Greenbrier's Russell 'runs the show'

by Levi Gilbert

Autumn Russell is a special athlete — a star that shines brighter and brighter as her high school career shoots toward its end at Greenbrier.

In December, Russell was honored with a selection to the inaugural 501 Basketball Team, which is made up of male and female student-athletes honored for their on- and off-the-court accomplishments and contributions. The senior point guard was nominated by her coach, Tobin McCammon.

“Autumn is a good leader, a great athlete, excellent defensive player and she runs the show for us,” McCammon wrote in his nomination. “She’s an excellent student and citizen with great leadership qualities.”

Russell is a multi-sport athlete. And for someone so physically gifted, basketball wasn’t a natural fit for her at first.

“When I was little, I quit soccer because of all the running,” Russell said. “I got asked to be on a peewee basketball team after that. Basketball was kind of a long shot, though, because it was still a lot of running. But I ended up enjoying it. It was a challenge. It wasn’t something that came naturally. I like the challenge of it.”

In addition to being a talented point guard, Russell is an all-state athlete in track and softball, a sport that she signed a letter of intent to play at the U of A in Fayetteville.

“In track I do the 100, 200, 400, 4×100 and long jump,” Russell said. “I won state in the 100 and 400 my sophomore year. I hope to come back and get it this year after my knee problems last year.

“I play third base in high school, but the Razorbacks want me to play outfield for my speed.”

As her basketball career nears its close, her senior year marches towards graduation and her collegiate future awaits, Russell has many different forces competing and pulling for her attention.

“School’s been a little tough this year,” she said. “My senior year’s been hard. I have a really tough schedule; it’s kind of been stressing me out. Trying to balance basketball and working to be on the softball field is kind of a struggle. I want to be good for my basketball team, but I also want to be ready to play when I get to Fayetteville. That’s a struggle being able to work on both of those.

“The softball coaches at the U of A are cool about it. They come and watch our team. They are really cool about me playing multiple sports.”

Russell is also involved in FBLA at Greenbrier High School. In her spare time, which is few and far between, she enjoys hunting, fishing and shopping, in no particular order.

Russell and Greenbrier travel to Shiloh Christian Friday night in 5A West play.