Name: Kiarra Henderson
Team: Concord High School
Henderson came to Concord as a sophomore transfer from Redwood High in Marin County. That first year she was a team captain, outside hitter and MVP on the junior varsity. She says, “I made my first few friends [at my new school] through volleyball.” Through all the challenges of the pandemic during the past two years Minuteman volleyball (“my second family”) has been a big part of her high school experience.
She has played the sport for six years including for Bay Area Volleyball Club as an outside and rightside hitter. When she joined varsity as a junior she was the starting rightside hitter.
“Senior year was a little funky since we lost our starting setter, so I stepped up and became the setter. It was a big role being the setter and team captain, but I wasn’t going to let my coach down.”
Coach Jess Mays explains, “Kiarra is the heart and soul of our team. She was a varsity starter on the right side last year and played a key role in us going 11-1. This year she was asked to play setter which was a new position for her and it is the hardest one in volleyball. She was amazing. She received wonderful comments from almost every coach we played and they were all surprised she was a first-year setter. As a teammate, she was always the first one to practice and the hardest worker in the room. Her work ethic and dedication allowed her to achieve in one year what most setters work on for many.”
Henderson (called Kiki by her friends) goes to the gym “a lot after school or after practice to relieve stress and better my body.” She adds, “I give a big shoutout to my coach Jess Mays. Volleyball at CHS is nothing without Mr. Mays. He is constantly pushing all of us to be better and he is the reason why I was able to become a setter this year. He believed in me the whole time and made me the setter I am today. He’s one of my biggest inspirations and someone that I will forever cherish and never forget.”
Henderson plans to attend DVC or LMC after graduation and continuing playing her sport. “Playing volleyball at CHS was one of the best decisions I ever made.” Her coach summed up his senior captain as a “great teammate, friend, player, student and role model.”
The Pioneer congratulates Kiarra and thanks Athlete Spotlight sponsors Dr. Laura Lacey & Dr. Christopher Ruzicka who have been serving the Clayton and Concord area for over three decades at Family Vision Care Optometry.
Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.