy of Jenna Legault.

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