Name: Maria McConnell
School: Blacklick Valley
Parents: Tommy and Jill McConnell, of Nanty Glo
Athletic achievements: Two-year letterwinner; holding two records at Blacklick Valley for points and blocks in a game
Coach’s quote: “Maria epitomizes what a student-athlete should be. She has a tremendous work ethic on and off the court. Maria is extremely talented, but also puts in extra time to constantly improve her skills. She works hard and is also willing to help her teammates excel. She has a passion for competition and always strives for greatness. Maria sets lofty goals for herself and the team, all the while putting in the work to achieve them. She is a leader and a great teammate. Maria is a tremendous athlete, but an even better person. She is a pleasure to coach. I hope she enjoys this journey, but I do look forward to seeing her grow and watching her future successes.” — Blacklick Valley girls basketball coach Rich Price
Favorite subject: Trigonometry
Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans”
Favorite book or video game: “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo
Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese
Favorite teacher (and what they teach): Mrs. Worthington, media
Favorite song: “Ballin’ “ by Mustard with Roddy Ricch
Outside interests: Making TikToks and playing with my dog, Cherry.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?: A lion. I like to take on a leadership role and I like to help my team out as much as possible when it comes to winning. Being a leader is very important and every team has a leader, so I think I fill that role on my team.
Favorite athletic team: Phoenix Suns
Athlete most admired: My mom. She played Division I basketball, which is my ultimate goal. She’s helped me find the right path and pushed me to work hard enough to accomplish it.
Most influential person on my athletic career: My dad
Most impressive athlete that you have competed against: My AAU teammate, Peyton Pinkney
Proudest athletic achievement: Winning Blacklick Valley’s first district playoff game in 13 years.
How I got my start: I grew up in a basketball family and was just always around the sport, so I had a basketball in my hand all the time.
Future goal: Playing four years at the next level.