Waid reaches goal of 1,000 assists

Riley Thompson, Print Editor in Chief

Senior Maya Waid has been playing volleyball since eighth grade. Since her sophomore year, she has been playing on the HHS Girls varsity volleyball team. Waid set a goal her freshman year that she would hit 1,000 assists by her senior year. She met that goal this week in one of the final games of her senior season. 

“The way that stats work for any varsity sport is that it only counts towards a goal or record when you’re on the varsity team,” Waid said. “For my freshman season, I was on JV and I only played one game with varsity that season, so a lot of work [to reach my goal] came from my sophomore through senior year. It was super hard with COVID[-19], [since] we had a shortened season last year to get to that goal.”

Even though Waid met her goal of 1,000 assists, she couldn’t have done it without her team working together and relying on each other on the court. 

“With assists, I [have to] depend on putting the ball in the right place for my teammates to succeed. I think that’s what’s really special about being a setter is I have to set my teammates up perfectly for success and I depend on them being able to kill it to reach my goal,” Waid said. “The best aspect of hitting 1,000 assists is that it wasn’t just a record I’m reaching or a goal that I’m reaching, it’s a thing that my teammates, since I’ve [been on] varsity, have helped me with. It’s everybody’s hard work combined.”

Reaching this goal her senior year is a big accomplishment for Waid to reflect on. 

“I was joking with my coach, [Hannah] Bowman [Hrasky], when I played the varsity game my freshman year. I played really badly and I told her, ‘Don’t worry, someday I’m going to get 1,000 assists,’ just completely as a joke. To be able to make good on that promise is going to [be] so relieving because I told myself freshman year, when I was 14, that I was going to get it. Now to be in my final games of high school and [being] able to reach that goal is going to be huge for me,” Waid said. 

Learning about her teammates and adjusting to who she’s playing with has been one of the most crucial parts for Waid to successfully reach her goal. 

“The thing that’s hard with setting is that it’s always an improving game and every hitter is very different. [For example], me setting to Ellie [Muncy], versus me setting to my sister, Macy, is very different because they’re different players. They go at different speeds and they need the ball at different places,” Waid said. “[Overall], I think knowing  my teammates really well and knowing where they need the ball to succeed is very important.” 

Adjusting to a younger and less experienced team this year has been different for Waid, especially since in past years she primarily played with upperclassmen. 

“[This year has] been very different. Last year I had Amelia Mitchell who was one of the best hitters. She set so many amazing records and feats. She’s playing in college now, so it definitely hurt not having her this season,” Waid said. “I have seen so many different people step up, it’s really been a collective team effort this year to be our best with such a young team.” 

Having a varsity team with more freshmen than there ever have been before, has also been a learning experience for Waid. 

“Last year we were a team of juniors and seniors, so to have five freshmen on the varsity team this year has been very different. It’s been a learning curve, but they continue to grow [and get better everyday],” Waid said. “In future years [they are going] to be super strong because all of them have been playing together for so long. That experience under their belt [is] going to be huge for them. Obviously I will be graduated, but I’m excited to see where it takes them.” 

Even though it is a good experience for Waid to work with a range of age groups, the abilities differ between ages. 

“There’s a big difference between a 14 and a 17 year old and their ability to hit the ball. We have seen that in some of the players we have faced this year who can really put the ball down in spots. It’s good for these younger kids to see that that’s what they want to work up to be and that’s the kind of teammate that they want to be,” Waid said. “I think there’s a learning curve there, but it’s good for them to get that experience.” 

Volleyball has become Waid’s favorite sport over the past few years, even though she plays  basketball during the volleyball off season. 

“I started playing volleyball in eighth grade, so I’ve been playing for only about five seasons.  I used to be super focused on basketball, but since I started playing volleyball, it’s taken over my life. I want to play all the time, I want to practice all the time, I want to play travel volleyball. Whenever I get a chance I want to be in the gym getting touches,” Waid said. “I’ve just fallen in love with the game, so to see it wrapping up is very bittersweet, but I am thankful to have played with so many different teams over the past three years.”

Continuing to play volleyball during the off season of the school team is exciting for Waid, especially since she will be able to continue playing even while on the basketball team. 

“The past few years I have played for a club that was local and then this year I’m playing for a club out of Roanoke, which is a huge commitment. We just got our tournament schedule recently and we have tournaments in every state except Virginia,” Waid said. “To have that exposure and to play with girls from all over the state of Virginia is going to be huge for me because better competition makes me better.”

Playing with a large variety of people and in different settings will be beneficial for Waid in improving her skills. 

“At the travel level, it’s people who are really committed to the sport. High school people are committed, but to take it a step further and to play travel just shows that level of commitment, skill and determination to be better,” Waid said. “Playing with better competition and against better competition is definitely going to help me get better. I’m thankful that I’m able to play travel for so many different teams and different coaches.” 

Having a coach that is supportive and knowledgeable has helped Waid hone her skills over the past four years. 

“Bowman has been my coach for as long as I can remember. She’s always seen something in me and believed that I was going to be able to do what she needed for her team. To have a coach that has my back in that sense is huge for me. [Setting this record is] to say thank you, this is my way of telling you I made a promise and I’m going to follow through on it, so she’s been big for me,” Waid said. “All of my coaches, travel and assistants [have] been such a big help.”

Training different parts of her body and staying in shape year round comes with the vigorosity of being a multi-sport athlete, which Waid aspires to be.

“Being a multi-sport athlete is super important because I need to work on many different muscles in my body. I’d play volleyball all year long if I could, but to play basketball and to have that break [allows me to train differently],” Waid said. “Basketball is a lot more conditioning, endurance and upper body strength because you’re using your arms a lot more in basketball [rather than] in volleyball. It’s a lot of lower body strength. To be able to have all of those muscle groups work together and stay in shape all year long has been huge for me, so I enjoy being able to split my time [up] a little bit.”

Continuing to play volleyball during basketball season is crucial for Waid to keep working on her skills, however she is still very excited to see where her basketball season will go this year. 

“I still play travel volleyball during my basketball season, so I’m always in volleyball season which I enjoy. This [basketball] team that I’m playing with my senior year, we have been playing together since seventh grade, so we are going to be really strong this year and I’m excited to finish out the season with those seniors,” Waid said. 

Being a captain this year has provided Waid with leadership experience as well as new relationships. 

“I love my role as a captain because I like to be a leader on the court. I like to be able to voice my opinion and motivate my teammates while also just encouraging them to do better and being a resource for them on and off the court. A lot of the girls that are on the team know that I’m available to them outside of volleyball and I like for them to know that I’m not just their teammate or their captain, I’m their friend first and foremost,” Waid said. “It’s been really good, my sister is one of the freshmen on varsity, so she and her friends have seen there isn’t going to be this big divide between us just because of our age or our grade, we are all one team and I think that they really embodied that this year.” 

As Waid is applying to colleges and trying to figure out her next step after high school, she has been weighing her options with playing volleyball at that level as well. 

“I’m trying to figure out if I want to play at the Division III level, which I’ve talked to a few different schools about, or if I would rather go to a bigger school and play club volleyball. I’m interested in a career with Global Health Policy, so that’s medicine, journalism and government policy all combined. It is obviously very time consuming, so I’m trying to see if the club option might be better if I want to be able to balance academics and athletics or where that’s going to lead me,” Waid said. “ It all depends where I get in, but I’m confident in my applications. I’ve had a lot of help with getting applications solidified and a lot of people have written amazing recommendations on my behalf, so I’m excited to see where that will take me next year.”