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KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

Varsity squads benefit from strong freshman class

Freshmen+girls+are+making+an+impact+on+winter+sports+teams.+Pictured+in+the+front+row%3A+Addison+Blons%2C+Marie+Wakefield%2C+Rionna+Martin%2C+Amerie+West+and+Courtney+Scott.+Back+row%3A+Isa+Price%2C+Sydney+Ortiz%2C+Peyton+Smithson%2C+Journie+Feliciano+and+Alyssa+Toppass.
Maya Ortiz
Freshmen girls are making an impact on winter sports teams. Pictured in the front row: Addison Blons, Marie Wakefield, Rionna Martin, Amerie West and Courtney Scott. Back row: Isa Price, Sydney Ortiz, Peyton Smithson, Journie Feliciano and Alyssa Toppass.

Throughout the winter sports seasons, the freshman class has shown they have motivation to succeed. 

Goalkeeper Peyton Smithson has already made an impression on the varsity soccer team. For Smithson playing goalie shows its challenges, especially since she’s playing against older competition.

“There’s already a lot of pressure because I’m a goalie,” Smithson said. “Especially being a freshman, some people on our team think that since I’m a freshman I shouldn’t be on varsity.”

Since starting high school in the fall, the freshman class has proven that they should be included on a varsity roster. Alongside the five freshmen on the soccer team, four freshmen swimmers reached next week’s Regional Meet, and freshman Rionna Martin is the starting point guard on the girls basketball team. 

The girls basketball team is currently in fourth place in the district, and the pressure is high for the young team. After making playoff appearances seven years in a row, expectations rise as the season progresses.

Martin attempts to help the young team face the challenging schools in the district. Although the pressure is high, the girls team manages to maintain a steady pace.

“A lot of people outside the sport, since I’m a freshman on varsity, they expect me to score at least 30 a night,” said Martin.

Along with the basketball team, the swim team recently competed in its district meet and the girls team came in first overall. Freshmen Addison Blons, Courtney Scott, Marie Wakefield and Amerie West all advanced to the Region Meet.

Wakefield has found swimming for the team to be an enjoyable challenge. Wakefield handles the pressure of competing at a high level by making sure to have everything prepared the night before a meet.

Freshman point guard Rionna Martin drives to the basket against Huntsville on Jan. 26. (Grace Darcy)

 

“Well, you kind of just stand up taller and you don’t bend,” said Wakefield. “It’s pretty easy though, because all the girls on the team are so nice.”

The swim team has welcomed all of the freshmen, which relieved the pressure for the young swimmers going into high school.

Similar to the swim team, the girls soccer team continues to build off of each other and attempt to create a close-knit team. The younger players on the team have found it easier going into the season knowing that they can build off of each other and become closer to the older teammates together.

“Having other freshmen on the varsity team just makes it a lot more fun, ” center back Sydney Ortiz said. “It makes me more excited to go to practice each day.”

Freshman Marie Wakefield swims the butterfly during the Senior Night Meet earlier this month. She is one of four freshmen who advanced to the Region Swim Meet next week. (James Pham)

Girls soccer coach Jess White expects the younger players to be leaders on the field, especially after knowing some of them for multiple years. After playing multiple games, White can see the potential the freshmen contribute to the team and how much their confidence has grown already. 

After gaining a big freshman class in the athletic department this year, White deliberately put five freshmen (Ortiz, Smithson, Journie Feliciano, Isa Price and Alyssa Toppass) on his varsity roster. White manages to balance his team between what is needed for this season and what the program will need in the future.

The freshmen girls have proven that they should be included on varsity rosters and coaches expect they will continue to make an impression on their sports for three more years.

“There’s a lot of quality with our freshmen this year,” said White. “So these girls are not just on the roster to be on the roster, they’re on the roster to contribute.”

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