Arnold integral part of Longhorn hoops

By Matt Hill

   MOUNTAIN CITY--Stefanie Arnold may not score points, block shots or get rebounds, but she's a total team player for the Johnson County Longhorns.
   Arnold is the team manager for the Longhorn boys basketball team, and her role on the squad is very important.
   According to Arnold, she does a little bit of everything.
   "I usually wash the uniforms," Arnold said. "At home games I take care of all the water, and the other team's water. I take pictures for the yearbook, and at away games I keep the book."
   But Arnold's role is more than just all of that. She is also there for emotional support.
   Arnold is always cheering on her team at the games, and tries to let them know that somebody is there for them.
   "I try to pick them up when they're not playing really good, and I try to cheer them on all that I can," Arnold said.
   Arnold's role as team manager is not just confined to game days. She also shows up at practices to do whatever she can to help out Longhorn head coach Austin Atwood.
   "I just try to make the team come together," Arnold said. "They do drills and stuff, so I keep the stats for him so they can see how they're improving."
   This extra dedication hasn't gone unnoticed by Atwood.
   "She does a lot for us," Atwood said. "That's one thing a coach needs is a good manager, somebody he can depend on without having to be told all the time. She keeps our uniforms washed, keeps our book, and keeps our stats during practice. She's just real reliable.
   Arnold does feel very appreciated by Atwood.
   "Austin thanks me constantly for washing the uniforms, and keeping the book and just trying to make the guys feel better about the season," Arnold said.
   A Longhorn player that thinks a lot of Arnold is Tommy Short.
   "There's not too many girls that wash our laundry after games," Short said. "We look up on her."
   Arnold may be well-respected by Longhorn basketball players, but she won't be around too much longer. Arnold is a senior, and she knows she will be missed.
   "I think if something was to ever happen the boys would really miss me," Arnold said. "I don't know what they're going to do next year, they're just going to be all left by themselves."
   Arnold does more for Johnson County than just manage the basketball team. She also has a lot of things in her life that keep her busy.
   "I do our school's website," Arnold said. "I'm one of the top team players on the yearbook. I have a job that I work everyday that I don't have basketball practice. I take college level courses at school, so I'm constantly swamped with work."
   Arnold does have athletic talent as well. She has been a member of the Johnson County high school tennis team, and has been very successful.
   Arnold has made the Region 1-AA tournament the last two years, but Arnold's busy schedule may prevent her from playing this year.
   "I've gone to regionals two years in a row," Arnold said. I've worked really hard at tennis. But I'm going to be so busy with getting ready to go to college that I don't know if I really have time to play tennis."
   Once high school is over for Arnold, she has big some very big plans.
   "I want to go to the University of Tennessee," Arnold said. "I'm going to major in political science, and I want to minor in philosophy because I want to go to law school at Tennessee. I also want to work on The Torch, that's their yearbook, because I think I can do a lot for that program."
   And if Arnold continues to work like she has at Johnson County, expect her to start some new things for The Torch.
   "I've kind of pioneered some new things on our yearbook, like this year is the first year the juniors are going to have color in their section. It was pretty expensive, and everybody said "they're just juniors." But I said that they deserve it just as much as the seniors."
   Arnold will probably make as big of a mark at the University of Tennessee as she has at Johnson County, but this will always be her home.
   Arnold is a Longhorn through and through, and she plans to come back to continue supporting the players.
   "Probably every chance that I get I'm going to come back, and I'll probably leave candy and stuff like I used to."