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 emily pham
University of Oregon
With sharpened skills and outstanding potential, Senior Andrew Mosiello is currently anticipating what the future holds for him as he continues to pursue his passion: playing baseball. Mosiello began his baseball career at the age of four, inspired by his parents. Since then, Mosiello has been practicing every day possible. His potential has allowed him to commit early into the University of Oregon on a full-ride scholarship to play baseball. Although he got other offers from twelve other schools and some from the Pacific-Twelve Conference (Pac-12), a successful conference with numerous achievements that is made up of twelve prestigious universities, Mosiello believed his most ideal offer was from the University of Oregon. Mosiello explained, “I chose the University of Oregon because I like the inside and outside of the campus and believe it is the right school for me.” He was surprised when he received the offer from the University of Oregon because he did not expect himself to qualify for this offer. Mosiello stated, “I did not expect such outcomes and it feels great to receive this [offer] and scholarship.” He continues to venture deeper into the world of baseball and has taken part in numerous practices with his friends and teammates. Mosiello has learned that partaking in a sport in high school gave him the ability to learn what is right and wrong, and sports helped him prepare for the bigger world of baseball. He understands that all players will maintain some knowledge gained from the coaches and players when the season comes to an end. When the team wins or loses, the knowledge and skills obtained in each practice and game can be used in the future of their careers. After being a part of the team for a number of successful seasons, Mosiello has also learned to balance baseball and school work since he is determined to not let anything stop him from succeeding in his dream career. Mosiello has high hopes to earn his desired degree and pursue a career playing baseball in the future.
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.
BY CHristina avina
Alyssa Wenzel, University of Northern Colorado
Since the beginning of high school, Senior Alyssa Wenzel had been receiving offers from multiple colleges to further her softball career. A variety of colleges, such as San Diego State University, California State University, Northridge, and California State University Fullerton, had their eyes on her. She had first received her scholarship as a freshman, but later announced her commitment to the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) as a junior. Wenzel found her love and passion for softball at a fairly young age, Wenzel stated, “I started when I was six and I never stopped.” Wenzel had always dreamt of playing softball in college, and now she will be playing for a Division I (DI) school. With nearly a full-ride scholarship to UNC, Wenzel will also be majoring in broadcasting. She found the decision in choosing which school was best for herself not difficult. Wenzel had always known she wanted to expand and gain more experiences outside of California, therefore choosing UNC was no trouble. Wenzel claimed, “I did not want to stay here in California.” Despite playing softball, Wenzel plans to stay busy throughout her journey in college. “Obviously, education is first,” said Wenzel, “While I’m not playing softball, I’ll be working out. And when I'm not working out, I’ll be doing my major.” Although she has known about her commitment to UNC for some time now, Wenzel is still excited to pursue her dream. Even though she has always dreamed of playing softball in college she would like her career to end there. After her four years she wants to settle down. Wenzel stated, “I want to do my four years and then get a job, a career, and start a family. All that good stuff.” Softball has opened many doors and many opportunities for Wenzel. For over ten years, Wenzel has dedicated her time to reach a goal that she has finally met. As the end of high school draws near, Wenzel is ready for a big change and new experiences. These next few months will be leading up to the moment she has waited her whole life for.
by kylee seamans
Matthew and Jacob Carbajal, Varsity Water Polo
Seniors Matthew and Jacob Carbajal both started playing water polo at a young age. As wins, the two began their journey together around the age of seven because of their older brother who had played water polo before them. From then on, the two have been on the same team, not knowing that it would lead them to be on the Varsity Boys Water Polo team. The Carbajal's believe that being on the same team brought them closer. It encouraged them to develop their bond with each other , helping to " Build our relationship," stated Matthew Carbajal. The two have come across very little difficulties with being on the same team, and instead enjoying the extra time they spend with each other. The Carbajal's both agree that being teammates has helped build their relationship. "Being on the same team has definitely helped us grow closer," said Jacob Carbajal, "It creates better chemistry." The Carbajal's emphasized that, if they had not been on the same team, they would not have become as close as they have. They are enjoying their time together before they go on their separate paths. The two will not be attending college together. Matthew Carbajal plans on going to Orange Coast College, while Jacob Carbajal plans to go to the University of Oregon. They both plan to continue their careers in water polo. Although the boys will be parting from each other as they go to college, their time spent together being on the same team has left a bond that is irreplaceable.
Elizabeth and Morgan Johnson, Varsity Volleyball
Starting volleyball at the young age of nine, Seniors Elizabeth and Morgan Johnson have played on the same team since the very start of their athletic career. They were inspired by their mother, an all-American athlete, to start volleyball. The two began by playing on recreational teams before moving up to club teams in the fifth grade. Coached by their mother, the twins were able to develop their skills as volleyball players as well as improve their relationship as siblings. Being on the same team enabled the two girls to grow closer and further develop their bond together. "I think we've gotten a lot closer from it," stated Elizabeth Johnson, "We've always played together, but high school is different." The two believe that being on the team has impacted their family as a whole, with their younger sister on the team as well as having their mother as a coach. Being on the same has brought the two girls together in a way that would not have happened had they not have been on the same team. The sisters also partake in small contests fueled by their nature towards each other during practice. "It's always more competitive because you always want to beat your sister and you never want to lose," said Morgan Johnson about scrimmaging against her sister. Since both girls are seniors, they will be going off to college, leaving the Varsity team. Both have no doubt that they will still be as close as they are now.
Sabrina and Sydney Moreno, Varsity Tennis
In their second year of Varsity tennis, Juniors Sabrina and Sydney Moreno have become closer as siblings by being partners on the court. The girls started tennis in their freshman year of highschool before moving up to varsity in their sophomore year. Both girls believe that being on the court together has brought them closer together, both as teammates and as family. Sabrina Moreno stated, "In my opinion, we've become a lot closer, as if we weren't already related, but in general, we communicate with each other better and we rely on one another more because we have to have trust each other, especially in a sport like tennis." She emphasizes the closeness of her and her sister, thanking the trusting nature of tennis. The two girls also strive to help build each other up and make the effort to encourage one another to work hard. "Benefits of having my sister on my team would definitely include being pushed to be better every day, having a constant competition, staying closer, and having her support through every step," said Sabrina Moreno. Not only is this a friendly rivalry between two siblings, but they use this to inspire one another to work harder and become better players. They both also use this as an opportunity to develop their skills not only as tennis players, but to also establish a stronger relationship between both of them. Both Sabrina and Sydney plan on returning to the Varsity Girls Tennis team next year for their final year of high school.
by Christina Avina
Varsity student athletes take on many challenges as they try to maintain a balanced life between academics and sports. However, there are many athletes that challenge themselves in school by enrolling in multiple Advanced Placement (AP) or accelerated classes. Between practices and homework, these athletes face many obstacles every day attempting to succeed in their everyday lives. While risking falling behind in classes and not receiving playing time in games, these students aim to prosper in all that they do by working their hardest.
While in season, athletes have away games that they are required to miss a few periods from that school day. As a result, these athletes can potentially fall behind in class work they might be missing. The number one question that many people ask is, “Where do these students find time for sports and school?” These diligent and determined students approach many challenges daily, although they do not give up. For example, Sophomore Kaylie Fukumoto is on the Varsity Girls Golf team, in addition to taking four different AP classes. Her classes include AP Language and Composition, AP Physics, Accelerated AP Calculus BC, and AP Computer Science Principles. Over time she has learned how to manage her time wisely and create a balance. After long practices, Fukumoto sets aside an hour to work on and complete her homework. In the case she does not finish her work, she will do her daily needs, such as eating and showering, first then resume with her work. With goals of getting into a good college, Fukumoto maintains a 4.25 Grade Point Average (GPA). Despite learning how to manage her time, Fukumoto comes across many issues she can not control. “Sometimes I have a lot of homework, or an upcoming test that I need to study for, but I also have practice or a game that day,” said Fukumoto, “so it can be hard to manage my time so that I can complete everything.” In spite of these obstacles she faces, Fukumoto has learned to be an ambitious student and athlete.
At any rate, being an athlete in high school can be rather demanding, but what many student athletes learn is to be a student first and an athlete second. This means no matter how important sports are, athletes must put school first. It is very common to see coaches that push their athletes to perform their very best on and off the fields. Colleges do not only scout high school athletes based on their athletic performance, but for their grades as well. Junior Joshua Swift has played football all his life and has high hopes of attending University Southern California (USC). Swift is motivated to be the very best student athlete because he wants to make his parents proud and is driven to succeed in all that he does. In order to achieve this, he has learned to prioritize school and take advantage of his free time. If he begins to fall behind, Swift will do whatever is necessary to catch up. Swift claims, “When I am am falling behind in school I catch up by making sure I do not waste any time that I have. I take advantage of CAT30 and lunch periods on top of long nights to get my work done.” Swift is enrolled in a total of four AP courses including AP Calculus BC, AP Language and Composition, AP United States History, AP Environmental Science, and maintaining a 4.5 GPA. An unfortunate challenges he faces is not having enough time to spend with friends and family. While constantly being occupied with school and sports, Swift is a very driven and determined student athlete who will continue to progress and aim for his goals.
Throughout every sport season, student athletes enrolled in AP courses, and involved in outside activities, juggle a lot of responsibility between their school and athletic careers. AP courses are considered to be some of the hardest high school courses students are allowed to take. Although some athletes will take easy classes to avoid the commitment, many will challenge themselves and take multiple AP classes.
by kylee seamans
Focused on team spirit and school sports, cheer is a fun-loving and uplifting way to show school spirit and support for their playing teams. However, people are often drawn just to the playful high school cheer and they are unaware of its more challenging and rigorous side. Competitive cheer teams train away from football field, and instead compete against one another in an intense environment to win competitions, such as the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Allstar Championship.
The Internal Olympic Committee recognized cheer as an Olympic sport on December 6, 2016, after years of controversy around cheerleading being a sport or not. However, it is unclear whether or not the sport will be included in the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Although preparations for the Olympics already underway, it is difficult to see how the sport will be incorporated into the Olympics in the upcoming years.
Some continue to argue that cheer is not a sport and should not be included in the Olympics because the teams do not compete against each other, as required for an activity to be considered a sport. Instead, cheer is around only to provide support for teams and show school spirit at high school athletic games. This, however, is an incorrect allegation. In competitive cheer, teams of cheerleaders perform in front of judges who grade their routines. The team with the highest point value wins. “In a way, I kind of understand it,” Jordan Weiss, a cheerleader for California Allstars Sparkle, also known as “Cali Sparkles,” said, “People only see high school cheer on the sidelines and they don’t really see the competitive side to cheer. ” The routines cheer teams perform can take over a year of constant training to perfect.
Competitive cheer teams perform approximately one to three-minute routines of physically demanding tumbling, stunts, dancing, and cheering. This takes strength and endurance to continually produce new and refined routines. To condition their bodies, competitive cheerleaders spend hours training to strengthen themselves to perform high skill stunts. Weiss stated that she practices three times a week for two and a half to three hours. Good nutrition also has played a role in how well the cheerleaders perform. “If you don’t eat well, then you don’t perform well,” said Weiss. Without proper care for their bodies, the cheerleaders are unable to perform the stunts and flips they need in order to win competitions.
Trust also plays a major role in competitive cheer. With dramatic and risky stunts, a flyer must be able to trust that their bases will be there to catch them. Hesitation can cause injuries and disaster for both the flyers and the bases. Because cheer is a team sport, the responsibility of everyone showing up not only falls upon the team but on each individual player as well. The team must trust that everyone will be there for practice. If one cheerleader is missing, then the team may not be able to practice all of the stunts that they need to practice. It is practically the same for any team sport.
Competitive cheer can be dangerous, and requires high levels of physical activity, yet it helps to build endurance and establishes the values of teamwork.
by Aaliyah eade
It is often perceived that Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a dangerous and violent sport, but to others, like Junior George Serna, with an impressive record of ninety-seven wins, two ties and zero losses, MMA fighting is a way of life and a great way to release tension.
Born and raised in Rosarito, a town on the coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, Serna now resides in Temecula, California. Serna is a well-known competitive MMA fighter in the junior ranks. Before pursuing MMA fighting, Serna began with boxing, however, he believed he was not fast enough for that discipline, so he joined gymnastics to gain flexibility. At the age of twelve Serna truly found his passion: Mixed Martial Arts. As a child, Serna would get bullied so he decided to play a sport where he would be able to let his anger out. While living in Mexico, Serna traveled to both Tijuana and Mexicali to earn his belts. Now with a daily training schedule of two hours at Crunch Fitness and additional training at home, Serna is continuously working on further developing his skills and technique.
Although there are many challenges to confront within the sport, MMA can also benefit you as a whole. Serna states, “It really has made me look at life differently and I’ve come to really appreciate the little things I have in my life”. MMA fighting has a diverse group of competitors, some seeking the potential money and fame that can be achieved at the highest levels and some seeking it as a way of income to support their families. Either way, MMA can be a great sport to offer individuals a way of bringing out the best in themselves. Besides training and workouts, Serna also follows a healthy and clean cooked diet. His diet includes a protein shake to start each morning, followed by foods such as chicken, salad, potatoes, and occasionally some pasta. After high school, Serna hopes to continue his passion for Mixed Martial Arts but is not positive on the fact of pursuing it as career. If he does not pursue MMA in the future, Serna hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then gain employment as an agent for Customs and Border Protection services. Serna’s inspiration comes from his father and he would like to follow in his footsteps. Whatever Serna decides for his future he will find success as he has proven he is one determined and hardworking individual.
In his spare time, Serna enjoys partaking in the disciplinary art of parkour, which is also great for his fitness and a relief from his intense training regimen. Within MMA, one of Serna’s biggest challenges is his opponents, which are often much bigger in size. Serna claims, “Sometimes the opponents are pretty scary since they’re much bigger than me.” Even though many of his opponents attempt to intimidate him through trash talking, Serna manages to maintain his focus, and to this day goes undefeated with a zero loss record. In any sport, this is quite an accomplishment. This is a testament to his hardworking attitude, continuous training, and determination to succeed. Clearly, there’s a lot more to MMA than just fighting. Not only do you have to fight, but you have to be strategic and have a high endurance level. It’s not always just about focusing on technique but a lot of work goes into cardiovascular training, to increase stamina and help maintain the high level of focus required to be on top.
by regan von ritcher
Multiple sports offer many different athletes the opportunity to showcase their abilities and skills from that team or activity. The local cheer gym, Intensity Athletics, offers some student athletes that perform in the not so known sport of competitive cheerleading. A few specific athletes on campus, and some new incoming freshmen, are involved in this high intensity and unique sport contrary to more mainstream or common teams on campus. With high school cheerleading becoming a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) sport, more attention is being drawn to this team.
Not only do students participate in sideline cheerleading, but some also involve themselves in competitive cheer clubs to travel and compete around the country. With different levels of teams for athletes to try out for, this cheerleading facility only has room for the best hard working athletes on their teams. Sophomore Ashlynn Ellison on one of the higher level intensity teams said, “The most common comment I get from others is ‘cheer isn’t a sport’ and nothing irritates me more. Cheer takes a crazy amount of physical and mental strength from these athletes.” With ages ranging from tiny toddlers to grown adults, there is a wide spectrum of athletes and opportunities to be apart of a team. Depending on what team these athletes are apart of, practices range from a couple times a week to almost every day after school. Practices include warm up, conditioning, endurance training, tumbling, and stunting practice. With very large and important competitions on the schedule for this season, these athletes cannot afford to be unprepared. With the biggest competition of their season in Florida this year, these athletes will compete in numerous competitions before potentially making it to the Summit Championships.
The cheerleaders at Intensity love the family environment feeling and appreciate the support that both the coaches and the athletes give to one another. Not only have these cheerleaders created the opportunity to become successful athletes, but they have also created a new circle of friends to lean on for years to come. One of the head coaches, Ms. Sumer Dandan, said the best part about coaching is, “Building the relationships with the kids, watching the kids get new skills and just develop over time.” Some of these teams are created brand new with each new season needing lots of time to prepare for the competition season. Starting from a whole new group of athletes, the progression from the beginning of the season to the end is quite the journey. These athletes gain new skills and develop new strengths throughout each cheerleading season and no athlete ever finishes a year without becoming a better cheerleader. Hard at work, these teams have dedicated their time and energy to being the best athletes they can be and the rewards are extensive.
The sport of competitive cheerleading is not a commonly known one, yet some of these athletes have been apart of this thrilling sport almost their entire lives. These teams have practiced flipping across the floor or lifting flyers in the air because they are passionate about competitive cheerleading and how it promotes empowerment for those who are a part of the sport. Though these athletes may look pretty with their sparkly uniforms and bows, they describe themselves as feisty hard working athletes that dedicate so much of their time to this challenging and beautiful sport.
BY Alexis martell
As the spring season of sports comes to an end, the Varsity Girls Lacrosse team has pulled through with a success in almost every game they attend and is only one game away from being in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) playoffs. The overall goal for the season was to win about a few of their games but the whole team exceeded the prediction they had started off with. So far, the team has succeeded by winning a total of eleven games out of the thirteen they had played, putting them at the very top against schools in the Southern Section League. They have high hopes of winning the games that will carry them into the CIF postseason.
Going into the season with high desires to do their absolute best, the girls had taken the victories to many of their games, some of the components being new skills and communication. Senior attack player Kylie Sherman stated, “I knew that we were going in as a super good team, but I did not think that we would be this good.” Although the team thinks they are doing well for this season, a couple of the girls feel like they must work on some skills such as their catching, passing and communication skills to help them with their practices and games. Sophomore Trinity Wright stated, “I know the team is getting better because I’m able to see the comparison but the blocking and communication will always need help.” With communication being a key to the team during game times, they have a clearer idea to improve their strategies and their number of victories.
At the beginning of the season, Sophomore Karsen Trout had described her thoughts from the beginning of the season to be “a little difficult and a bit devastating,” because of the loss of too many teammates at the start of the season. Varsity Coach Pat Mawhinney and Goalie Coach Noel Trout had been pushing the girls past what he thinks their capable of to sharpen and strengthen their skills and capabilities. Despite the team’s confidence, their win against Murrieta Mesa High School (MMHS) had taken them by surprise, who was said to be a challenge and alongside, the loss to the Great Oak. The victory against MMHS had made Sherman believe that the team’s confidence increased.
The girls as a whole have the desire to work on skills that they believe need more attention and hope to surpass what they believe they are currently capable of. With the fate of one game against Temecula Valley High School standing between the team and the CIF game, the girls all hope that they can surpass their desire for the season of making it into the CIF competition and possibly win as they continue to thrive and move forward. Goalie Coach Trout stated, “I believe that Temecula Valley is stronger [this year than last year] but our league is pretty even as far as ability.”
By alexis martell
With the colleges of Whittier College and University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) keeping an eye out, Junior Jordan Buck has been on the Varsity Tennis team since her freshman year. She has been playing tennis since she was five years old as she shares the same passion with her grandfather. Her grandfather was the person who inspired her the most and supported her along the way. Buck wishes to impress him and share the love of tennis together. Alongside her, her private Coach Mr. Mark Chua, trained her for four years. For the twelve years Buck has been playing and she believes that without her family and coach, she would not be the player that she is today.
While being a top tennis player, expectations are high for Buck. With California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), coming into sight, Buck wishes to make it far and redeem herself as she thinks that last season was not her best. Buck stated, “I think that the biggest challenge I face are the competitions. Southern California is known for being one of the hardest, and most competitive regions for tennis. It makes it much harder to stand out over everyone else and to get noticed and recruited by colleges.” She explained that she cannot imagine herself not playing tennis since it plays a major role in her future. Buck continuously trains herself as she watches professional tennis players on television and creates ideas off of the moves that they make in their games. Buck feels that she can call the court her second home and she forgets everything else and just has fun. However, with the enjoyments also come challenges, “It takes a lot of strength and mental ability to play and be good at it, the players also have to be tough and be able to fight and I consider myself the kind of person to take that on.” One of the other conflicts that Buck runs into is having her emotions get the best of her. She explained that the amount of frustration a person has can easily have them fall apart. She mentions that the grit comes from perseverance. Her personal coach helps by preparing her both physically and mentally. This includes her working on not letting her mind get the best of her.
Things are definitely looking up for Jordan as she proceeds to excel and increase her skills. Buck believe that she has increased in both her mental and physical abilities. She wishes to make the colleges, her school, and her family proud.