Welp provides source of energy for Rangers

Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Forest Park's Ali Welp is a bundle of energy for Forest Park, getting hyped up before games.


FERDINAND — Forest Park sophomore guard Ali Welp can be described in one word: fearless. She’ll do whatever it takes to get the Rangers what they need during a game, and usually is one of the first to try for the big shot or defensive stop that could infuse life into Forest Park’s lineup.

But to hear her tell it, Welp is all nerves before the opening tipoff.

“Before games, I still get nervous,” said Welp, who also started for the Rangers as a freshman. “I don’t know why, but once we start going in warmups, I’m fine.”

The nerves have a variety of sources. Welp admitted she sometimes gets psyched out when it comes to preparing for other teams before games. She also said fighting off presses can get her a bit flustered on the floor. But once she gets rolling, she quickly gets out of her head and into her “zone.”

“Once I start rolling, my nerves go away,” she said. “My team helps me through it. If we all do good, I feel like it’s more of a flow and my nerves are calm.”

Rangers coach Tony Hasenour said it’s normal to experience nerves before and during games, and also said Welp had those same feelings when she was inserted into the starting lineup as a freshman. However, Hasenour has also seen Welp grow beyond those issues as a player, and turn into the Rangers’ own Energizer bunny on the court.

“We have to pull the reins back sometimes on her because she just goes,” he said. “She’d play the whole game if she could, and be exhausted by the end.”

Hasenour described Welp as someone who plays without the fear of failure. He loves how she is always trying to make big plays for the Rangers without signs of hesitation. For him, you can’t put a value on someone who is always working to address a need.

“It’s priceless what she brings out there on both ends,” Hasenour said. “She recognizes when we need a big stop or a big bucket. She’s always willing to step up and do that. Some players are a little nervous to take that big shot, having that fear of failure. From what I can tell, the fear of failure never runs through her mind. She’s always confident in what she’s doing and giving it her all.”

That’s what Welp wants to bring to the Rangers. She wants to be the player that’s reliable in tight situations, the one the team can look to for the stop or shot that turns the game in their favor. She still feels the nerves sometimes, but she’s getting better at reining them in. Nerves don’t have a place with her on the floor.

“When I don’t think about it, it’s smooth,” Welp said. “I just have to go in there without thinking, and it goes more smoothly.”

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