The Falcon newspaper is recognizing the Class of 2021 with this interactive page on our site.
Many seniors took to the road for a sing-along with Falcon News Editor Brooke Bandy.
Featuring the NCLA Senior Athletes
By Christine Parker
Ally Mattingly plays golf and she has for 3 years. She started because one of her friends convinced her to try it. “it’s given us a way to bond and connect! I love how nice everyone is during matches,” Mattingly said. She would tell younger athletes to not be afraid to try something new and to just go for it!
Amber Matias had cheered for 7 years at NCLA. She started because she wanted to try something new and she knew friends that wanted to cheer. She has received coaches and most improved awards over the years.
Cheer taught Amber how to trust and bond with others to accomplish anything thrown her way. For younger athletes, she would highly encourage them to focus more on the people around you than the sport itself. ”If you put your teammates before yourself, your team will be more successful and positive,” Matias said.
Brooke plays soccer and runs cross country. Brooke has played soccer since she was four and she started running cross country sophomore year. She ran cross country at first to stay in shape for club soccer but kept running because she loved the people on the team. She doesn’t remember why she started playing soccer, “my parents probably just put me in a league when I was little,” Bandy said. Brooke has been awarded Most Improved and Coach’s Award for cross country. She might play intramural in college but hasn’t decided yet. “For soccer, I love everything about the game. It’s super fun to play and to watch and I love working as a team to get goals and win games. For cross country, I love the people and I really enjoyed running with some of my best friends because we got to talk and bond while on long runs,” Bandy said. Soccer has taught her a lot about patience and teamwork. Cross country taught her a lot about discipline and motivation and how important exercise is because “I would always feel so much better during cross country season than during the off season,” Bandy said. A piece of advice she’d give is to keep going even if you’re frustrated and to not get in your head.
Annie cheers and plays golf. She has cheered for 4 years and golf for 3 years. She started playing sports because she felt like it would be a good way to build relationships with other people, plus it’s nice to stay active. Her favorite thing about participating in sports is forming relationships with the people on her team and having that camaraderie. “I would tell younger athletes that if they think a sport sounds fun to go for it and try out. It can be some of the most fun you’ll have and you don’t want to regret not doing it later in life,” Ellis said.
Christine Parker cheers and plays soccer. She has played soccer off and on since she was 5 years old and has cheered since 6th grade. Christine started playing soccer because her dad got her involved since he had played his whole life. She has been awarded coaches award for soccer, MVP and coaches award for cheerleading, and is an All American Cheerleader. She was captain of soccer and cheer in previous years. Christine plans on playing intramural soccer in college. Her favorite thing about these sports is the relationships she has made with her teammates. She doesn’t know what she would do without the love and support from them. She would advise younger athletes to always have integrity and do what is right on and off the field.
Emily Vroom runs cross country and plays basketball and soccer. She started
cross country in 9th grade, basketball in 6th, and she’s been playing soccer since I was five. She started playing these sports because she thought it would be a fun way to spend her time and hang with her friends and I ended up really enjoying them and the fact that they allowed me to stay fit. Emily has been awarded the coach’s award, most improved award, and most valuable player award in cross country over the years and was also one of the cross country captains this year. She has also been awarded the coach’s award in basketball and was also one of the captains for basketball. Emily plans on possibly continuing these sports, especially soccer, at a club level in college. Her favorite thing about the sports she plays is the different teams she gets to be a part of.
“Being a part of each team is a unique experience that allows us to win or lose as a team,” Vroom said. Sports have definitely pushed her outside of her comfort zone at times in order to benefit her and have played a large role in developing the work ethic that she has today. She would advise younger athletes to take the time to play the sports that they enjoy no matter how hectic their lives may be because sports are definitely one of her favorite experiences from high school.
Giuliana Chiquito plays golf for the school team and other sports like volleyball and soccer for just for fun. She started playing golf since she was around 7 years old, but she stopped around 11 years old. Giuliana recently started playing again last year and made the team this year. She started when her dad would take her to the range for fun because he loves to golf. She plans on playing intramural in college. Her favorite thing about golf is that you’re constantly competing against yourself. Even if your opponent is at a worse or better level of ability than you, it’s a gentleman’s game above all. It’s completely normal to give each other tips and help out. I love that and the fact that although the opponent is your motivation, beating your best is always your goal. “In my life, golf has definitely helped me take a deep breath and stay calm under frustration. Golf is a game in which the smallest frustration can mess up your game entirely, so it’s important to have fun and enjoy it,” Chiquito said. Her advice to younger athletes is that perseverance is the most important thing. You are your own competition and the only person you should focus on being better than is the person you were yesterday. Even the smallest improvement should be cause for celebration and further motivation.
Jackson Shaw plays soccer and basketball he has played basketball for 4 years and soccer for 3 years. His favorite part of each sport is eating out with his team after each game, win or loss. “Sports are a lot like life. There is a lot of ups and downs and just learning to roll with it will lead to success. This is the same for sports and for life,” Shaw said. To younger athletes, he would say enjoy your time in sports because it doesn’t last very long. You will never really remember how you play but you will remember the relationships you had.
Kylie Tucker plays soccer since she was five years old. She doesn’t remember exactly why she started, but she hated it at first. Kylie is so grateful her parents made her stick with it because she truly loves it now! Kylie would love to play intramural in college. “I love how soccer really require a team effort. No goal is made alone- and I think that’s really special and requires a beautiful sense of unity,” Tucker said. Soccer has given her a chance to meet new people and create new friendships. It also has been a great way to escape from homework and the craziness of her life for just a few hours everyday and have fun with her friends. Kylie would definitely tell younger athletes that they should remember to have fun. In her opinion, no sport is worth additional stress- so pick something you truly enjoy! Life is stressful enough as it is!
Levi Antieau has played baseball for 11 years. He started just to trying something new. Levi has received MVP twice in middle school then once in high school. Levi’s favorite thing about baseball is how quickly things can change. One thing he loves about the sport is the people he has met have become lifelong friends. His advice for younger athletes would be don’t give up.
Macey Green has cheered for 7 years. She started cheer because she was looking for something to do to fill her time. “My sister had cheered her whole life and it looked fun so I figured I’d try it out,” Green said. Macey Green has received the MVP, Falcon Award, and Coaches Award. “I love the teamwork the sport requires. It requires everyone to work together and be there for things to work out (stunts, dances, etc),” Green said. “This sport has taught me so many useful skills but mainly that hard work pays off. There were some difficult times in cheer where we worked our butts off to finalize routines but it all pays off in the end.”
Macey would advise younger athletes to enjoy their sport to the fullest. High school goes by so fast and if you’re not planning on playing in college, high school sports is it.
Madison Jennings has been an NCLA cheerleader since freshman year. She decided to start cheer because her good friend Macey asked her to try out and she fell in love with cheer! “I loved doing stunts and building bonds with my stunt groups and teammates on the bleachers”, Jennings said. From cheer, she has gained more confidence and made her realize she can do things she never thought she could do. Her advice for younger athletes is “to just have fun and love your teammates, I know that might be hard sometimes but it’s so worth it!”
Maura Perkins plays volleyball, basketball, and soccer. She has played volleyball for 7 years, basketball for 12 years, and soccer for 6 years. Maura started playing sports because she had grown up around basketball and soccer and she says “I am tall so I tried volleyball.”
For volleyball, Maura has received MVP twice, coaches award, and most improved. For basketball, she has received coaches award and MVP twice and for soccer, she has received most improved. Maura plans on playing intramural in college. Her favorite thing about sports is the competition and bonds that you build. “Sports have allowed me to get through ms and hs and build friendships that will last a long time enjoy playing sports because they don’t last forever,” Perkins said.
Mary Dehart runs cross country and plays basketball and soccer. She started doing cross country freshman year, basketball sophomore, and she’s been playing soccer since she was 8. I decided to run XC because she realized she needed a way to stay in shape for soccer and it just became a fun and sometimes questionable sport I started to enjoy playing. “I started playing basketball cause I had always been told it would be a good sport for me especially with my competitive mindset. I started soccer because what kid didn’t play soccer when they were younger? Over time I just fell in love with soccer and saw how much it had an impact on me as a person. I enjoy the atmosphere and competition of all the sports I play and knowing all I can do is get better and grow with my teammates is something I have always been grateful for,” said Dehart. She would suggest to younger athletes to never let themselves get discouraged by a singular mistake. We all make them and it’s okay if you mess up every once and a while just don’t let it change your view of how you are as a player.
Megan Queen plays volleyball. She has been playing for 8 years, 13 seasons in total. She has received most improved her sophomore season on varsity as well as serving as captain senior year. She plans to play intramural at least until she gets the whole college thing down, then she may play club! Her favorite thing is the love and support of teammates throughout the years from people she’s known for her whole career to girls she just met last club season. “They all want to see me and others succeed,” Queen siad. “The impact volleyball has had on me is probably different than a lot of other peoples. First and foremost, I learned the value of trusting others and how to be the best teammate I could possibly be. I also learned a lot from all of my coaches, and since losing Coach Fisher, I learned not to take a day or thing for granted.”
To younger athletes, she advises them, “please don’t take a single practice, game, or bus ride for granted! Seriously, the time flies! I feel like I just was at freshman tryouts and here I am 18 and retired!”
Mercy Newnum has cheered for 4 years. She started because she wanted something that was similar to gymnastics Mercy has received Coaches award. Mercy’s favorite thing about the sport is cheering on athletes and watching and bonding with her teammates. Cheerleading has taught her a lot about communication and trust. “I would tell younger athletes to take in every moment because not everyone gets the opportunity to play in college,” Newnum said.
Nick Williford plays football, basketball, and track. Started playing these sports just because he felt like playing. He has received an award for football and track. Nick played football for 2 years, track for 1 year, and basketball for 1 year. His favorite thing about sports is having a brotherhood and winning. He has enjoyed that it made him more athletic. To younger athletes, he would say “keep grinding and it will eventually pay off.”
Noah Richardson plays basketball and baseball, basketball. He has played basketball for 13 years straight and baseball for 12 years “if you count t-ball.” He started playing sports because he comes from a competitive, athletic family that encouraged him to start. From basketball, he has received MVP, coaches award, and most improved. From baseball, he has received MVP and coaches awards. “I would love the opportunity to play in
college but if I don’t I’m sure I’ll stay in the sports somehow,” Richardson said. Noah’s favorite thing about sports is working harder than everyone else and winning. Sports has had a huge impact on his life, from lifetime relationships to work ethic, and made him realize that if his mind is in the right place he can do almost anything. The advice he would give to younger players is most importantly have fun and enjoy the moment, but also don’t tell yourself “oh I don’t need to reach this goal because I have this much time left in my career to do it, you never know when your career will end, so set your goals high, and work for them now and achieve them now.”
Selah Smith has played volleyball since she was in 5th grade and started because her sister played volleyball. She has received MVP for NCLA’s varsity volleyball. She plans on either doing Intramural or club but she hasn’t decided yet. Her favorite thing about volleyball is how complex it is and how every touch on the ball is important. Volleyball has taught Selah sportsmanship and dedication. The advice she would give for younger athletes is to enjoy it and communication on and off the court with your teammates is important.
Wen-Shin Lee has played soccer for 13 years. He started playing soccer because his parents signed him up for upward at the time and he had no choice. Look at him now! Wen-Shin has received Coaches award twice, MVP (not for NCLA) 8 times. He plans to play both club and intramural in college. He said the best thing about soccer is chasing after a person with the ball.
“Soccers taught me to be confident in myself, how to be a leader, as well as working towards a goal,” Lee said. Advice to younger athletes: stay outta drugs so you can pass them drug tests…or else you can’t play your favorite sports anymore.
THE SENIOR CLASS
Most School Spirit: Christine Parker and Wen-Shin Lee
Most Athletic: Maura Perkins and Noah Richardson
Most Likely to be on a Reality TV Show: Nick Williford and Madison Jennings
Most Likely to Show Up Late: Amber Matias and Michael Cespedes
Most Friendly: Mercy Newnum and Noah Fowler
Class Clown: Derek Shull and Selah Smith
Falcon News Editor Brooke Bandy sat down with a variety of seniors to talk about their high school experience. Click the link to the right to listen!