Freshmen play varsity

By the time 14-year-old athletes learn the ropes of middle school sports, their competition field quickly switches from equality to inferiority.

Eighth grade sports superstars launch a new beginning when entering the world of high schools sports. Freshmen often have a difficult time proving themselves worthy of playing on the varsity level. This, however, did not stop particular Greenwood athletes from gaining that opportunity through hard work.

Senior Braydon Kincaid, basketball player, earned a varsity spot his freshman year.

“I worked really hard in practice to prove to Coach Hensley that I was ready to play both mentally and physically, and the only real way to do that as a freshman was to bring my all to every practice,” Kincaid said.

Current freshmen and varsity tennis player, Ethan Gray, expressed the importance of hard work.

“I think that by me working hard and putting in all the time I did through the winter brought me the opportunity to play varsity this year,” Gray said.

Junior Alyssa Stilley was a freshman when her sister, graduate Olivia Stilley, was a senior. Freshman year, Stilley had the opportunity to play on the varsity volleyball team alongside her older sister. During tryouts, Stilley used that to motivate herself.

“I would say that a combination of my sister pushing me to play my hardest all the time so we could play together and the need for another middle hitter gave me the hope to play varsity as a freshman, so I took that as motivation to work hard all the time and earn that spot,” Stilley said.

Earning the opportunity to play varsity as a freshman is a task in itself, but making an impact on the team athletically and mentally is a new obstacle.

“As a freshman, I think my role on the team was to come in and help score the ball. We weren’t a gifted offensive team that year, and I had that little offensive spark at times when we needed it most,” Kincaid said.

Scoring points and being a body on the team is helpful, but varsity coaches look for athletes with the mentality that benefits the team overall.

“I helped the team my freshman year by keeping my head up and never giving up. I really struggled physically that year, but it didn’t stop me from trying harder. I always pushed myself to get better day in and day out,” senior T.J. Bass, baseball player, said.

Never giving up is an important theme athletes see in multiple sports.

“Play varsity has affected me because it has taught me to never give up, and it has given me coaches and teammates that I can rely on,” Gray said.

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