Written by Rachel Gelven |
Photos via Alyse Olcott and Maura Kelly |
Usually, a JV team consists of underclassmen, and a varsity team consists of upperclassmen. However, there are certain students that are exceptions to this “rule,” with a few teams having some or even a quarter of their varsity team spots being filled by underclassmen. Two underclassmen playing varsity are sophomore Maura Kelly and sophomore Alyse Olcott.
Playing varsity can be a lot of work. Athletes have to put their all into practice while balancing their schoolwork. This can be especially challenging for students who are in honors classes. On top of this, there is all the pressure from the spectators during games, teammates, captains, and coaches, who remind the players regularly that their spot on varsity is never guaranteed.
Sophomore Maura Kelly is on the varsity team for indoor track. She also plays soccer in the fall and outdoor track in the spring. She runs on 2 relay teams: the 4×800 and the 4×400. She also runs an individual event, the 600-meter race. She said, “There is a lot of pressure running [the relays] because your personal time affects the entire team.”
She also mentioned how mathematics teacher Mike Underwood, who is also the coach for both indoor and outdoor track, puts pressure on them to put in the effort and have a good time. She said, “Each person has to put in a lot of effort to make the team better as a whole, and everyone relies on one another to put the next person running in a good place. If you don’t run a good time, there is always a possibility of getting removed from that relay team.”
Even though these races are very important to runners and can also be very draining, Maura said, “I’m running to improve myself and personal scores.”
Sophomore Annalyse Olcott, or Alyse for short, also participates in some varsity time, but instead of running like Maura, she plays on the Morgan Girls Basketball team. She believes it can be difficult playing on varsity for basketball since the practices are sometimes late in the evening. If the players forget to do their homework beforehand, they have to stay up late to finish.
Alyse also has pressure from coaches, captains, and other teammates while playing on varsity. She said it can be hard to play against people older than her, sometimes simply because they’re taller. Also, she said there can be pressure from the coaches, especially when a player is trying to make a foul shot when the whole court is quiet, and it feels as if everyone’s mentally trying to make sure the ball gets in.
However, Alyse also said that it is fun to play on varsity since she can make friends with upperclassmen, while still cheering on some underclassmen friends who may be playing on JV. Alyse believes playing varsity is a good experience overall since she can improve her skill while making friends.
Underclassmen varsity players find playing varsity can be a fun and an exciting chance to improve their skills while creating strong bonds with their team and coaches.