Underclassmen join varsity teams early

Underclassmen Micheal Frost and Noah Hong spend time together after playing varsity tennis.

Ceci Cronin

Underclassmen Micheal Frost and Noah Hong spend time together after playing varsity tennis.

Ceci Cronin, Staff Writer

Being a younger athlete and competing at a higher level is a unique opportunity not taken for granted. Some athletes in the class of ‘24 can testify to their unique experience in the intimidating varsity environment with both the challenges and advantages that accompany it. 

The varsity setting can be crushing, and persisting is something impressive, especially coming from freshmen who walk onto the team with little to no previous familiarity with high school sports. “It’s more competitive, and it’s really intense. There’s definitely a lot more pressure put on you,” freshman Annabelle Nicholson said.

The feeling of being around the older kids makes up for the pressure and change of pace that can be stressful at times. The variety of different people that comes from a team composed of all age groups creates a unique team atmosphere. “It’s more diverse with the different age groups, different people and different experiences,” freshman Maggie Graczyk said.

Being around older teammates makes a big impact on these freshmen. As they befriend them, they learn to follow in their footsteps. The upperclassmen have an impact on the younger athletes’ lives inside and outside of gameplay. “Being with older girls you just learn so much from them, like attitude––not even skillswise. You learn how to be a good teammate…I enjoyed meeting new girls and having new connections,” freshman Kendall Faber said.

Since these freshmen start on varsity, they secure a near guaranteed spot on varsity in following years. The idea of having a safe spot and knowing that they belong somewhere as a freshman can be very comforting. “I feel like I got a really good experience because I got the chance to know varsity for a whole four years throughout my high school career,” freshman Avalyn Mikkaelson said.

Although most freshmen on varsity would say they loved the experience, it does come with disadvantages such as less playing time. This definitely can be discouraging, but an understandable call by coaches who need to accommodate everyone and make the best call for the team as a whole. Many upperclassmen would be upset to have their playing time taken by freshmen who still have three years of playing time left ahead of them. “A thing I didn’t really like is, as a freshman, you don’t really get that much ice time when you’re playing, but it was a really good experience for coming years,” Mikkaelson said.

The class of 2024 has a lot of potential and hope for the future as they wrap up their first year of seasons in the competitive varsity environment. “I am looking forward to being a part of this amazing program for the next three years of high school. I am excited to see what we can do as a team,” freshman Noah Hong said.