Article By: Margarita Te

As the new school year begins, so too does this year’s first season of sports. Many eager students attended tryouts during the first two weeks of school, in hopes of getting a spot on one of the JV or varsity teams. In addition to the returning athletes were some unfamiliar faces. This year, ISM welcomed an abundance of new athletes, one of them being sophomore Imaya J., a middle hitter who has just secured her place on the varsity girls volleyball team.

Despite being new, Imaya isn’t a stranger to the Bearcat community. Imaya actually attended ISM for six and a half years before moving to Delhi, India, where she developed an interest in volleyball. She has recently moved back to Manila and is excited about being back in ISM, now with the chance to participate in the high caliber JV and varsity sports programs. She played for her previous school’s team for three years, though she noted that the standard was “nowhere close to being at par with ISM.” Imaya admits that the reason she initially got into volleyball was because she had previously “never played a ball sport,” and wanted to try something different. Soon after, she “fell in love with the fast-paced game,” and wished to pursue it competitively. Recently, especially with the 2016 Olympics ongoing, Imaya has “tried to watch as many games as [she] can to see how the pros play.”

Outside of school practice hours, Imaya doesn’t train, but instead uses this time to balance out sports with academics, friendships, family, and personal leisure. Consequently, she maintains a serious and driven approach to the ISM team trainings, exerting as much effort as possible to make the most out of the practice time she has in school. “The fitness at the beginning of training is tough,” she claims. “However, what pushes me through are the drills and scrimmages we get to play after.” Imaya believes that, ultimately, this will ensure their success in future games and the overall season.

Like many other athletes at ISM, Imaya does not only play one sport. “Swimming is what I would call my main sport,” she says, having been a member of the Sailfish team before she moved away from ISM. Although she “temporarily quit to pursue other activities such as basketball and track and field,” Imaya eventually started again in seventh grade and has “been swimming four-month-long seasons every year since.”

Having just moved back, Imaya wasn’t sure what to expect. Humbleness is a trait she values considerably; upon making the varsity volleyball team, she “tried not to make a big deal out of it,” but greatly appreciates the support she has been given. Beyond that, Imaya hopes that the experience she gains with the rest of the varsity girls will help her improve her skills, play at a more competitive level, and “integrate herself as a part of the team to represent the school.”

With the addition of promising new athletes like Imaya, ISM is eagerly anticipating the upcoming sports seasons and what they have in store for the Bearcats!

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