Family affair: Volleyball a big part of Welteroth clan
The Mirror is recognizing some high school senior spring sports athletes who missed out on their final scholastic seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
You don’t need a medical exam to know that volleyball is in the blood when it comes to the Welteroth family. Just ask the youngest of Brian and Tina Welteroth’s four children, Josh.
He had two sisters, Jess (2012) and Lindsay (2014), who starred at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, along with a brother, Collin (2016), who was also a standout for the Marauders. The Purple & Gold lineage didn’t stop there because mom, Tina, was a standout for the Lady Marauders from 1979-1983. They didn’t have volleyball at Hollidaysburg when Brian attended, but he honed his skills in local leagues around Blair County.
“It helped me a lot, playing with my siblings in the backyard. It made up for not having any opportunities to play on a team in seventh and eighth grade,” said Josh, a senior this year at BG, who lost his final campaign with the Marauders because of the corona-virus pandemic.
Admitting he is ultra-competitive, which his mother firmly agrees with, Josh said it comes from within, and not from a household filled with volleyball stars, who earned several achievements from the Mid-State Volleyball League and the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association, along with the Altoona Mirror.
“I think my competitiveness is just something that comes from me,” he said. “I’m so competitive. It’s really hard for me to let (even) little kids win in anything.”
A sense of humor? Could be, because it certainly started at home in the Weltheroth’s backyard.
“Collin, using me for target practice when he was spiking, really improved my passing skills,” Josh remembered.
Tina remembers a game the boys invented that sounds a little bit like renegade volleyball.
“They used to play what they called crazy ball,” she said. “It was with a full-size volleyball net. It was very energetic. It was a combination game. If one could catch the ball on one bounce, they would get a point. It made them super athletic because they played it every day.”
Because Collin was four years older, it was obvious that he had the advantage, but that didn’t make it any better for Josh, who will play collegiately at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe this fall.
“He was such a hard-head,” Tina laughed. ” He was so competitive. Collin was 16 and he was 12. He was so competitive and he could not control that, but as he got older, he learned to control it. By his junior year (at BG), if he made a mistake, his teammates picked him up or he would pick them up.”
BG boys volleyball coach Branden McGarvey only had Josh for one year, but could not say enough good things about his graduating senior.
“He is one of those athletes where you can tell the game comes naturally to him,” he said. “I’ve had a tremendous blessing knowing this family and watching Josh’s siblings play. It is always nice to have an athlete who comes from a volleyball background. This doesn’t always guarantee the athlete will follow in the footsteps of the family, but that wasn’t the case for Josh.”
If there is a pickup game at home, Josh admitted that he would pick Collin over his sisters and parents.
“He’s quick, versatile, smart and tall,” Josh said of his brother.
But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t take advice from the others. Sometimes mom was on the bench coaching in the elementary leagues, or in the stands as game manager at the high school games.
“Right when the ball goes over the net, the only thing I can hear is my coach,” Josh said. “When the play ends, I look over to my coach, and then to my parents to see if they have any tips or say something that I did wrong so I don’t make the same mistake again.”
Josh, who will major in either engineering or business management this fall, is the first to dole out credit to his family, especially Collin, in making him the standout he became in his abbreviated time at BG.
“Watching (Collin) and his team do things that I didn’t do, or do well, really motivated me to practice those things,” Josh said. “I’ve improved at every aspect of the game because of my family.”