Student-Athlete Spotlight: Whitworth's Garrett McKay

Student-Athlete Spotlight: Whitworth's Garrett McKay

HILLSBORO, Ore. - Whitworth senior wide receiver Garrett McKay has had a standout season for the Pirates. Leading the Northwest Conference in punt return average (9.4), receiving yards per game (104.5), and all-purpose yards per game (135.8), as well as ranking third in receptions per game (8.1), he has helped lead the nationally 15th-ranked Pirates to a 9-0 overall record and at least a share of the 2018 NWC title. 

"The football team at Whitworth is a close-knit group," says McKay. "I feel blessed to have played at Whitworth with the teammates I have played with." Having placed second in NWC standings the last three seasons, McKay says there's something special about this year's team that has led them to such a successful season thus far. "We have a group of competitors here, a group of guys who pursue excellence relentlessly, and when you have that within a program, special things can happen."

Aside from football, McKay volunteered at Parasport Spokane, an organization that provides athletic opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. "When I finally went and volunteered for the day it really changed my perspective on a lot of things. It gave me an appreciation for my health and being able to play the sport I love, as well as opened my eyes to the talents and abilities of the athletes there with physical disabilities," says McKay. "There are so few programs like Parasport in the state of Washington and they do so much good."

McKay battled back from an injury early in his career, tearing his ACL in his freshman season. "I was pretty disappointed, but it was my response to that setback that has led to my success on the field, and that injury served as motivation for me to work harder and change training habits like nutrition and sleep," says McKay. "Through that recovery process I also gained more of an appreciation for just being able to get on the field and compete again." McKay is one yard away from setting a program career record for receptions, and 109 yards away from setting a program career record in receiving yards.

A Health Science major, McKay states that "being a Division III athlete has given me the opportunity to continue to play the game I love while also getting a quality education at a great school." He notes his work ethic and sense of ownership as key skills he has developed through his student-athlete experience. In addition to being named an All-NWC First Team selection twice, McKay has been a member of the Whitworth Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and has been named an All-NWC Scholar-Athlete the last four years.

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