*Lea is coming off a volleyball season in which she led the Bearcats to a sectional championship and a district final appearance. She now serves as Paint Valley’s point guard, where she’s a key piece in the program’s resurgence. These are her thoughts on this past fall, what she expects during basketball season and what the future holds:
As I sit back and reflect on my high school career thus far, nothing could ever compare to the memories I’ve made and the goals I’ve reached through sports.
As many people know already, I will be the seventh McFadden to graduate from Paint Valley High School. After I’m done, my two younger siblings are next in line. I take great pride in being a Bearcat and wouldn’t wish to spend my senior year doing what I love most, anywhere else. So with that being said, here’s a recap of volleyball season, expectations for basketball season, and what to look towards for softball season.
Now that volleyball is over, I’ve had time to enjoy all the things I’ve accomplished along with all the things my team has accomplished. I think the biggest blessing for me this season was reaching 1,000 digs. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be named first-team all-SVC, but the joy of reaching a goal that you set freshman year is something special.
As for my team, we had a long, depressing journey before we finally reached the end that we had hoped for: a sectional championship as well as a district runner-up finish.
Paint Valley Volleyball has had a long line of unfortunate seasons for as long as I can remember … several different coaches, losing records, and short tournament runs.
Four years ago, I took on the challenge of turning this program around.
With the help of my two senior teammates and the rest of my team, we earned the first sectional championship since — I believe — 2013. Not only that, it was the program’s first district runner-up finish in almost 20 years.
To say I’m proud of my team is an understatement. I see nothing but a bright future for Paint Valley Volleyball and I’m proud of the legacy my teammates and I left behind.
As I move onto basketball season, I can already say this season is going to be the most memorable. With two freshman starting varsity with a junior and two seniors, I’ll be honest, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. Once we had a few weeks of practice and our first game under our belts, we started to glue. The other team can always anticipate a fight if they are playing Paint Valley Basketball. We are drilled day in and day out on hard work, intensity, and effort. So believe me, that is what you can expect to see.
Right now, we are sitting in second place in the SVC along with Huntington. The last couple years, our goal as a team was to sit at the top of the standings. However, with a few unfortunate injuries, that goal didn’t go as planned. This year, with a new roster and a few returning lettermen, I believe this team is capable of accomplishing anything with the right mindset. I look forward to the rest of the season, and for a successful tournament run.
Last but not least is softball season. Paint Valley’s softball program has had successful seasons the last couple of years and I believe that can be reciprocated this season. This will be Ryan Smith’s second season as head coach, and I think he does a good job of preparing us. I know that no matter what, it will be an enjoyable season.
As of a few weeks ago, I made the decision to continue my academic and athletic career at Capital University, playing volleyball and studying nursing. I have always wanted to go into the medical field. While that specific direction has been altered many times, I have finally come to a decision on the path I would like to take — Physician’s Assistant.
While it’s sad seeing my senior year slowly come to the end, I couldn’t be more excited to start my academic and athletic journey all over again.
I am truly thankful for my family’s support through the years, and for the coaches and friends I’ve made along the way. Paint Valley will always be home for many years to come.
Lea McFadden, Paint Valley Senior