Varsity volleyball old hat for Bobcats’ leader
Two games into her freshman season at Basehor-Linwood High School, Christina McCarty was moved up from junior varsity to varsity. When she joined the varsity squad, only one uniform number remained, No. 11, and now as she prepares to start her fourth year of varsity volleyball, McCarty said she couldn't even remember what her junior varsity jersey number was.
"That's my number now," McCarty said of No. 11. "It was the only number left when I moved up to varsity, but I like it now."
In her spare time, McCarty likes to do things that most teen-agers do. But whether she's shopping, talking on the phone or watching television, she's probably also thinking about volleyball.
"I think about it a lot," McCarty said. "I play whenever I can, but I've been working a lot this summer. I'm extremely excited for the season to start."
The left-side hitter, who has started on the varsity squad for three straight years, is also one of the few players on the team who plays in the offseason. This year, she played with the Topeka Juniors, a volleyball club team that travels to tournaments. McCarty joined the Juniors by way of a tryout. In July, at the USAV National Development Camp in Iowa, McCarty was picked as one of seven members of the Dream Team.
She said playing in the summer taught her a lot and gave her a chance to address her biggest weakness - defense.
"I just have a problem with control," she said. "I can dig the ball, but sometimes it doesn't go where it should."
McCarty's coach, Mardy Robinson, agreed with the senior's self-evaluation, but in doing so Robinson stressed McCarty's strengths more than the weaknesses.
"Christina has excellent timing as a hitter," Robinson said. "She'll hit any set that comes at her, no matter how bad it is. She has a great ability to adjust in the air."
McCarty said she loves volleyball, but it's not the only thing she likes to do at school. She is also a member of the school's dance squad and often that makes things hectic for her. Because volleyball and dance are done in the same season, a typical day for McCarty starts with dance practice first thing in the morning. Then, after working for a couple hours on steps and routines, she heads to a full day of classes followed by volleyball practice after school.
While that may sound like a lot to take on, McCarty said the only time it gets tough is when she has to dance at a football game after volleyball practice.
"Sometimes I just have to change right after practice and run out to the football game," McCarty said. "It's crazy but it's a lot of fun."
Amidst all of her athletic responsibilities, McCarty still manages to squeeze in academics. Last year, she made the honor roll and was a member of the National Honor Society. She said both honors were as important as any athletic achievement she's ever had.
"That was important because I knew that if I didn't get good grades, then I wouldn't be able to get a scholarship or I wouldn't be able to play in high school," McCarty said.
Once high school is over, McCarty hopes to move to play volleyball in college. She said she's already received about 10 letters from various schools that want her to play for them and that she'll go anywhere she gets an opportunity to play.
Robinson said McCarty will have no trouble getting an opportunity at the next level.
"She's college material, no doubt about it," Robinson said. "I don't know college volleyball very well, so I don't know where she'll play, but I know she can play somewhere."
Right now, however, McCarty's focusing solely on the upcoming high school season. After all, it might be her last chance to wear No. 11 who knows what numbers will be available in college.