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Cartmell works her way into Shawnee St. volleyball program

When Ironton coach Beth Freeman and Shawnee State coach Dr. Steven Rader talk about Sarah Cartmell, they use four letter words.

The words? Hard work.

Freeman and Rader both praised the work ethic of Cartmell after she signed a letter-of-intent Tuesday to play volleyball for the Shawnee State Golden Bears.

"She always works hard. She's always working to improve herself," Freeman said. "We'll miss her leadership and ability for the sport, but hopefully the younger girls have learned from her work ethic."

Rader said not only did Cartmell make an impact with her skills, but also with her work ethic.

"Sarah has impressed me with her athleticism, and also with her great attitude and work ethic," Rader said. "And coming off of that incredible basketball season Ironton just enjoyed, I know she knows how to win."

Cartmell was the starting center for the Lady Fighting Tigers who advanced to the state tournament and set a school record with 24 wins.

Cartmell said she picked Shawnee over offers from Wilmington and Urbana.

"I like the girls at Shawnee a lot. It was close to home and I was planning on majoring in education and they offer that curriculum," Cartmell said. "I'm excited. I pretty much know what it's going to be like. It's going to be a challenge and I'm looking forward to it."

Rader said he plans to play Cartmell as a middle blocker and outside hitter, her strongest positions. He said moving Cartmell to the outside will "short up our block."

"Those are two positions I love," Cartmell said. "I love the front line so I look forward to it a lot."

Freeman doesn't expect Cartmell to have any problem making the transition from high school to college.

"Sarah's junior year she told me she wanted to play at the next level and she began to do things on her own to improve her skills. She loves the sport and she loves competition," Freeman said.

A four-year letter winner, Cartmell was a two-time co-captain who was named first team all-district as a senior and honorable mention as a junior.

Cartmell was chosen to play for the Pepsi-Cola All-Star Team. Besides her high school career, Cartmell made the River City Thunder National Traveling Team (club ball) of Huntington, W.Va., that is affiliated with Marshall University. She started for the traveling team.

Cartmell had an 85 percent reception, 98 percent freeball passing, 96 percent serving and missed only six serves all season (189 of 195). She led the team with 71 digs and had 171 kills plus a team-high 62 solo blocks.

Cartmell's trip to the state basketball tournament kept a family tradition alive. Her sister, Amy, reached the state in band competition and her brother, Josh, was a member of the Ironton golf team that qualified for the state tournament in 2000.

"I never really thought about it until it was over when my mom said, 'I get to to the state with all my children.' That was pretty awesome," Cartmell said.