When we hear about famous athletes, we hear about their stunning athletic ability and the gold, silver and bronze that dangle around their necks. But, what we do not hear is what shaped them to be the athletes they are today, and the challenges that have shaped their journeys.
HHS boasts many notable alumni in the athletic field including Linda Jezek, a silver medalist in swimming for the U.S. team, and Scott Erickson, a pitcher in the MLB. It would not be a surprise if the next big athletic star is a budding student on their way to the big leagues..
Perhaps it’s your chemistry partner or that person you pass by in the halls. Maybe it could be your best friend. Either way, here are a few talented athletes with ambitious aspirations.
Murillo has been playing football since he was six, while Michelotti started much later as a freshman but notes that he picked it up quickly.
Both cite injuries, particularly concussions as major deterrents. Michelotti shares his experience of injuring his knee and breaking his leg freshman year, stating that it put a toll and really harmed his motivation. Murillo confirms this, adding that with an injury, “you are not a 100 percent anymore.”
The camaraderie between freshman Gilbert Murillo and sophomore Nate Michelotti is apparent as the JV football players opt for their photo with matching football sweatshirts.
Both boys hope to get a scholarship for football. Murillo also aspires to earn a scholarship from a “big name” school. Michelotti said getting a scholarship is “one in a million” but hopes he and his teammate will make it if they keep working on academics and athletics.
Freshman Naomi Danner is a rising star on the varsity golf team. She has been playing golf for three years, and states the whole purpose of playing golf is to get a scholarship to college.
Danner said there are bigger opportunities concerning scholarships for college golf as opposed to [a sport like] basketball as “not many girls play [golf]”, but maintains that a lot of “effort and time” still needs to be put in. Her hard work is apparent through the shots she makes, shooting a 37 in the first golf game of the season.
Her favorite thing about golf is striking the ball and the feeling of making clean contact with it. She states that the most important part of golf is putting, as at the end of the day, “you have to get the ball in the hole.”
Mary Wang, varsity tennis co-captain whose goal for this year is to see her team succeed this season. She communicates that many girls on the team practice after the daily two hour practice and on weekends as well. Wang says that tennis has been present in her life ever since she was eight years old.
Wang says that a common misconception about tennis is that it is often not recognized as a sport or that it is really easy to play. Wang disagrees with this sentiment, saying that “tennis is a really challenging sport and whether you play singles or doubles each person needs to have a certain mental mindset that is very difficult to achieve.”
She hopes that tennis will remain in her life, possibly as an intramural sport in high school.
Erin Slaney, a junior who plays varsity water polo, has been playing water polo for eight years. Slaney plays year-round and has recently won second place at the Junior olympics with her team. Her goal is to go into a Division One school for water polo, the highest level in college athletics. Slaney states that although it is competitive, she has been “working hard on it”, and apparently so!
Ahead of college, Slaney hopes to play professionally in Europe, as there is no professional water polo in the U.S. Slaney said that water polo is sometimes regarded as an “easy” sport. Slaney’s experience of playing water polo while having tendonitis in her knees disproves this misconception. When asked what is a big motivating factor, Slaney reaffirms that water polo has always been a sport she has loved and that “there [has] never been a time I’ve never had fun.”
Sophomore Sonya Bonne plays JV water polo and aspires to play at a collegiate level. In regards to their experiences in water polo, Bonne shares her a story of being allowed to play in an all-boys team.
Sophomore Olivia Sheets is a goalie on JV water polo and also aspires to play at a collegiate level, but does not rule out playing professionally. Regarding college, Sheets said that the area in which you apply to can be a determining factor as water polo is a “west coast sport” and playing it on the east coast is “easier because there is less people that play it.” Sheets cites her all leagues coaches award as one of her greatet accomplishments regarding water polo.
Elena Kamas, a senior on the cross country team, hopes to continue running in college on a club team as a means to keep fitness. She cites that Division One teams are a “huge time commitment,” which is why she is opting for a club team. Kamas has been running ever since eighth grade and said that as running is generally a low contact sport, common injuries occur when you “twist in unexpected ways.”
Kamas shares insight on the recruiting process for running, stating that it is not as intense as a sport like football, which is “more competitive.” Kamas contrasts the two sports saying that the recruiting process for running follows a simple process of talking to coaches and receiving a special application.
Trina Chou, a junior, is an aspiring lacrosse player who plays year-round — three of the four seasons she plays with her travel team. Her current aspirations include college lacrosse, and Chou said that the recruitment process involves going to camps and tournaments, all whilst “trying to get coaches interested in you.”
Chou is actively doing all abovementioned things. Her biggest accomplishment thus far would be remaining undefeated with her travel team, an accomplishment she is “pretty proud” of. Although she has her sights on college lacrosse, Chou comments that if possible, she would like to continue playing beyond college. According to Chou, there is a small women’s league outside of college.
Lacrosse is not a sport HHS offers, and while this has been a challenge for Chou in the recruitment process, she states that “luckily, high school does not have much of an impact.” She cites location – playing an east coast sport while living in the west coast — as a greater disadvantage, but said that she has “learned to work past [it]” and will continue working hard.
Good luck to all the athletes!