By Julia Hernandez
The Varsity Boys Golf team started out their season on the right foot as they won the Cougar Invitational, placed second in the Riverside Poly Tournament, and placed third in Martin Luther King tournament. The Cougar Invitational took place on April 1, 2019, at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon. Riding their wave of success, the boys remain 3-2 in league matches and have goals of beating their rivals, Great Oak High School and Vista Murrieta High School. With hard work, both physically and mentally, the team may have the capability to not only win league, but also go far in California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) individually.
Although the team overall performed well at each of the tournaments, Senior Captain Jack Sunderland admitted to having a rough start to his season. “I’ve been playing pretty well recently, though,” he commented. He has been improving his shot accuracy by working hard and practicing every day. A previous struggle of Sunderland’s was becoming frustrated during a match, which would affect how well he would play. This season, however, he has “been really good at keeping [his] emotions in check.” In order for Sunderland to deem his last high school season a success, he is determined to make it to the CIF State Finals. After high school, he intends on being a walk-on player at Dixie State University. By keeping up with his daily practice routine and mentally preparing himself before each match, Sunderland’s future in this season, and at college, appears to become more and more likely to be successful.
With his eye on winning league also, Sophomore Chance Mitchell is practicing his swing as well as maintaining a strong mindset. Mitchell reflected on his strengths, like being able to “hit different types of shots” as an example. He practices the unlikely angles so that he is prepared for anything during a match. Although he can lose focus during games and tournaments, he enjoys playing with his team. “Our team is great at cooperating and working together, however, we don't all have a good day on the same day, so there is [sic] always one or two bad scores,” Mitchell said. The varsity team encourages one another to do their best at all times, and to push each other so they can achieve their goals this season.
Outside of teaching math, Head Coach Mr. Jonathan Mitchell trains the varsity team into the best athletes they can be. “They’re good golfers,” Coach Mitchell praised, “. . .but they take it for granted. . .[In order for them to get better,] they have to get mentally tougher on themselves.” The team practices every day at the Golf Club at Rancho California for couple hours. They spend their time hitting balls at the range, then playing some chipping and putting games. Just as the players have their own individual goals and improvements they would like to achieve this season, Coach Mitchell has goals for the team as a whole as well. “We want to win league, but we’ll go baby steps in. We’ll beat Great Oak first, beat Great Oak for the second time, then throttle Vista [Murrieta] when we play them the next time—just to embarrass them,” he described. By conquering the Pumas’ rivals, the team will be at the skill level they need to be at in order to succeed in the CIF rounds. Hoping his team does well enough to win league, Coach Mitchell hopes for the best for all of his players for the remainder of the season, especially the individuals who will continue onto CIF.
The outcome of the season purely depends on the athletes’ work ethic and their own desire to succeed. With the team’s task of getting “mentally tougher” in order to handle each difficulty they may face in a match, they will find themselves calmer instead of overthinking each shot they take. With consistent hard work and practice, the Varsity Boys Golf team will find themselves at CIF.
By Dolores Aguilus
Sadie Martinez ‘19
Establishing herself as a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ from early on, Senior Sadie Martinez experienced different types of extracurricular activities, ranging from dancing to different types of sports. While growing up, she always watched college softball and admired the college athletes, aspiring to be one of them someday. She was six years old when she first picked up a bat, and since then Martinez never looked back. Not only is she a second year varsity player on Varsity Softball, but she also plays for a travel softball team, the Firecrackers. Although the two teams are different, Martinez dedicates her time training on and off the field to improve her own skills almost everyday. “For travel ball, we practice three days a week down in San Diego, either conditioning or working on hitting or our defense. Whereas, for the school team, it isn’t as much,” she explained. When Martinez first started off on varsity last year, she struggled to have agreements with the coach, but as the season is now in session, Martinez wanted to end her last high school season on a good note. Through the years she learned that “no matter what it’s always good to have a strong bond/connection with your team.” After high school, Martinez has always dreamed of playing softball in college, but some dreams change and she is ready for what is to come. She plans to attend community college, then transfer, in hopes of receiving a degree in criminology. As this chapter of Martinez’s life is coming to an end, she is happy for what the future holds.
Chance Mitchell ‘20
Varsity Boys Golf
At a very young age, Junior Chance Mitchell was not allowed to play any contact sports, and since his father golfed, he wanted to give a try. When his parents gave him his own clubs, he “naturally developed a love for the game.” Ever since he started high school, he has been on the Varsity Boys Golf team, training almost everyday for about three hours and working on his technique. This season, he plans to golf to the best of his ability, hopefully win league, and go to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) in the postseason. Mitchell finds it difficult that even when he puts in a hundred percent, “there will be bad days, [and] even bad weeks.” The most difficult part about it is that he still needs to overcome whatever is in his way, and by knowing that there will always be better days after makes facing his challenges easier. He knows that no matter how much he struggles, he needs to stay motivated. For so long, his father has always been his inspiration because he is there when he needs him and he “can always make the rough days of golf easier or change them into better days.” Since his father is the head coach of the Varsity Boys Golf team it is beneficial because their relationship has only grown stronger from there and so have his techniques. Golfing has not only brought him closer to his father, but it has also taught Mitchell how to be more patient. Most importantly golf has taught him to always persevere through the ups and downs.
Ever since her first summer swimming program, Senior Kylie Ankeny wanted to keep swimming as her heart desired. For the past four years, she has been on the school’s Varsity Swim team, dedicating her time into a sport she loves. Ankeny spends two hours a day, five days a week, warming up and conditioning in order to improve her skills and build her stamina. Although, she has been swimming for a while, Ankeny has had her fair “share of problems,” but tries to keep her head up and swim through it. Swimming is not only her passion, but it has also been a way of training for water polo. Over the years, swimming has taught Ankeny to “just let it happen.” Ankeny described, “If I drop time, that’s great, and if not, then hopefully next time I will.” As the season comes to an end, she still wants to continue swimming, more for herself rather than competitively. “I feel like it went by too fast. It’s crazy to think that in a couple of weeks, I’ll never play a high school sport again, which is kinda sad,” Ankeny reminisced. Before the swimming season ends, her goal is to place in the top six for the hundred yard Breaststroke and fifty yard freestyle in the league finals. After high school, she plans to attend Brigham Young University, majoring in mathematics education to hopefully one day become a math teacher. With only a couple weeks left of being a high school athlete, Ankeny is preparing for the next chapter of her life.
By Dolores Aguilus
Antoinette Harris, also known as Toni Harris, began playing football when she was six years old, and played for Redford Union High School in Michigan as a wide receiver and cornerback before being moved to free safety. After high school, Harris moved to California to play free safety at East Los Angeles College, where she played for two years and became the first woman to play for that college. She even earned six offers to play a defensive football position at four-year universities.
Harris wants to be the first woman to play in the NFL. In January, she moved a step closer to her goal when she received a scholarship offer from Bethany College, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school in Kansas. NAIA schools can offer partial athletic scholarships, but athletes also can qualify for academic aid, which Harris does as an honors student at East Los Angeles College. Bethany Assistant Coach Tyrone Carter, who had previously coached at East Los Angeles, informed the coaching staff about Harris, and decided to extend her an offer.
Harris will become one of the first female non-kickers on a college football roster and may be the first to receive a scholarship offer. According to to ESPN, Harris stated that it was " pretty crazy," and it is "overwhelming but exciting at the same time." There have been multiple female athletes who have kicked for major college teams, including Katie Hnida at University of Colorado-Boulder and The University New Mexico, and April Goss at Kent State, but none received scholarships to come to school. There have been plenty of female athletes that played, but Harris would be the first at a skill position.
After one junior college coach did not allow her to play because of her gender, she came to East Los Angeles last summer. Throughout Harris’ life, many coaches did not believe that she could make it to the next level. That did not stop her from motivating herself to reach her goals and this offer is one step towards it. In the interview with ESPN she stated, "I can play at Bethany, so I can leave, but I think I would want to finish off my sophomore year. A lot of other schools are interested. The offers are going to be rolling in. My ultimate goal is to excel at a four-year [university] and become the first female NFL player. I know I can get there." Harris showed gratitude for the offer, but did not accept it because she wanted to keep her options open.
This has granted Harris opportunities, such as, starring in the Toyota Super Bowl LIII commercial. Her aspirations were aired for the whole world to see and to motivate other female athletes that anything is possible. Now, Harris attends Central Methodist University and plays as the safety and continues to work towards her goal every day.
By Christina Avina
Every now and then, the phrase “you play like a girl” is tossed around. Most people use this phrase as an insult or to imply that someone is weak. However, what they fail to realize is that this phrase is very degrading to female athletes. Male athletes have been known to take the spotlight when it comes down between genders, and are additionally paid more than female athletes. After growing up playing sports all of her life, Nikki Bondura, also known as Nikki B, has developed a passion for encouraging women to play sports and influencing young female athletes. Such passion led her to starting her weekly podcast, sponsored by MaxPreps, “Play Like A Girl.”
Every week, Bondura produces a podcast covering many topics, such as noteworthy female athletes or having a round table discussion based on essential subjects of the female sport world. The purpose for this podcast is to inspire and give female athletes something to relate to. Being an athlete can be difficult as is, but to be a female athlete is a different kind of struggle that only some can experience. Bondura touches upon subjects, including the drama, peer pressure, relationships and more issues that every athlete will face. The host herself speaks upon her own personal experiences, since she is familiar with the countless troubles and hardships young athletes face daily.
Bondura started off playing soccer and basketball, but later on, she lost interest for the two sports and decided to try golf. After discovering her hidden talent in golf, she began to grow and succeed as a player. In her junior and senior years of high school, she became captain of the varsity girls golf team and later attended a division one school to further her athletic career. Despite becoming a professional athlete, she decided to take a turn in her career and pursue expanding female athletics. “I’m so invested in women sports because the female athlete isn't highlighted as much as the men are,” said Bondura in podcast 1. After gaining experience from media and journalism classes, Bondura turned to social media to help promote her blogs, which would soon result in the creation of her podcast.
In the sport industry, women are often talked down to and found unequal, or even boring, in comparison to men. Unfortunately, this can affect and damage young female athletes’ confidence and outlook on their desired career. Previously set societal standards have made many women feel like men are superior in sports, including basketball, soccer, snowboarding, wrestling and other athletics. This podcast was created for the sole purpose of influencing, motivating, and giving athletes an outlet to understand and learn from. With the variety of topics discussed, Bondura is able to talk and educate on importance subjects such as picking a college, furthering sport careers, discussing complication in the sports, but most importantly, giving credit to the hard-working women who deserve it.
By Dolores Aguilus
After ending last season with an unfortunate overall record of 2-13, the Varsity Baseball team planned to have a complete turnaround this season and currently have an overall record of 16-6. With a new team and coaching staff, changes have been made and the goal of taking home both a league championship and a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championship may still be accomplished. Alongside the season, the team were prepared to face any challenges they encounter to make that goal a reality.
During the preseason, the new Head Coach Mr. Jeff Prickett had the opportunity to work with the baseball team and adapt to not only a new environment, but a new position. With fourteen years of coaching experience, Prickett wanted to strengthen the team’s abilities on and off the field which he believes will bring them success. “As the new head coach, I believe I’ve brought a new fresh start and a new perspective to the program,” he stated. Agreeingly, Senior Capitan Hayden Johns stated that the new head coach has brought positivity and a new spect bringing the team all together. From the start, Johns believed Prickett has “changed the attitude of the teammates either at practice or in games and the comradery that’s come together as a team.” Throughout the season, the coaches pushed the team to their limits and expected maximum effort. For the majority of the week, the team practices on the fields three to four hours a week. Their practice consists of mainly working on infield drills, specific plays, and improving their swings. To be more in depth, Prickett stated, “A practice day consists of warming up, working on fundamental skills, situational; offense/defense, and batting practice. We have to mix in pitcher bullpen and conditioning as well.” To show that they have been practicing, the competed in a preseason tournament. The Chino tournament consisted of six different teams, and the Pumas had defeated and after the course of two weeks, the team placed first in their first game(s).
Ensuring that the team does not have a repeat of last years challenges, Johns stated, “As a captain, my main job is to communicate to the coach how the team feels in certain situations and lead the team.” As the season is in session, Prickett concluded that their biggest obstacle is themselves, and as long as they stay focus on the main goal and continue to work hard and trust each other that will become their strength to success. Unfortunately, during the season, two starting pitchers were out for weeks due to injuries, but the team worked throughout by picking up where they left off and continued to play the game. According to Senior O’Neill McIntosh this season has taught him “how to be a good teammate. I’ve fulfilled various roles within each game and be apart of something greater, which was realizing that each of my teammates wants to win as bad as I do, and in order to do so, each player has to contribute when they’re called upon.” One of the team’s great attributes is, the depth of the team. “We have nineteen guys on our roster that have the ability to contribute and many of them at multiple positions. We are strong on the mound and have great senior leadership,” stated Prickett. With their determination strong and their spirits high, the team is bound to make a change on and off the field.
Starting the season with positive energy and a lot of hard work, they have dedicated themselves to not only the team, but the sport that has brought them together. With the season coming to an end the team want to play their very best against their rivals, Vista Murrieta and Great Oak High School. Prickett encouraged the team to fight through all the challenges they faced and believes that “there's no reason to ever go into a season without the mindset to win it all. We will focus on achieving that through team unity and doing things right on and off the field.
By Christina Avina
As the season comes closer to an end, the Varsity Boys Lacrosse team has been practicing and working eagerly to end with an improved year . Despite the decent record lacrosse left off with, the team faced some difficult challenges due to many athlete injuries. To help prevent those injuries this year, the team has focused on improving strength in order to avoid the limitation of players. Head Coach Mr. Lance Hale has been working with the Puma athletes for the past five years, and overall he has been coaching lacrosse for fifteen years. From his many years of experience, Hale is able to guide the team in the best way possible. “My expectations for this season is for many of our players to gain valuable game time and get better each game,” stated Hale. Although the team consists of many younger players, they have been able to use their abilities to work exceptionally with one another to build a strong team.
As one of the five captains, Senior Spencer Taylor is driven to better the skills and mentalities of his teammates. For about two hours, the team practices to strengthen their abilities and prepare for their games. These practices consist of individual position and full field drills, as well as scrimmages in teams of four versus three, and six versus six. Despite their very challenging schedules, Taylor and the team have managed to be successful. “We have to work as a team together because that is the most important thing,” said Taylor. Being given the title as captain of a team, comes with many responsibilities. “My other captains and I have to lead the team in some ways the coaches cannot. Such as things outside of practice and games.” Although there are multiple captains, each one takes part in running and helping maintain the team.
Unfortunately, the team had lost one of their key players, their starting goalie. However, teammate Sam Woodland trained hard to step up and fill that position for the team. Each individual player had a hope or goal they wanted to accomplish this year, such as Senior Co-Captain Jacob Carrillo. He aspired to win games and grow as a team, and as the season moved along the boys grew in talent and together sharing a brother-like bond, fulfilling Carrillo’s goals. The importance of hardwork and effort was a significant aspect that Carrillo expected from his teammates. “I wanted to go 110% every practice and make sure everyone showed up and put in max effort,” claimed Carrillo. To help develop the team, Carrillo frequently used the weekend as an opportunity to train alongside his teammates. With only one season left, Carrillo has been determined to make it the best one he has ever had with the Varsity Boys Lacrosse team.
Although in previous seasons the Varsity Boys Lacrosse team has faced many obstacles in which affected their performance. This did not allow the struggles they have faced define them as a team. Since the beginning of this season, the team has worked vigorously to make the improvements they needed to succeed for the remainder of the season.
By Christina Avina
After a tough season last year, the Varsity Softball team has been able to bounce back and make a new name for themselves. Although they are facing competitive teams, with an optimistic attitude and some new athletes, the team is focused on improving and remaining positive.
Senior Co-captain Emily Hernandez has been motivated to make this year redefining. Last year, the softball team had a harder time staying positive and being able to work together as one on the field. This year, however, the girls have created a goal to unite as one and function as a group rather than individuals. The senior players hope to bring the team far and give the future varsity players determination to continue progressing as a team. “We want to try and win at least half of our games to try and prove something to the incoming class and girls moving up to varsity next season to just play your heart out,” said Hernandez. As the season moves forward, the girls have been used their new strategies to keep the energy alive and to progress as a team. By cheering on and supporting their teammates throughout practices and games, Hernandez has noticed a difference in the energy between the players. Hernandez has been devoted to maintaining a strong bond with her teammates and keep a positive attitude for the game days to come.
Being a strong asset to the team, Senior Sadie Martinez continues to motivate her teammates throughout the season. In comparison to last year, the team is aware of the type of competition they have, which is why they plan to stay on their “A-game.” Martinez had high expectations for herself and the team this season. As she moved further she began to transcend as a player. From last season to now, Martinez accomplished the goals she had to become a stronger athlete. Everyone on the team, especially the coaches, have the right mindset in order to develop a stronger and faster team. Not only have the coaches been pushing the team to victory but these athletes have the desire to win, which is most likely the reason the team has been prosperous. “Our coaches are harder on us this year, and we really put in work at practice.” stated Martinez. Although each individual athlete has their own talents, when they all work together on the field, they are unstoppable. In many different ways, these girls contribute and bring something special to the team. In addition to being a hard working athlete, Martinez brings a light to the team with optimistic state of mind. Being a helpful and committed athlete, she utilizes her optimism to help carry the team.
The Varsity Softball team has already been able to improve from the previous season. However, they have faced a difficult season and with an unfortunate current league record of 1-9, they have been able to keep their heads up and prepare to finish the season strong.
By Tara Parsick
Sports were not always a focus point of the typical high school experience. Children were first required to go to school in 1852, but it would not be for another one hundred years before sports became a fundamental part of high school. Over time, students realized that they had leisure time after school, and decided to fill that void with sports. Kids would play a relaxed game of basketball or casually throw a football around to each other. When this started to become a routine for children after school, parents started to demand their kids had adult supervision. Thus, organized sports with a coach and official roster began to take place. In 1939, Little League Baseball was formed, which was one of the first sport activities for kids on a national level. The teams had one common goal, to compete for victory.
Competition is the basis for everything in high school, especially when it comes to sports. From the atmosphere at a football game to the pep talks coaches give the players at every practice, competition is embedded everywhere within high school sports. Many parents claim that there is too much stress put on athletes to win in high school, especially when these athletes are taking hard courses in school. However, sports cannot solely be blamed for every student who competes in high school. Students who are not competing to win a game may be fighting for the class rank they desire or even persuading others to vote for them as class president.
There are many proven benefits for high school students that compete in sports. Educational professors Thomas Good and Jere Brophy argued, “Competition encourages engagement, mystery of a task, and a desire to achieve your best. It teaches critical thinking and teamwork.” All of these characteristics are valuable for teenagers because they can take lessons learned in sports to future aspects of their life, like a career. Another important lesson that competition in sports can teach is how to deal with failure. Failure will occur throughout everyone's life, but when it does that just means that the problem needs to be identified and more effort is needed next time. Short run benefits for high school athletes are for those who are ready to take their athletic careers with them to college. As athletes transition through the different levels of a sport, they have to get accustomed to a new level of competition each season. The heightened competitive levels they experienced in high school will brace them for the shock of what level of competition college will have in store. “It keeps athletes on their toes if they are going to play in college and begin to know how to balance school and sports with how competitive the sport can be,” stated Senior Emily Hernandez of the Varsity Girls Softball team. Balancing how to be a good student and a good athlete is an important lesson that they can bring with them to college.
The benefits to competition in high school sports outweighs any downside to it. Students are taught important lessons from competition that can be useful for them to succeed in the future. Parents are too busy sheltering their children that they are blinded by the advantages of competition in high school sports.
By Aishlyn Bruce
The school is composed of many talented people that are involved with with sports, drama, art, music, and several other activities available for students to pursue on campus. Freshman Khloe Bernice is one of many talented athletes as she pursues her dreams in gymnastics. Gymnastics combines the skills of body control, coordination, and strength with tumbling, all performed in an artistic manner. Bernice accomplished this through the years of training to build her endurance to fulfill her goals.
Bernice has been a gymnast since she was four years old, and started partaking in competitive meets when she was nine years old. She started in a training facility gym at Elevate in Sacramento, followed by Naydenov in Washington. Bernice now attends a gym called Fallbrook Gymnastics Club. “My favorite part about gymnastics is competing because all that hard work I put at the gym gets paid off and I get to perform while having fun,” stated Bernice. The vault is the gymnastics structure in which gymnasts perform, as well as the skill performed using it. The floor refers to a specially prepared routine by gymnasts in which they show their skills of jumping, dancing, and tumbling. Her experiences as a gymnast have paid off as she has received many awards and achievements. “I have earned two national titles in 2017 on floor and vault, two state titles on floor, and all around, and I placed third out of sixty girls that I competed with,” explained Bernice. She is motivated to pursue gymnastics in her adulthood as she keeps working hard and dedicating herself to her passion.
Bernice did not just become a talented athlete out of the blue. It took time, motivation, and inspiration for her to come this far in her gymnast career. Bernice stated, “Kerrie Strug was my inspiration to become a better gymnast because when she vaulted in the 1996 Olympics, she broke her ankle and still stood up and did another vault to win the United States the All Around Gold Metal. She definitely pushed me to be the best I could be.” Having an Olympic athlete as an inspiration pushes Bernice more and more everyday to better herself as an athlete, as it teaches her that trials and tribulations will try to defeat her success, but blocking the adversities and doing her best will get her far in her career. Bernice, just like any other athlete, has strengths in a certain area of the sport. “I have always loved tumbling and had a passion for tumbling on the floor, so I would consider that one of my strengths in gymnastics,” she described. Along with her strengths come weaknesses as well, as Bernice said, “My weaknesses are beam and bars. Beam has always been one of my weaknesses because you have a fear of what if I fall off and get hurt and that is something I need to overcome. Bars is just an event I never trained as much as the others.” Strengths and weaknesses taught her that every athlete what they need to improve on, and what they excel in as they will benefit from it in the long run.
Bernice shows others that anyone can pursue a sport, but those who dedicate time, effort, and passion towards it can become the best version as imagined.
By Christina Avina
With a strong passion for school and sports, three boys on the Varsity Boys Basketball team were able to receive the title of being a part of the National Honor Society (NHS), as well as being top of their class. Senior Jonathan Galan and Juniors Jacob Schmidt and Jayden Johnson work vigorously to keep up with schoolwork while dominating on the courts. Previously in December, the three players were awarded for their academic achievements–though Johnson did not join NHS, he qualified.
Galan was first introduced to basketball by his father, who urged him to play at the Bella Vista Recreation Center alongside his older sister. Towards his seventh and eighth grade year of school, basketball started to become more serious as his coaches began to recognize his natural talent. Throughout high school, Galan learned to stay focus on his academics above everything else. Galan stated, “I learned to consistently keep my priorities straight and not pay attention to any distractions.” Over time, he developed the ability to manage his time and stay energized. Becoming a member of NHS was a glorious feeling to Galan, considering the strong efforts he has made to achieve this type of academic success.
From recreational basketball to being apart of the Varsity Boys Basketball team on campus, Schmidt has become a devoted player to basketball since he has improved as a player. He stated, “Each level required more commitment, and the more levels I went up, the more I took the game seriously.” This year has been the most challenging for Schmidt, taking into account that he is a starting player, leading scorer, and is enrolled in four Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Because of his dedication to school, Schmidt takes advantage of the free time he has to complete any work he can. All of his hard work paid off the moment he was accepted into NHS. Schmidt claimed, “It was an amazing feeling to know I was a part of such a select and prestigious group.” With the intentions of continuing his basketball career in college, Schmidt will proceed to strive for nothing but success.
Johnson became infatuated with basketball at a young age. After watching a basketball game, he undertook the sport and discovered his secret talents. Not long after entering high school, Johnson learned that maintaining his school and sport career became difficult. However, no matter how hard school got, Johnson always made the effort to put his academics first. He has moved his way up to being one of the top students of the 2020 class. But due to his unfortunate back injury Johnson is unsure of continuing basketball after high school, despite his strong love for basketball. “Academics will always come first so I try to just take it one day at a time,” said Johnson, “I can always fall back on my brain if basketball doesn’t work out.” Even in the case Johnson ends his athletic career, he has a bright future ahead of him.
These three talented boys not only share the love of the same sport, but they also share dedication to succeed in their academic careers. These Puma athletes have created close relationships with each other on and off the court for many years. And although they are each individually special, together they create a stronger team.
By Aishlyn Bruce
On February 6, National Signing Day, a nationwide event that all of the student athletes who are committed to a college participate in, took place. National Signing Day was traditionally the first day that a senior in high school can sign a binding National Letter of Intent (NLI) for a collegiate sport with a school. The five athletes that signed were Seniors Cynthia Martin to California Baptist University for Track and Cross Country, Johanna Hunck to California State University San Marcos for Cross Country and Track, Alicia Hernandez to Concordia University for Track and Cross Country, Payton Siurek to Vanguard University for Soccer, and Joey Kerestes to University of Texas, San Antonio for Soccer.
University of California (UC) Santa Cruz had an interest in Hernandez for Cross Country and Track, but she was not offered anything, until her offer from Concordia came along. “I love the coaches and the team, it reminds me of my own team here at Chaparral High School, we are like a little family and they have the same vibe that I like,” stated Hernandez. Transitioning from a high school team to a college team can be a big leap, and feeling at home with the new team is comforting while growing up. Hernandez is majoring in Biology to receive her bachelor's degree, then eventually planning to attend graduate school to get her master’s degree and doctorate in Marine Biology. For the period of time that Hernandez has been running, with a team or just for fun, she has always felt a passion for it. Hernandez will strive for her future at her new home, Concordia University.
Doing a sport for so long can teach one valuable morals in life. Siurek said, “It has not been easy, but it has taught me the importance of teamwork, my teammates became my best friends.” The importance of teamwork is a valuable lesson to learn in every sport. To make the team productive and get to the goal one wants, teamwork must be a key factor. Siurek had three previous offers to Clarke University, Johnson and Wales University, and Eastern Oregon prior to Vanguard University and she chose this school because it is close to not only the beach, but her family as well. Along with the location, “I also get a strong Christian education as well to further my education in nursing,” she stated. Her plans after high school are to major in Nursing and start a non-profit organization for vaccines for those less fortunate. She is one of many dedicated athletes who want to do great things that not all people in the world can afford.
As all of these athletes sign their way towards their future, they plan to do great things in their near future, as they move on past high school and into the real world. Each and every one of them is dedicated and strives to be the best student athlete they can be now and for the next four years of their life
By Elizabeth Clavin
After receiving a scholarship from California Baptist University (CBU) early, Senior Cynthia Martin is ecstatic about her commitment to the college and beyond grateful for this opportunity and the journey that lies ahead. Her passion and drive for Cross Country made her desirable to an assortment of colleges. She has not received any other scholarships, but nonetheless, numerous colleges have sent out emails and letters stating that they would like her to attend their school. For example, one of the colleges that contacted her and stood out amongst others was Whittier College. Evidently, she had chosen to commit to CBU due to the scholarship they provided her. Martin was given this offering approximately two months ago after visiting the campus. The provided scholarship to CBU is partial, meaning that the college will pay half of the yearly costs; however, if she raises her cumulative GPA, then the college is willing to pay the rest of her tuition. “I have always planned on going to college. Cal Baptist was not my dream college at first, but whenever I found out it was actually a school that most of my family went to, I was like, ‘okay, yeah. This feels pretty awesome,’” Martin remarked. During her college years, she hopes to study sports medicine which in a major aspiration of hers. She hopes that her love and determination for cross country grows even more, and she plans to continue running and training after college. “I have been in cross country legitimately for four years, but overall seven years,” Martin stated. Meaning that she had practiced herself or with some friends for three years, then joined an equitable team four years ago. She received First Team all league twice, making it to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) preliminaries and finals, enduring state CIF, and being awarded as team captain. CBU has offered Martin more than just a scholarship, in addition, it is a Christian based college along with being a Division I school, which will allow her to join a strong team. Overall, this is an exciting opportunity for Martin, and she is eager to see what is in store for her.
By Aishlyn Bruce
Many people tend to assume that STUNT is not a sport without knowing exactly what it is, and how much effort is dedicated to this sport. STUNT is currently the fastest growing female sport in the country, as it combines the athletic components of cheer while including pyramids, tumbling and stunts. The athletes focus on technical aspects of the sport rather than crowd-leading elements. In contrast, it is different than sideline cheer because sideline cheerleaders attend and cheer at other sport events, such as football, volleyball, wrestling and basketball games. On the other hand, STUNT executes short routines through a head-to-head performance on the floor at the same time. The games are split into four quarters. The first quarter is partner stunts, the second quarter is jumps and tumbling, the third quarter is pyramids, and the fourth quarter is a combination of all three quarters into one routine. As the sport becomes more popular, people will learn how much hard work truly put forward by the athletes.
Head coach of the STUNT team, Brittany Clark, has been a coach for Chaparral Cheer for the past three years and started the STUNT program last year. Last year’s season was the inaugural year, as it was a brand new sport to the school. “Overall, the Chaparral STUNT team was successful in winning majority of our league and non-league games. We were blessed to have such hard working athletes that were motivated to learn the sport just as the coaches were,” explained Clark. STUNT had a very successful season and learned to thrive throughout the year. Practices are held two times a week and two hours a day. Jenna Taylor, a STUNT athlete, explains what the daily expectations of a practice looks like. “The team practices their standing tumbling, partner stunts, jumps and pyramids. Then, for the last thirty minutes or so, we condition,” described Taylor. It takes these athletes months to learn a variety of routines, for a total of twenty-four routines to execute. Improving and perfecting the technique on these routines takes hours of practice, and the athletes need to adjust to fast-paced learning and picking up the routines quickly.
The STUNT team competes against many other high school teams in the area such as Elsinore High School, Temecula Valley High School Murrieta Mesa High School. This year, the STUNT season has improved tremendously. “This year, our program has more than doubled the amount of athletes on the STUNT team which is an advantage to learning the routines at a faster rate and dividing up individual talent to meet the necessary components of each routine,” explained Clark. As more talent is revealed to the team, the program progresses more and more as they prepare for games to start. Taylor explains her expectations for the upcoming season and what she pictures for herself. “This season, I plan on working more on my strength and endurance so that my overall performance can improve,” she said. The athletes and coaches are excited to start the new season. The STUNT games will begin at the end of February and continue through the month of April. Even though it is still early on in the season, the team is determined to finish strongly to the end.
By Christina Avina
Esly Morales ‘20
Varsity Girls Soccer
Starting her high school sports career on the Varsity Girls Soccer team was an accomplishing moment for Junior Esly Morales. As a kid, Morales began playing soccer at seven years old because her parents wanted her to play. It was not until later on that she began to enjoy playing the sport. Throughout her soccer career, Morales had also participated on club teams, providing her with the experience in an atmosphere with higher levels of competitiveness. Morales was also part of her middle school soccer team. Entering high school Morales became one of the few freshman that made the team, Morales felt she accomplished in one of her goals as an athlete. Taking part in a varsity team came with a lot of responsibility for Morales. She felt it was a big change to adjust her schedule and learning to manage her time. “Right after school I had to go to practice, then when I got home it would be late,” said Morales, “And I still had to do my chores and homework. It was pretty hard to get used to.” Although Morales felt she has not changed much as a player since freshman year, she set more goals to accomplish this upcoming season. Despite playing soccer most her life, Morales does not have serious goals to continue playing. She likes to just play and live in the moment. Morales stated, “I’ll let the future decide, I haven't thought about that too much. I’m just focusing on what’s going on now.” In previous years, the girls soccer team has had unfortunate seasons. Morales believes this year can potentially be a better year, considering the relationships and bonds between each other are much stronger than before. This upcoming season, Morales plans to enter with a clean slate and have no expectations based off last season. Her main goal is to receive more playing time, that way she can contribute even more to the team’s success. In spite of past records, Morales will continue to strive and settle for nothing but the very best.
Patricia Alvarado ‘19
Varsity Girls Water Polo
Captain of both the Varsity Girls Water Polo and Varsity Girls Swim teams, Senior Patricia Alvarado, landed a spot on both varsity teams her freshman year. After a few years of swimming, Alvarado became intrigued with water polo and decided to give it a try. During her eighth grade year, Alvarado started her water polo career, and attended club practices in order to prepare for high school tryouts. In the beginning of her high school athletic career, Alvarado was a bit intimidated to be participating on a team with older girls. Nevertheless, now that her senior year has arrived and she is the team captain, Alvarado can set an example and be a role model to the younger girls on the team. In the past three years of being on varsity for two sports, Alvarado has learned a lot about managing school work and sports. During freshman year, Alvarado was unexpectedly hit with the commitment of two teams and her academics. “It was difficult because I started taking AP classes as a freshman too, so the workload was definitely hard,” said Alvarado, “I definitely went nights without sleeping, then had to play sports the next morning.” Over time, Alvarado has grown to become passionate about both water polo and swim. In contrast to becoming captain to both varsity teams, Alvarado feels water polo is just a hobby and does not see herself playing later in life. But if the opportunity to play in college approaches, she is not opposed to it. In spite of the fact that Alvarado has participated in swim for many years, she feels that within the past seasons of water polo, she has grown to become a more powerful player. Alvarado claims, “Everyone gets better with experience, and especially when you are playing with such high level athletes.” With season drawing near, Alvarado has high hopes for the team to have a great year and potentially make California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).
By Madison Vanesler
Senior Trevor Hinkel received a scholarship to Pepperdine University to play baseball. Pepperdine was Hinkel’s first official offer, Hinkel said that the reason he chose Pepperdine was because he had formed relationships with the coaches and he liked the way they coached. He also said he likes the location of the the campus. His scholarship to Pepperdine covers eighty percent of tuition and fees, Hinkel also said he was excited when he received the offer to attend Pepperdine University. Although Pepperdine University was his first offer, it was not his only offer he also received an offer from the Air Force Academy. Along with continuing to play baseball throughout college, Hinkel said that he would like to major in business, which is a program Pepperdine is known for, while also minoring in economics. Hinkel received his scholarship to Pepperdine during the fall of his junior year. He is excited and grateful that he has been offered this scholarship.On campus after school with his team, Hinkel practices baseball for about two hours, five days a week. Outside of campus, he practices for an additional five to six hours throughout the week. Hinkel said that on the off seasons he limits his arm throwing and does heavy workouts. Hinkel has had plans to attend college and play college baseball for a long time. He said has been playing baseball since he was little and that his dad had introduced him to baseball. Hinkel said, “It’s cool, it’s lucky, it’s a blessing.” Hinkel sees his scholarship as an amazing opportunity.