By Daeja Lee Conner
Mission Valley League Champion for the 4x100m relay and the 100m hurdles, senior Joy Hano, returns to the track for her fourth and final year on varsity. Holding the team on her wings, Hano brings motivation and team spirit to her teammates in hopes that the Eagles can fly their way through a successful season.
Hano participates in Club Plyometric Fusion and is constantly training to get better at every practice. Originally, Hano was tricked by her friend to try out for track her freshman year, but it has been one of the best mistakes she has ever made.
“She has been a top runner and competitor since her freshman year and has been placing first in all of her events,” Coach Ryan Kammerman explained. “Now, she is taking on long jump and continues to bring her general leadership skills our team.”
With her close relationship to her hurdle and relay teammates, Hano has high hopes of finishing this season strong by placing first in league as a team this year.
Sophomore Kayla Soto brings pride and joy to the diamond with every practice and game that she participates in. Being on varsity since her freshman year proved to be a tough task but Soto took it with open arms as she worked to conquer challenging obstacles.
At just age four, Soto began fielding and hitting softballs, and her love for the sport has only grown with each year she participates in it. As a member of the Club Batbusters, she brings both her years of experience and her dedication to the serve the team.
“My goal for this season is to do all that I can to help my team make it to CIF,” Soto stated. “It would do nothing but put a smile on my face to help my team get a banner in the gym.”
With her best friends, junior Sophia Littlefield and sophomore Kimberly Dia, by her side, she anticipates a fun, yet successful season.
Sophomore Jacob Saldivar, a first year varsity, is adapting to the difference in skill level and brotherhood between his previous JV team and his current team. He pushes himself to improve and absorb all the new skills that his teammates teach him during practice.
At the beginning of season, Saldivar had to fill in for junior Grant Koji Takahashi after Takahashi took an injury to his arm. Filling in as the first string catcher for the team, Saldivar pushed himself to give his best effort in attempts to uphold what Takahashi was able to do.
“He’s filling a position that is very difficult and he has stepped in filling that role really well,” Coach Mauricio Hernandez proudly expressed. “He works extremely hard and is getter better in his spot.”
Looking up to his teammate, junior Maurizio Iacono for his hard hitting and determination on the field, Saldivar hopes to get at least one hit in every game until season is over. Saldivar has high expectations for the rest of his years playing on varsity and is one to watch out for on the dirt.
From the start of his high school career, freshman Shawn Loc is already a varsity player on the boys volleyball team. He has already bonded with his teammates and enjoys the kindness they show him while helping him improve in the sport.
With Loc’s numerous skills, it is hard to believe that Loc only began playing the sport in sixth grade. His determination on the court help him and his teammates shine.
“He is the only freshman on varsity but he already plays as if he is an upperclassmen,” Coach Nolan Tcheng explained. “He brings a lot of energy and experience to the team and I can’t wait to see how much he grows over the years.”
Looking up to junior Matthew Lau, he hopes to become as mentally strong as his teammate and continues to grow with the team while maintaining the strong partnership. The teams’ close connections at practices and games only help Loc grow as a player as they are always hyping him up.
“The team I am on works extremely hard and when we work as a team we are extremely cohesive,” Loc stated. “We’re brothers on and off the court.”
Senior Osiris has been a varsity boys golf player for the past three years. With experience and motivation under his belt, he leads by setting an example for the rest of his team. Looking up to his coach, Steve Swanson, he strives everyday to be the best player he can be by putting forth his best effort at every practice.
“He’s my best player and has been for the past three years,” Coach Swanson explained. “He leads by example for the team and for the lower levels also.”
With hopes to make it to CIF for his second year, he pushes himself to perform his best. Winning second place in his golf tournament last year, Osiris has high expectations going into this season, and hopes that he can uphold his standing in league.
“Everyone on my team is cool with one another and we are always helping each other out,” Osiris commented. “This season I have extremely high expectations that we will come out even stronger that we did last year.”
Senior Phillip Kwok backstrokes his way through his second year on the varsity swim team. At just eight years old, Kwok started swimming and has pushed to improve his skills every day ever since then.
After experiencing an injury to his shoulder that prompted him to sit out in a major meet of the season, Kwok has motivated himself to get back the time that he lost. Along with motivating his teammates he also takes side notes from their skills that can help Kwok improve upon himself.
With his fellow teammate, senior Elton Chan, as Kwok’s role model, Kwok aspires to be mentally strong to be able to overcome any obstacle that might be thrown his way.
“Swimming is just something truly amazing to me,” Kwok explained. “When I hit the water it’s like I have nothing else on my mind and I can just swim.”
Kwok hopes to improve enough before the end of season to ensure his spot on the CIF team this year.