McWilliams siblings from Brentwood embrace multi-sport roles
TribLIVE Sports Videos
When Chicago Blackhawks' winger Brandon Saad recently brought the Stanley Cup back to his hometown of Gibsonia, cousins Brooke and Connor McWilliams were there to celebrate.
“That was awesome. That was excellent,” Connor said. “That gave me more drive to want to get a trophy like that and do great things.”
Connor made his debut as Brentwood's starting quarterback last Friday, leading the Spartans to a 49-7 Black Hills Conference victory over Serra Catholic, passing for more than 100 yards and continuing to build his athletic resume.
“I think (McWilliams) has a lot of upside,” Kevin Kissel, Brentwood's head coach, said. “He's a big kid, very athletic, and he's got a great arm that he got from playing baseball.”
Entering his junior season, Connor is 6-foot-2 and weighs 200 pounds. He is a varsity letterman in football, basketball and baseball.
Connor says the busy schedule doesn't stress him out or seem like too much since he's been doing it for nearly all his life.
“It's not too bad. It's just practice non-stop,” he said. “I love it, though.”
Connor started playing basketball and baseball when he was 3, and added football when he was in eighth grade. At a Class A school like Brentwood, student-athletes usually play multiple sports, jumping from one season to another.
“I think it makes the kids more competitive,” Kissel said. “Some of the best athletes at the school play many sports.”
Brentwood's girls' volleyball coach, Caitlin Grattan, added: “I think that's why, for such a small school we are, our sports teams are fairly successful because of the attitude the kids have (playing on multiple sports teams.)”
A catcher and corner infielder for Brentwood's baseball team, Connor batted .314 as a freshman. He averaged six minutes off the bench for the varsity basketball team last season.
“It's an honor. It's a true honor to be an athlete at Brentwood,” Connor said. “It's a great school. I probably wouldn't choose anywhere else.”
Older sister Brooke, a senior at Brentwood, is a triple threat in her own right as a varsity letterwinner in volleyball, softball and track.
“Brooke has been talented every since she was a freshman,” Grattan said. “She can do everything.”
Brooke, a middle hitter and setter, helped lead the Lady Spartans' volleyball team to a WPIAL playoff berth last year. She also sparked Brentwood's softball team to a 9-5 overall record and another playoff appearance as a starter in the outfield.
She also was a WPIAL qualifier in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles events.
“She's just such a great athlete,” Grattan said. “She can adjust well.”
Both Connor and Brooke say they don't see each other much during a typical school day, but there definitely is some sibling rivalry around the house.
“There's always little rivalries going on,” Brooke said. “Maybe who can score the most points (in basketball), or whatever.”
Running from one sporting event to another, there never was a dull moment growing up in the McWilliams house.
“There was always a practice or game we had to go to,” Brooke said. “It was fun; there was always something to do, or someone to go see play.”
Seeing their cousin parading around with the Stanley Cup was something of a shock since it wasn't that long ago they were all were playing sports together in the backyard.
“It's crazy to think that when we were little we were just shooting hockey, and now he's in the National Hockey League,” Brooke said.
The three keep in touch throughout the NHL season, and Connor recalls the advice Saad gave him about reaching his athletic goals.
“He just said, “Keep going, stay strong, keep playing,'” Connor said
For now, Connor is leading the No. 7-ranked Spartans through a challenging Black Hills Conference football schedule.
Brooke is gearing up for another successful volleyball season with the Lady Spartans. She says she's happy to see her younger brother doing so well in sports.
“I'm proud to have him as my brother,” she said. “I'm glad he's following me in athletics, and he's making a name for himself.”
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates show depth in earning victory over Rockies; Polanco has big night
- Healthy, confident Steelers LB Shazier ready for full speed ahead
- Timing drives former KHL star Plotnikov
- ATI picket injured at Harrison mill
- Despite being suspended, Boyd still making contributions for Pitt
- Historic WWII-era landing ship tank docking at Heinz Field
- Pirates notebook: Catcher Cervelli among ejection leaders
- ‘Action’ against AG Kane sent to Supreme Court, sources say
- Deputy fatally shot from behind at Houston gas station
- Man gets probation for sex with teen girl in New Kensington
- County police officer on leave after assault charges filed