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Passing the torch: Building up from underclassmen

By Niru Shivakumar Sep. 28, 2023

Leadership, direction and a multitude of abilities that contribute to the success of a school sports team can be provided by seniors who are both experienced and accomplished in the sport. Their impact often goes beyond the playing field, helping to mold the team culture and create an atmosphere that encourages excellence and

togetherness. As seniors develop a strong connection with their sport, it may be difficult for both themselves and their teammates when they graduate.

For example, in girls volleyball, losing seniors has been tough for the athletes. Bella Chobanian ‘25 explains that their team lost two great seniors last year. She explains that the volleyball team is putting in the extra work to make up for the loss of their experienced teammates in hopes of becoming a physically and mentally strong

team going into the season. Moreover, Chobanian highlights their team building efforts.

“Our players work hard outside of practice and sometimes after weekend practice we like to enjoy a team breakfast together,” Chobanian said.

Chobanian also indicates that the team is excited to grow and become stronger. Team building activities bring the athletes together and make them both physically and mentally stronger, which is the hope they have in order to be able to make it to the CCS playoffs.

In cross country, Colin Jubert ‘25 describes that although past seniors contributed greatly to the team’s success, the rest of the team is also strong and talented. Additionally, Jubert expresses gratitude towards the current seniors on cross country who are setting a good example for the rest of the team. He describes how they

are stepping up as leaders and helping out their teammates with workouts and encouraging their peers to stay motivated.

"The loss of seniors was hard since they were good athletes and great leaders. However, we have rising talent from the underclassmen, as well as upperclassmen who are improving significantly,” Jubert said.

Mingyue Xiao Art

“Going into the season my attitude is to strive for more! I'm excited to get back with all my teammates and I can see how we can improve and do so much better this season!”

Jubert is also the co-captain of the track team, which allows him to be in a strong leadership position to be able to motivate others. Jubert also recognizes the connections between team members and the crucial role it plays in maintaining team spirit.

“In the cross country team there is really great morale. There's a real feeling of camaraderie, and everyone's always cheering others on. During races on the sidelines everyone is cheering for you and telling you you can do it. During practices people running with each other motivate themselves, and if anyone passes you they're likely to cheer you on, and there's always someone to root for you at the end of the section of the workout.” Jubert said

There's also a lot of support from the other athletes for those who didn't do as well as the wanted to, some people will just cheer them while others will help them work out how to do better

Bella Luu ‘26, a sophomore on the Cheer team, also acknowledges the valuable role that seniors play in creating a sense of camaraderie within the sport. She describes that her senior teammates are eager to offer advice and teach the underclassmen.

"I remember being scared at tryouts and the seniors made me feel like family. They told me on my first game to just have fun and treasure the moment. I learned a lot from that game, and applied those lessons to the rest of my life. Life is too short to be worrying about possibilities, you just have to seize each opportunity presented to you,” Luu said.
Mingyue Xiao Art

Luu understands that she has to step up once she becomes an upperclassman and uplift her younger teammates. She hopes that using her three years of experience on school cheer, she can become a role model to junior varsity when she is a senior. Specifically, Luu is looking forward to inspiring and mentoring the underclassmen and facilitating their connection with older and more experienced players to develop a cohesive community and enjoyable experience for all players.

Furthermore, Luu believes that the team experience is more valuable than the success. She elaborates on how the best part of the team is not the wins, but rather the connections formed and the memories made.

“I hope that our team feels like winners. I don’t care if we are undefeated, or losing all season. I want my team to feel like a family. A big part of cheer is learning to trust one another, so I hope this season our team has the comfort to tell each other anything, have each other's backs even outside of practice, and become sisters just like last season. We hope to win nationals this year, do great at all comps, and hit on the sideline, but with the friends I’ve made so far I already feel like a winner.” Luu explained.

Despite the loss of valuable senior team members, school teams are confident in their abilities to continue achieving success. They plan to strengthen their program through hard work and bonding activities, aspiring to create an engaging and meaningful season for all players.


About the contributors

Niru Shivakumar

Staff Writer

Niru Shivakumar is a junior at Leland High School and is a staff writer for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys playing sports, hanging out with her friends, and listening to music.

Mingyue Xiao


Mingyue Xiao is a freshman at Leland High School and is an artist for The Charger Account. She does dance, pottery and loves to read.

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