Special to the Times
Spencer McQuaig, Thomas McTier, and Char Merine make up part four of the series:
Valiant senior Spencer McQuaig has left his mark on Valwood. A four-year member, he has helped pave the way during the rebuilding process of the team.
During his time as a varsity football player, he has grown and matured into such an integral part of the team that he has even earned himself a self-explanatory nickname amongst his peers.
“Spencer is really smart,” Head Coach Ashley Henderson said. “Around here, we call him ‘Coach’. He’s a leader and his teachers will tell you the same. He’s a great kid…he gets it from his parents.”
Quite the vocalist, McQuaig is not afraid to speak his mind for the sake of bettering his teammates.
“I’m going to tell the guys what they need to hear,” McQuaig said. “I’m going to tell you what to do and how to do it…It may not be in the nicest way, but they know it’s always for a good reason.”
While the younger players may remember him for his outspoken personality and leadership qualities, McQuaig will forever hold quite the fond memory of his teammates, particularly his fellow linemen.
“To me, that front five (on the line) has always been one unit,” McQuaig said. “Being able to mesh with those guys is something I’ll never forget. Those are my friends…You know that when you turn around they’re going to be there no matter what.”
Like most of his senior teammates, McQuaig is looking forward to his future. His college of choice is Ole Miss, but if he is unable to attend school he will remain in Georgia at either Valdosta State University of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He plans to major in marine biology.
He expresses heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the invaluable lessons that he has learned during his time as a Valiant, both on and off the field.
“Being here (at Valwood) has definitely helped me with time management,” McQuaig said. “But most importantly, the school and the faculty have taught me the importance of morals. We’ve learned the value of doing the right thing. Overall, I can say being here has made me a better man.”
McQuaig is the middle child of Doug and Derrith McQuaig. He has one older brother (Taylor) and one younger sister (Claire).
Thomas McTier is a senior lineman for the Valiants. He has played varsity football all four years of high school.
His natural and normal position on the field is on the defensive line, but his ability to adapt to any situation allows him to be valuable in many more aspects.
He occasionally spends time at tight end and is also a key component of the Valiants’ special teams.
“Thomas is such a good football player and just a great young man,” Coach Henderson said. “He plays tight end, defensive end…He’s a valuable asset to this football team.”
Like many of his fellow seniors, McTier has been a big part of the team’s rebuilding process.
“I’ve attended Valwood since Pre-K…I’ll never forget that state championship (in 2012),” McTier said. “It felt great after putting in so much work. It definitely paid off.”
McTier is multi-talented athletically. Aside from his prowess on the gridiron, he also spent two years as a member the varsity basketball and baseball teams at Valwood.
Perhaps most important, McTier’s abilities extend beyond the realm of athletics. He is also an outstanding student and puts forth a full effort to his studies.
“Thomas is having his best year academically,” Coach Henderson said. “He’s currently at around a 3.5 GPA. He’s a hard worker and way more mature than most kids his age.”
After high school, McTier plans to attend Valdosta State University and pursue a degree in either finance or business management. McTier credits the structure of Valwood’s academics for his progression in the classroom.
“It’s so much easier to handle a bigger work load now,” McTier said. “I don’t get overwhelmed because my teachers and coaches have been instrumental in helping us with time management.”
McTier is the son of Tom and Kelly McTier. He has one sister (Sarah).
Senior Char Merine is currently in his second season as a Valiant. Prior to his junior year, he moved with his family to Valdosta from Jasper, Fla. where he attended Hamilton County High School.
“(Char) is a tremendous leader for this football team, both on and off the field,” Coach Henderson said. “Great kid, great mother, great father…He does all the little things to make an impact.”
Merine is a dangerous presence on the football field, but his talents don’t end there. He is also a member of the school’s basketball and track teams.
Outside of athletics he also keeps himself busy throughout the school year. An active student, Merine was a regular member of the Student Government Association and the Superintendent’s Cabinet at Hamilton County High School prior to his transfer to Valwood.
“(The superintendent’s cabinet) was basically a panel that would meet once a month and discuss issues at the school,” Merine said. “Once a month, we would go over the needs of various clubs and organizations. We were hand-picked by the superintendent.”
Like many of his teammates, Merine’s humble demeanor often masks his constant efforts to improve himself and his teammates, whether in athletics or academics.
“Char is outstanding on the field,” Coach Henderson said. “But, in my opinion, the biggest play of his career is the exceptional score he earned on the ACT (exam). All of his hard work is opening doors that will take him such a long way in life and I’m couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Although unsure of what college he would like to attend, Merine plans to pursue a degree in either nursing or pre-dental after graduation. He would like to go into a field where he is able to help people, and he credits Valwood and his family for instilling those values in his everyday life.
“I’ve always been taught that you have to stay positive at all times,” Merine said. “It’s all about encouragement, whether in a game or in life. You can’t worry about an outcome. It’s only about being the best you can be.”
Merine is the son of Charles and Chris Merine. He has one older brother (Charles II) and one younger brother (Marik), the latter of which is currently a junior running back and defensive back for the Valiants.