CENTERTON --Marybeth Dyson had a major decision to make regarding her final weekend as a prep athlete.
The decision was not so much on where the Bentonville West graduate would be. Dyson knew she'd be in Conway on the University of Central Arkansas campus. The question was, would it be in the basketball arena or on the softball diamond.
As a multi-sport standout at West, Dyson was selected to participate in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star weekend as both a basketball player and a softball player for the West teams.
"I was very honored to be selected for both," said Dyson, "but softball is what I'm playing in college and that's what I wanted to be as my last game as a high school player."
Dyson will take the field at 4 p.m. Friday at Farris Field as a member of the West all-star softball team.
Multisport athletes are not as common in the state's largest classification schools as they are in the lower classifications. West coach Anthony Cantrell said he always encourages his players to participate in other sports, believing that it helps develop them as all-around athletes.
Dyson was a fixture atop the batting order for the Lady Wolverines, batting .398 with 41 hits, 8 doubles, 7 triples and a home run. She also scored 34 runs to help West to a 17-10 record and advance to the second round of the Class 6A state tournament.
"Marybeth and Laynee (Tapp) were both basketball players and both are just tremendous athletes, not just tremendous softball players," said Cantrell. "Players who compete in more than one sport are something we take a lot of pride in. As a coach, I want our players to take advantage of every opportunity they have in high school because that's what high school is all about. It's about learning and trying new things. We've been blessed at West to have quite a few girls who were multisport athletes and they've all been great players in this program."
Dyson will be headed to Missouri Southern in Joplin in a few weeks. She already has her roommate and is ready to take the next step in her athletic journey. This season the Lions were 26-25 and 14-12 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Conference.
"I'm very excited to get there and get to work," said Dyson, who was recruited to play centerfield for the Lions. "I had a real comfort level there and the fact that it is close to home was also important to me."
The West squad features three players from Bentonville West. Besides Dyson, seniors Ciera Cravens and Caroline Wilhelm will also participate, giving Cantrell multiple players in the game once again.
"We've been fortunate to have a number of players selected several times," said Cantrell, who has coached the Lady Wolverines since the school opened. "Having three players in the game this year is special for them and for our program. All three are very deserving to have been selected."
This will be the first time since 2019 that the all-star games will be played after a two-year hiatus related to the covid pandemic. On Friday, baseball and softball games will kick off the weekend, with girls soccer scheduled for a 5 p.m. start, followed by volleyball at 6 p.m. and boys soccer at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, girls and boys basketball, and the football game will wrap up all-star weekend.
AHSCA All-Star Softball Game
WHEN 4 p.m. Friday
WHERE Farris Field, Conway
Abby Simmons, Armorel
Madyson Shoebottom, Bald Knob
Caeley Wood, Batesville
Shelby Samples, Benton
Elana Scott, Benton
Regan Dillon, Bryant
Chrissy Mefford, Bryant
Katlyn Erickson, Conway
Zoe Constant, East Poinsett County
Emery Cash, Gosnell
Kylie Stokes, Greene County Tech
Jaecie Brown, Hoxie
Emerson Miller, Marion
Janiah Wilson, North Little Rock
Morgan Garner, Rector
Grace Lawellin, Southside Batesville
Madelyn Maynard, Stuttgart
Carly Downs, Taylor
Shanley Williams, Tuckerman
McKenna Bittle, West Side Greers Ferry
Bailey Willis, Jonesboro Westside
Emily Hale, Wynne
Chris Cope, Cabot
Ashley Busby, Wynne
Deanna Carr, Armorel
David Reynolds, Greene County Tech
Makenzie Martin, Alma
Taylor Bournes, Baptist Prep
Ciera Cravens, Bentonville West
Marybeth Dyson, Bentonville West
Caroline Wilhelm, Bentonville West
Joleigh Tate, Booneville
Brooke Turner, Booneville
Morgan Parsons, Dardanelle
Kendyl Kemp , Fordyce
Josie Walls, Genoa Central
McKayla Betts, Greenbrier
Macey Cutsinger, Greenwood
Haley Sexton, Jasper
Kylie Robinson, Magazine
Kierra Thomas, Mansfield
Laken Lawrence , Morrilton
Ashley Chambers, Nashville
Maci McJunkins, Nashville
Halen Hoelzeman, Sacred Heart
Elise Trautman, Vilonia
Lindsey Gillespie, Western Yell County
Lily Hood, White Hall
Ronnie Denton, Booneville
Rebecca Cash, Fordyce
Mike Harper, Rogers
Andy Williams, Van Buren