photo by J.J. LaBella
North Allegheny is filled with many talented, young athletes. Occasionally, however, the program encounters an athlete who is on the next level and able to excel both athletically and academically. Varsity Girls’ Volleyball star Paige Morningstar has won four WPIAL championships and three PIAA championships throughout her NA athletic career, with yet another year to go.
Morningstar grew up a multi-sport athlete, participating in basketball, volleyball, softball, and soccer. She ultimately decided to focus on two sports and work hard to excel at them.
“I stuck with volleyball and basketball because they were my favorite out of the four, and the ones I had the most success with,” Morningstar stated. “My body type and abilities led me the most achievement with volleyball and basketball.”
Being a multi-sport athlete helped increase the senior’s athleticism, shaping her development as an athlete.
“I come from a very athletic family,” she said. “Basically since I was born I had sports and competitiveness running through my veins.”
Her father played basketball at the University of Pittsburgh and continued on to the NBA, playing for the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and Utah Jazz. She also has two older sisters who graduated from North Allegheny, both of whom were extremely successful and one even went on to play Division I volleyball at Notre Dame.
Morningstar appears to be following the same path, having been named First Team All State in both volleyball and basketball. Last year, she was also named Trib HSSN Girls Athlete of the Year, an annual award based on the community’s votes and given to a WPIAL athlete who excels throughout the fall, winter, and spring sports seasons.
Despite her success, Morningstar has had to face major setbacks in order to get where she is today. When she was in eighth grade, she had an extremely rare condition that required her to get surgery on her knee.
“It set me back tremendously academically and athletically,” she said. “I repeated 8th grade, and I needed a second surgery that second year. Over the course of 2+ years I had to face multiple challenges and went through the lowest points of my life.”
Nevertheless, her determination remained strong, and by high school she was a regular starter on the varsity team.
Morningstar has decided to continue her athletic and academic career at the University of Louisville, where she will play Division I volleyball and major in business. Ultimately, however, she has her sights set on the national court.
“My dream is to play for the U.S National team or professionally overseas,” she said. “I would love to make a career out of volleyball.”
Morningstar also excels off the court. She takes multiple Honors and AP courses and is one of the senior captains for TigerThon, and a Student Section leader. But closest to her heart are her teammates on the Volleyball Team.
“I have so many noteworthy memories,” she said. “Some of my favorites are winning states in volleyball my junior year, winning WPIALs in basketball my junior year, and competing at nationals in volleyball my freshman year and seeing all the college coaches surround my court knowing they were there for me.”
Morningstar shared some advice for younger athletes.
“Always strive to be the best, whether that means in the gym, in your family, or in the country,” she said.”Be better than the person ahead of you, and be an athlete because you love it, not because you have to because sports can teach you so many life lessons that will make you a better person.”