Winter Sports Heat Up

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Donna Mundy

Hawk varsity basketball earns a win.

Olivia Cornell, Reporter

Highland’s winter sports are about to be in full swing. After dealing with the uncertainty and delays of the virus last year, coaches and players are more than ready to get back on the court, field, and mat.

Boys Soccer

Highland’s Boys Soccer team experienced a number of successes last year, despite their late start to the season. Coach Julio Becerra hopes to build off of that excitement this year so his team is able to make it to the playoffs once again.

Preparing the boys team to compete requires a lot of “technical and tactical work,” says Becerra, “We have a small window of time to get them to gel together and play together as a team.” To create a sense of unity and family, the boys host team dinners, where their time together benefits their performance on the field.

Coach Becerra is confident because he knows that these boys “fight for each other.” Seeing them compete and cheer each other on was an inspiring act for him to witness.

Boys Soccer would love to have student support at their next home game on the 13th against Chandler, with JV at 4 p.m. and Varsity at 6 p.m. “After a year where we were super restricted with fans, we would love to have students come out and support the Hawks!”

Girls Soccer

Just like the boys, the girls soccer team came in prepared to start the season. Last year, the ball didn’t start rolling until January, so Coach Andy Barber is happy to get back to “normal”.

Most of the girls play year-round with club teams, so Barber’s main goal is to get them on the same page with each other. To do this, the girls come up with activities that go a long way in helping them connect with each other. For example, team captains talk about their “topic of the day” at the beginning of each practice, and each player gets to throw out something about themselves. “I think that really helps them get to know each other over the course of the season and really bond,” says Barber.

Surprisingly, the team this year is filled with a majority of younger girls, which some might view as a negative. However, Coach Barber thinks that this is an advantage. “They’re all looking to make their mark.”

Girls Soccer has a unique schedule this year, their first home game is not until January of 2022. “Soccer is not normally a sport that attracts a very large crowd, so any support we received from the student body would be a great boost to the players,” says Barber.

Girls Basketball

With new coach Cassandra Damyanovich, the girls basketball team has high hopes for this season. Varsity athlete Natalija Jevdosic (11) says “I’m excited for our team because we’ve been playing together for a while… I’m excited to grow even more with them.”

Similarly to the boys soccer team, the girls basketball team also has team dinners, where the girls have time to get to know each other outside of their positions on the court.

When asked what special qualities her team possesses, Jevdosic says, “We’re all very supportive of each other.” A system of support is crucial in a sports team, it gives each player a group of people they can rely on, and players can know that their team has their back when things get intense.

To see how these ladies’ passion and enthusiasm play out on the court, come show your support at their next home game on Dec. 14th, with varsity starting at 7pm, JV at 5:30, and Freshman at 4.

Boys Basketball

Highland’s boys basketball team has a promising season ahead of them, with wins all across their board. They won all three games during Red Mountain’s Thanksgiving Tournament, and have already defeated the Mesa Jackrabbits and the Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions.
All of these boys share a strong and deep bond with one another. Varsity athlete Jacob Aurich (11) mentions how “We’ll [teammates] go get food after practice or games.” To add to their team spirit, these boys always come to practice with an enthusiastic attitude. “We bring a lot of energy in every play,” says Aurich.

Varsity hopes to make it to the playoffs this season, and can’t do it without their amazing student section. Having that student support and the spirit of a crowd means everything to the team. 

To see this hard-working team play against the Chandler Wolves, be at the Hawk’s gym at 7pm on Dec. 15th.

Wrestling

Wrestling is often a sport here at Highland that goes unnoticed. It’s a team full of dedicated students who work daily to improve themselves.

One wrestler, Jacob Casillas (12), is looking forward to qualifying for this season’s state championship, saying “Getting ready for that is exciting… we’ve gotta make it count, it’s our senior year.”

Everyone in wrestling is extremely close. Casillas says that this is because they all are working for the same thing. Working towards a goal together builds a bond like no other.

Because Highland’s wrestling team doesn’t have a home game until January, Casillas says that “Support from Highland students at a game would help a lot – to raise the adrenaline and give us more energy.”