Freshmen Phenoms

Bernard Chen, Asst. News Editor

As an athlete, making a varsity team is already a recognizable feat, let alone for a freshman. This season, the varsity girls golf, water polo, and volleyball teams have all received new freshmen ready to play.

In girls golf, freshman Crystal Wang quickly rose to the top, becoming one of the top five players in the league. According to Coach Tony McCabe, she scores under par consistently with the whole array of skills necessary for an outstanding golfer.

“In golf, they say, ‘she has all the shots.’ She’s extremely poised, especially for a freshman,” coach McCabe said.

Even though freshmen have less academic responsibilities and stress than upperclassmen athletes, they still must follow the three main rules which McCabe emphasizes: show up on time, bring your stuff, and care about the team.

Although the golf team is already established, the water polo team is still in its first year of development. Freshmen Austin Suh, Cameron Belden, Matthew Lee, and Aaron Velarde have common goals to become captain and win CIF as well.

“It’s an honor. It’s like an achievement for me,” Belden said.

For incoming freshmen, it is always a difficult decision to choose which activities to pursue. For these four, they found out about the program in their eighth grade year and were excited to join and try out the new sport. Lee and Belden also had previous swimming experience at Brea Aquatics and Maple Hill.

“They’re doing well. They’re keeping up. I would say for instance, Austin, Cameron, and Matthew are three of our fastest guys on the team,” head coach Alex Matal said.

Yet another sport with a star freshman player is girls volleyball. Alex Diaz, an avid athlete, participates in volleyball but has also made the varsity basketball team. From the experience in middle school and this past summer, she has gained the opportunity to be on varsity volleyball this season.
“At first, it was really scary to be with a bunch of seniors and juniors. [However], later on in the season, I started to become really close with some of them and started to [bond] with all my teammates. [It became] kind of like a family,” Diaz said.

For Diaz, unlike Wang, there are disadvantages to overcome in the game of volleyball. Diaz will have to move quicker because as a newcomer to the varsity team, she will need to become used to the speed of high school sports.

“She will need to gain the necessary experience and skills to match the upperclassmen,” coach Jeff Weihert said.