Maria Stewart has helped Billings Central Volleyball win two state championships, assisted in a co-state title in basketball, and now in her senior year she is stepping up as a leader for her team on and off the court.
In addition to leading the Rams in volleyball and basketball, Stewart has another passion helping the younger generations learn and excel in athletics. Billings Central volleyball coach Anita Foster said Stewart is always quick to volunteer with volleyball camps.
“I like coaching the younger, younger girls that are now just getting started because they're like not like, 'I'm doing this wrong.' They're so happy and that's what I like and my little sister is in that age category and its nice knowing how they think," Stewart explained.
Stewart commutes to Billings Central everyday from Pryor, and is well respected in both communities, especially on gameday.
“In the beginning I thought it was going to be hard because I thought I wasn't going to have that much support behind me. But when I first played and started, that support was still there. Even when I go to Hardin all my family is like 'Oh my gosh you did so good!' They would like message me and they still do so it is nice having that support from both sides," Stewart said.
Coach Foster has recognized Stewart's impact on the court and in the community, and said she has seen her senior setter transform into a leader for the Rams.
“She has had a lot of growth in that area I would say that Maria is one that tends to be hard on herself and that's something we have worked really hard on the past couple of years... She's a great leader for our team," said Foster.
Despite being a multi-sport athlete and volunteering in the summer, Stewart always makes sure the classroom comes first.
Stewart said, “The only way you can play athletics is through the classroom so I really try to focus on the classroom first and then when I come here I know that everything's going to lead up to my handwork and determination so with that I just try my hardest with everything. When school gets tough that's when I look to volleyball and basketball, take out the stress and just have a fun time."
The Mattress Firm Student Athlete of the Week is a statewide segment on SWX. At the end of the academic year, the statewide winner will be awarded a college scholarship.