By ROBB HEMMELGARN
Celina High School graduate Carey Poor, could toss a discus,
kill a volleyball, and nail a jump shot better than anyone.
At her high school Athletic Hall of Fame induction in 2000,
former Celina athletic director Mike Hyland referred to Poor,
now Carey Walley, as perhaps the “greatest athlete to
ever wear the green and white.”
If you compile her individual athletic accomplishments on paper,
it’s difficult to deny Hyland’s comments as anything
but the truth.
The 1992 alumnus departed Celina with 12 varsity letters to
her credit, and she finished her basketball career as the Lady
Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorer, among many other records.
She was voted First Team All-Ohio, as well as WBL Player of
the Year in both volleyball and basketball as a senior.
These awards are just the tip of the iceberg and to list the
remainder would require much more space than is provided for
Despite enough awards to justify building an extra room on to
her parent’s house, the down-to-earth attitude of Walley
allows her to quickly give credit where she feels it’s
“I was very blessed to be surrounded by a group of girls
that worked very hard at making one another better,” she
explained. “We played a very strong schedule during the
season, and each game, win or lose, we tried to improve our
Of all of the successful teams Carey had the opportunity to
be a part of, her most memorable season without a doubt, came
during her junior year in 1991 on the basketball court.
The Lady Bulldogs ended the year winning the school’s
first and only state championship in any sport as they were
crowned the Division I state champions, finishing with a 24-4
In their 53-50 victory over Rocky River Magnificant in the state
championship game, Walley contributed 17 points, making her
17th birthday, which happened to fall on the same day, all that
“That was probably the biggest game of my life that I’ll
never forget. I can’t really explain it. Maybe it’s
because you’re very impressionable at the age of 17, or
maybe it’s because you’re in front of family and
friends, or maybe it was being a part of something that Celina
had never accomplished before. Whatever it may be, I’ll
never forget the feeling,” she remarked.
The basketball title transpired at the most celebrated time
in Mercer County’s rich athletic history, specifically
in girls hoops.
“Lynn Bihn (Fort Recovery), Jenny Rauh and Amy Siefring
(Coldwater) were all great players that also led their teams
to state titles in the early 1990s. I had the opportunity to
get to know the three of them well during high school. One neat
thing was that I continued playing them on a regular basis throughout
college as they all played at Xavier, who was in our league,”
Following her career at Celina, Walley attended the University
of Notre Dame on a basketball scholarship, where she was selected
as a team captain during both her junior and senior campaigns.
Walley recalls fondly having had the opportunity to play national
power Connecticut live on ESPN, but admits nothing can quite
surpass the feeling of performing at St. John Arena in the state
“To look up in the crowd and see your friends and family
and feel all of the community support is something that’s
just undescribable,” explained Walley. “I had a
lot of fun playing in college, but nothing can recapture the
feeling of playing high school basketball.”
Following her graduation from Notre Dame, Walley was hired by
the Amoco Oil Corporation and headed west to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
While there, she met her future husband Chris, and several years
later the couple moved back to Ohio to be closer to family and
The Walley’s currently live in Springboro, and Carey is
employed by MeadWesvaco in Dayton, as a Marketing Manager. Last
December, the Walley’s welcomed their first child, Ridge
Christopher, to the family.
Although it’s difficult between balancing work and family
obligations, Walley still manages to occasionally find time
for a pickup game of hoops and to keep up on Celina Athletics.
“I play basketball whenever I get a chance,” remarks
Walley. “With having a small child it’s difficult,
but I still love the competition. I get home as much as possible
to spend time with my family, and I still keep tabs on how the
Bulldogs are doing in all sports.”
Although athletics has taught Walley many important lessons
that she’s been able to apply in her life, at this point
she has no desire to embark into the coaching arena.
“My true love has always been playing the game, but as
my son gets older, you never know,” concluded Walley.