Cross Country is taking new paths this year, as Sheppard stated, “This is the first year competing in a league, and this will be a chance for them to see whether they can match up with other schools in the area.” As the Athletics Director, Sheppard wants to make a difference, “We use athletics to promote students beyond the classroom environment...Who are our young men and women becoming in the process of being in sports and meeting challenges, overcoming setbacks. These are other ways they can explore that outside of a four wall classroom.“ Mr. Sheppard sees our very own Samueli athletes are becoming better on the field, and in the classroom.
Looking forward to the upcoming season, Sheppard has his priorities straight. “Ultimately it’s not my concern whether or not they lose, but my biggest concern is that they compete... If they get beat by somebody that has more skill, hats off to you, but if you compete and if you put in your effort and you put in your practice and you play your game the way it needs to be played, now that’s a win.” If you can play up to your potential, then you’ve done a good job, as Mr. Sheppard would say, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but if you can play your hardest, you can gain the experience and use your practice and effort to grow.
The environment at a Samueli Volleyball practice is very comfortable, and Coach Pena is always there to make you feel at home. He feels that the Girls need more experience to become the skilled athletes he wants them to be. “As a coach, I leave every day saying What can I improve for tomorrow? How can I make them better?...I think our girls lack experience, so I think even out here when we practice, I’m going to let them have more of a volleyball experience...”
“I think those two losses were tough; they were close games, but I think they learned a lot, and so I think it’s our gain from that and we have a lot to work on.“ Both the JV and Varsity teams came back from tough losses, but as Coach Pena would say, this is good experience for our athletes to become better.
The athletes have perspectives on ways to become better. Pamela Paredes, a senior at Samueli Academy and one of the captains on the JV volleyball team, said “ I think calling it and trying to be confident on each other because sometimes we were panicking and that’s what kinda how were started losing easy balls and that can’t happen, that is something that we have to work on as a team.” She thinks that as long as we work as a team, we can go far and bounce back to win more games. “The first game had a hit on me. I had a panic attack. I was just really stressed, and it kinda got me to the point of forgetting my routines and everything that we have been practicing from the last two months…” That was Pam’s first experience on the court, and it was a wild one. Cory, the other captain of the JV Team said, “I think it (game performance) was pretty good; I messed up on a couple of things, but as a team, we need more improvement than I was expecting from.” Their performance on Saturday was a good start, even though they lost the game.
The Cross Country has had a great season so far, they beat their previous meet with Avalon and are projected to beat their next opponent. As students cheer on, our very own runners are giving a statement to our opponents: don’t mess with the fire wolves.
Samueli Athletes look forward to what’s coming this year. As our Samueli Fans cheer on, our players on the court have something to prove, they want to show the sports world that the Firewolves can win games.