Being placed on a varsity sports team is a complete honor to most athletes, and even more of an honor to be placed there as a freshman. This year at Highlands Ranch High School, there are many freshmen who were placed on the varsity level for a variety of different sports.
Entering these new varsity teams comes with many challenges. Jade Arroyo, the only freshman to make varsity football this year, said, “It was challenging entering a varsity sport younger than all the other players, but it got easier and easier with work.”
Lauren Thompson from varsity poms was very happy to make the team and did not mind putting in the extra effort that comes with the sport. Thompson said, “It’s so much fun but also a lot of work. It’s definitely the best part of this year.”
Being on a team with all upperclassmen who have experience with the sport at Highlands Ranch can be another challenge, but is a reality for some student athletes. For Jolie Cranford from varsity softball and volleyball, playing with upperclassmen was a good thing. Cranford said, “It was good to have older girls around me to look up to and learn from.”
Grace Padilla, freshman on varsity poms, said, “It was really fun being on a team with mainly upperclassmen because you meet so many other people in other grades and they help you so much and show you how things work.” Having upperclassmen on a team can benefit freshmen in the way that the upperclassmen serve as role models.
Many upperclassmen even love having freshmen on their team. Annika Rennaker, junior on varsity golf, said, “It’s fun to mentor younger players and pass on the traditions our team shares. When the upperclassmen have to leave, we want the team to stay connected.”
For coaches, adding a new freshman to the team is no issue if they are ready for it. Caryn Jarocki, head varsity basketball coach and gym teacher, said, “An incoming freshman needs to have been in the program for years and be well trained. They need to be ready for very intense situations, but if it is intense, they usually will not play.”
Most people would expect not to participate much in the sport when coming into a new team with new players and coaches. Arroyo said, “My position is limited in playing time but it was good to get good experience.”
Freshman students who are on the varsity team will welcome in next seasons freshman because they know what it is like to be a younger player on a sports team. Joie Chun, freshman on varsity golf, said, “I’m excited to not be a freshman next year because it gives me the chance to play and grow closer with new freshman and also gives me the chance to help them adjust to high school all together.”
Camryn Montgomery, Guest Reporter