Athlete of the Month: Justin Carney



WCHS senior, Justin Carney, has a big kill on his senior night, giving the team an even better advantage at beating Blake.

By Melissa Redlich, Features Editor

Smashing the ball over the net, WCHS Senior Justin Carney watches the scoreboard click, increasing his team’s lead in the game. This happens again. And again. 

Since his freshman year, Carney has played on the CoEd Volleyball team, contributing to both his energy and skill. Starting in 8th grade, Carney acquired a knack of the sport, and has loved it ever since. From the day he picked up his first volleyball to his Senior night game against James Hubert Blake High School, CoEd volleyball has made a huge impact in his life. 

“I have learned a lot from playing volleyball,” Carney said. “Not only have I learned that hard work, always listening to your coaches and being coachable are exceedingly important, but I learned never to give up not just when a ball is about to hit the ground or the other team is winning by a lot, but in other aspects of my life too.” 

Nadia Hedayat, CoED head coach, and Cindy Hillard, CoEd assistant coach and Girls volleyball head coach together have learned a lot from Carney.

“Justin is a hardworking, positive, considerate and caring player,” Hedayat said. “He has positively impacted Churchill volleyball in many ways, including always cheering for everyone and always maintaining a great attitude, no matter what the score is.”

Since Carney stepped on the volleyball court his freshman year, his coaches knew that not only his height, but also his enthusiasm and positive attitude, would make him an outstanding addition to the Varsity CoEd team. 

“I hope to have taught Justin and his teammates to learn about themselves, trust their teammates, work together, and that in every loss and win you can learn how to play better and smarter. And to always find joy,” Hillard said. 

From her experience coaching the Varsity Girls and Varsity CoEd volleyball teams for ten years, Hillard knows it all and can see talent from miles away. As Carney’s coach for the past four years, Hillard has seen everything from his jaw-dropping hits to his crazy blocks. 

“My favorite memory of Justin was seeing him have a big kill as a freshman against a monster block versus Wootton! I still remember the blocker’s face, and then Justin and our team celebrating,” Hillard said. “The blocker had shut us down and Justin’s kill was a dent in their armor that we used to go ahead and win! A huge win versus Wootton.”

Not only is this memory special to Hillard and Carney, but Carney also remembers beating BCC in three sets, which was a big deal considering they were top competition and extremely hard to beat. 

“This became one of my favorite memories, because everyone was working together and doing their best,” Carney said. “It really makes a huge difference when the whole team is working together to win the set, rather than one person being the star player. This is one of the reasons why I love the sport, because it’s a team sport.”

Since the beginning, Carney has always had a big impact on team spirit, which is one of the many reasons why he is such an asset to the CoEd volleyball team. After graduation, Justin will attend Lipscomb University. There, he hopes to continue embracing the lessons and skills he has learned from playing volleyball. 

“I love to play volleyball because I love that it is a team sport and everyone works together to win the game. No one player can win the game; instead everyone works together,” Carney said.