Running into a new sport

Though many athletes train for years, some join athletics for the first time as upperclassmen


Mackenzie Sroka

Though most think of student athletes as devoted students of their sports, having played and practiced for years, many students — looking forward to creating memories as upperclassmen — try a new sport their junior or senior year.

Mackenzie Sroka, Sports Editor

An upperclassmen has just tried out for a sport they have never played in high school before. While scared of the reality they are now at a high school level, they love and feed into the competitive atmosphere around them. As they continue practicing for the team, they soon realize their new found love for the sport. 

Some of the upperclassmen that are joining the athletic program at MCHS for the first time do not have any experience with the sport.

“Coaching an upperclassman that does not have experience is the same as coaching anyone else without experience,” explained Raymond Hagerty, a wrestling coach. “We try to give them a solid understanding of the basic techniques in order to allow them to go out on the mat and compete safely. Every student athlete is different and came with different natural skills, so we use those skills to advance them as far as we can throughout the season.”

While coaching new athletes the athlete has to be willing to put in the work in order to reach success. 

“Usually athletes that are trying out new sports are eager to learn and quickly bring their skill level up,” described Dale Gross, a badminton coach, “so coaching them is easier because the drive is so high to get better quickly.”  

Even though they may not be at the highest level or the best on the team, they can still have a large role on the team. 

“They may not be the most talented wrestler, but their work ethic can rub off on the people around them,” explained Hagerty. “Others fill in key weight classes for the JV team, and in a rare case of a super talented wrestler they may be needed to step into a varsity spot. It really all depends on the individual.”

Many of the newer athletes are focused primarily upon getting better to improve themselves.

“These athletes bring a new perspective to the team along with a positive attitude and a hunger for coaching and the desire to get better everyday,” said Kyle Owens, the varsity track coach. 

Having newer players can provide this prospective on the sport, since they are just striving to better themselves and get memories.

“I chose this sport because to me I do not care about my statistics,” said Bailey Owens, a junior track runner. “I care about making memories and making new connections. I might not have any experience but the most important thing to me is staying consistent and having fun.”

Choosing to join a sport within the MCHS athletics program for the first time can be challenging and intimidating for many athletes. 

“Walking into a new sport can be intimidating, but just trying your best is all that matters,” explained Owens. “You don’t quit a sport just because you’re not the best at it. If you’re not the best at it, you keep striving to be the best and don’t settle for anything less.”

For many new program athletes, they have to relearn or learn techniques in order to reach success in their sport. 

“The challenges I have to face is my speed and my breathing control,” described Keira Winters, a senior track athlete. “Also learning how to run again because of COVID and trying to get faster everyday and competing.”

No matter what the sport it is, it is important to try new things no matter how intimidating it may be. If there is an interest in a sport, then whether or not the student is the best or has experience it is worth a try. Most likely they will walk away with new memories and friends.