FOXBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Keira McVay is almost always the shortest player on the volleyball or basketball court.
Although the incoming A-C Valley senior tries to squeeze every last centimeter out of her height.
“Well, I’m 5-foot-1,” she says, pausing for a beat, “and a half. But I always say I’m 5-2.”
McVay is often chided about her lack of size. Instead of shrinking away, she uses it as motivation to stand tall in every situation presented to her.
“I’m tiny,” she said, “but mighty.”
In a strange way, she has used her small stature to her advantage.
McVay is often overlooked. Taken for granted. Dismissed. She stands her ground anyway.
“It makes me kind of feel better about myself, in a way,” McVay added. “Looking at everyone else, they’re all tall and they obviously have an advantage. So me being pretty decent at sports being shorter and at a bit of adisadvantage kind of helps me keep my head up about it.”
McVay saw significant varsity time in both volleyball and basketball last season.
As a reserve setter/libero for the Falcons’ volleyball team, which started out the season well but faded to finish 9-8, she had 47 digs and six aces. She actually had four kills as well, despite her size.
On the basketball court as a guard, she averaged 4.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals on a team that went 3-19 and averaged just a shade over 20 points per game.
McVay figures both teams will be much improved during her senior year.
Most of all, she’s looking forward to finally being close to full strength.
The last few years have been a struggle for McVay because of a peculiar ailment for her age.
McVay had surgery to correct bunions on her left foot last year. She has dealt with foot pain for most of her life.
“It was strange because I was so young,” McVay said. “It was like I had this thing that old people get, but it runs in the family. The doctor told me that since I played sports I should have surgery. They said there is a risk of them coming back, but so far, they haven’t. I haven’t had as much pain as I used to have.”
THE McVAY FILE
NAME: Keira McVay
SCHOOL: A-C Valley
SPORTS: Volleyball and basketball
2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: Played significant minutes on the Falcons’ basketball team and also saw some time on A-C Valley’s volleyball team
Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while playing sports?
A: Keep your head held high. During volleyball I was picked on because of my height, and basketball was rough with a young team, but I learned don’t give up, no matter what people are saying or what the scoreboard is showing. Keep pushing for yourself and your teammates. Always follow your dreams.
Q: Who is your biggest sports role model and why?
A: Honestly, I’ve always looked up to (A-C Valley grad and Clarion University women’s basketball player) Olivia Boocks. She graduated a few years ago, but I was just star-struck watching her play. I just admired her athletic ability in both basketball and volleyball. She was and still is an awesome athlete.
Q: Did you have a chance to talk with her? Get any advice?
A: I talked to her a couple of times at school. She has incredible athletic ability and seeing her play basketball at Clarion University and do as well as she’s doing, especially with the injuries she had, is inspiring.
Q: What’s your biggest goals in sports?
A: To just keep improving and show height doesn’t have an affect on my ability to play sports.
Q: Favorite music genre and artist?
A: I love pop music, and Bruno Mars has to be one of my top favorite artists.
Q: What’s your pregame routine?
A: I arrive to the school early. Always. I put my shoes on and go warm up. When the buzzer buzzes, I get with my team and get the pep-talk rolling. I try to be as supportive as possible to all my teammates, no matter the situation. Then I get ready to hear my name over those speakers. Then the fun begins.