New Hope-Solebury's Chuma & Wissahickon's Myers Named Univest Featured Athletes

Thanks to our continued partnership with Univest Financial, will once again recognize a male and female featured athlete each week. The recognition is given to seniors of high character who are students in good standing that have made significant contributions to their teams or who have overcome adversity. Selections are based on nominations received from coaches, athletic directors and administrators.

Univest’s Featured Female Athlete (Week 7)

Mia Chuma was born to play volleyball. Measuring in at 6-1, the New Hope-Solebury senior is the ultimate finisher at the net and this fall surpassed the seldom-reached 1,000-kill mark. She has turned her considerable talents into an opportunity to compete at the Division 1 level and has made a verbal commitment to Georgetown University. “One of the really cool things about Mia is she is a kid that thinks of herself last honestly,” New Hope-Solebury volleyball coach Chris Marchok said. “I have three senior leaders on this team, and they are servant leaders in the truest sense of the word, and Mia, for all of her talents, for all of her accomplishments, she is first and foremost focused on her teammates, she’s focused on the team. I get officials thanking me after the game, saying it was such a pleasure to watch – who was #23. They look at the hardest hitting kid out there, and they see her when other kids fail, when other kids stumble – she’s the first one patting the kid on the back, cheering her up. For me, the really, really neat thing is to see a kid who’s so focused on others have that kind of individual success.”

Volleyball is just one small piece of Chuma’s busy life. Her resume off the court is a dazzling one. She has been a member of student council since freshman year and this year serves as president of the entire student body. Chuma also excels in the classroom and is a member of the National Honor Society, just one of a long list of organizations vying for her time. While that’s the student-athlete most see and know, those who know her best know that there’s another Mia Chuma, the Mia Chuma who doesn’t just say she’s a Ukrainian-American but passionately lives it. So, on Feb. 24, 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale assault on Ukraine, it was personal for many reasons. Not the least of which was the fact that Chuma – whose grandparents on both sides were part of the first wave of Ukrainians who immigrated to the United States between 1945 and 1950 - had a cousin and uncle fighting in the war.

“The women and children have thankfully escaped safely so that’s good, but I do have family still there and a lot of friends as well,” Chuma said. “It’s heart wrenching. At the start of the war last February, it was really hard just going to school. There are always wars and crazy things going on in the world, but once it’s your people, it’s totally different, which made me rethink everything. It was really weird going to school every day – how my friends went through the day like everything was normal. Meanwhile, my social media fee was flooded with images and news and also propaganda, so there was just a lot. Many tears were shed, but now the tears have dried. We’re doing a lot more activities and really trying to help people. Now it’s time for action. We’re tired of being mournful.”  Among other things, Chuma organized a Ukrainian Humanitarian Collection Drive within her community. “I also made a video montage for one of my father’s events where he was MCing for a fundraiser,” she said. “There was a Shady Brook Farm event, and he’s also in one near Montauk in the Hamptons which was another event where they used my video as well, kind of raising awareness. Also, within (Ukrainian) Scouts we have a lot of fundraising, online and just spreading news that way. Over the summer, I was a Ukrainian Camp counselor because I’m in Ukrainian Scouts, and so we actually had a couple of refugee kiddoes under the age of 11 with us, so we got to bond with them.”

For those unfamiliar with Ukrainian Camp, Ukrainian Scouts and Ukrainian School, you’re not alone. All are a unique but important part of Chuma’s life and heritage, a part that defines who she has become. Which is much more than just a star volleyball player and student leader. (All are explained in Chuma’s story that can be accessed at the link below.)

Chuma – who is still going through the application process and awaits acceptance - plans to major in marketing in Georgetown’s business school with her sights set on one day becoming marketing director of a luxury brand. “I definitely think in some way policy will also be part of my future, tying in what I’m passionate about which is fashion, visuals and aesthetics with the business and analytical side,” she said. “Seeing demographics and using platforms for good since so many industries and brands have very much influence on social media. I like threading the two of them together as part of my future.”

To read Chuma’s complete profile, please click on the following link:

Univest’s Featured Male Athlete (Week 7)

The chance to play football the last two years has meant a great deal to Gavin Myers, who was a bit of a sports vagabond, playing soccer, golf and basketball outside of lacrosse season in the spring. With a series of dings and dents – including a gruesome broken leg, requiring a long rehabilitation, just one game into his high school soccer career – Myers he sought the green light from his mother and grandmother to hit the gridiron. “My mom didn’t want me to get injured,” he said, after recalling the comeback from the soccer injury that went from a wheelchair to crutches to a walking boot to a half-year of rigorous rehab. “I had broken a lot of bones in my sports career, so that didn’t help me to convince her. My grandma was the same way. My brother got to play his senior year, so that I kind of did it for me. I was, like, ‘You let him play, you’ve got to let me play.’”

What also did it for him was his life approach of “you only live once” and taking it from there. “Just a mindset I always have,” he explained. “I knew high school would be the only opportunity to play football, if I really want to try it out.” Translation: The opportunity to play organized football was there, and he wanted to grab it after playing golf in the fall of his sophomore year in place of soccer, which just didn’t do it for him. “I probably could have gone back to the soccer team and started, if I wanted,” he said. “But you only live once, and I really wanted to try football.” To that end, no regrets. At all. “I never played (organized football) before,” said the receiver/hybrid linebacker. “It was always just with friends and family, like in the backyard, but I always wanted to play. It’s been great fun. I’ve got to say that’s really been my favorite sport, even though it’s only been two years.”

First-year coach Rory Graver came over to Wissahickon from Pope John Paul II with no preconceived notions about the holdovers he had inherited. Myers caught his eye, both with his play and leadership, and quickly became one of his favorite players. “He is someone who has improved greatly,” said Graver. “He came out last year, which was his first year, and he was kind of learning the sport. This year, he has taken a lot of strides as a football player. We’ve been telling our guys that, while they may not see the results on the scoreboard, we are getting better as a football program and as football players. Gavin has been a huge part of that.”

The leadership skills touted by Graver will also be expected from lacrosse coach Matt Conway, who describes Myers as an outstanding two-way midfielder, which, he added, has become a bit of an endangered species. “I trust him in every situation,” said Conway. “It’s rare to have a midfielder like him. These days, you are either an offensive midfielder or a defensive midfielder. There are not many two-way guys. For us, though, he is definitely our best two-way midfielder. He is kind of like a do-it-all kind of guy for us. He is a very smart player.” But it is leadership skills, above all else, that makes Myers stand out, leading him to be named a captain back in the summer. Conway said: “That is because of how mature he is and how he celebrates for his teammates. He is just a natural-born leader. He’s a great kid. He’s very mature. He’s probably the kid out there on the field that I trust the most at any given point.”

Myers is primarily looking at following the family tradition at Penn State, although UCLA and USC have not been ruled out. He will likely limit sports in college to the club level, and his heavily involved in Mini-Thon at Wissahickon and some other clubs, such as SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). As for maintaining his weighted 4.84 GPA, Myers says he often finds himself so wiped out that he gets up early to do his work and also meets up with friends at the Whole Foods in Spring House in study groups.

None of that comes as a surprise to Graver. “He is a leader by example, in terms of the way he come to practice each day and the way he competes,” said the coach. “He is also what you want, as a student-athlete, in terms of what he does in the classroom and in the community. He is a phenomenal student. He works extremely hard. He’s going to have a bright future for sure.”

To read Myers’ complete profile, please click on the following link: