Article By: Woo Suk Kim

If you were in attendance of last week’s Friday Night Lights, you probably recognized some familiar faces. But among those returning veterans, you may have also been welcomed to some new ones donning the jerseys of ISM’s high school first season sports teams. A collection of these new faces are freshmen who were able to land a spot on the junior varsity and varsity teams. This year, the high school welcomes an abundance of freshmen athletes, whose hard work and dedication from playing in previous schools or middle school clubs has proven to have paid off. Marked with commendable performances on the court and on the field, many of these athletes were at the center of several big victories for their respective teams last Friday. But behind these rising stars lies a journey of trials and tribulations in making these high school teams.

The beginning of the journey for freshman hopefuls began with the immediate brunt of the tryouts on the first days of school.  Sophomore, Khi Hoon N., commented, “the most nerve-wracking part was definitely the tryouts” especially as “there were over a hundred people on the field.” A former freshman athlete himself, Khi Hoon also emphasized that “in order to make the varsity squad, you really needed to stand out” as hopefuls were put through a series of intense drills and game-like scenarios. The past JV Aspirants team member also underlined the importance of the JV program as a great “development tool” in preparing young middle school and high school athletes for competition at the varsity level.

For the few who passed the dreaded team cuts, many have already encountered immediate changes in their transition to these higher level teams. Carina S., a freshman on the girls junior varsity soccer team, noted that “some (freshmen) have been experiencing difficulties adapting to their new teams.” Despite the growing pains that come with adjusting to a new environment, she also mentioned that she “feels more connected to other people in other grades, as sometimes JV and varsity train together and help each other improve.” These improvements were seen right away as the JV girls got their season off to a great start with a thumping 9-0 victory over cross-town rivals Faith Academy.

Another freshman athlete who immediately made his presence felt last Friday was varsity soccer player Reed S. Starting at center forward, Reed broke the thirty minute deadlock with an opportunistic goal, the only one scored before the game was eventually postponed due to inclement weather. After a standout debut, Reed has proven to many that he can rise to the occasion when needed. Returning IASAS winger and junior, Mikheil L., said, “Reed made a good first impression, and hinted that he could possibly fill the shoes of former Bearcat and IASAS all tourney recipient, Dan Conboy.” A multisport athlete, Reed will surely be one to watch out for in the following athletic seasons.

With the immediate impact of freshmen athletes among all the junior varsity and varsity squads, the future is bright for ISM’s sports team and it will certainly be exciting to see the successes they will go on to achieve.

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