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Team chemistry: Differences between varsity and JV

By Keirah Chen and Raymond Dai Apr. 28, 2021

As spring sports seasons resume after their sudden suspension in March 2020, not only is frequent practice necessary to win games, but also builds camaraderie between older and younger teammates. Especially for junior varsity (JV) athletes, developing friendliness is key: most JV participants are new to their sport and also unfamiliar with one another.

A member of the school’s Junior Varsity Baseball team, Tygan Coffey ‘24 enjoys bonding with teammates over food, video games and other social activities. Other teams, like JV Girls Lacrosse, also participate in exchanges like Secret Sisters. Three years ago, while competing for her team, Maddie Wing ‘21 recalls randomly choosing a number out of a bag, getting assigned to one of her teammates and then shopping for care packages before each game. Through exchanging gifts with one another while participating in Secret Sisters, Wing and her teammates were able to develop closer relationships and better understand each others’ personal preferences.

In contrast to JV, athletes competing for varsity are already familiar with their teammates and the sport they play. Simran Bagri ‘21 and Saloni Bagri ‘21, both on Varsity Girls Basketball, regularly attend travel tournaments in locations such as Monterrey, San Diego and other locations away from home. They explain that team bonds are much tighter on varsity teams than JV ones, so varsity players are able to engage in bonding activities that JV teammates do not. Harrison Model ‘23, a member of the JV Football team, explains that another main difference between JV and varsity is the gap in maturity.

Courtesy of Harrison Model

“Since we have less experience, our game knowledge is not as refined as players on the varsity team. However, gaining insights from coaches and older athletes helps us better understand how to run a successful team and establish a winning culture,” Model said.

Last year, Model received very little playing time but invested significant efforts over the off-season to improve his game. Since then, coaches have noticed his improvement and upgraded Model to start both ways, on defense and offense. Although both junior varsity and varsity athletes strive to improve their games, they do so for different goals: whereas junior varsity athletes aim to acquire starting spots and make the varsity team, varsity athletes aim to make the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs and attract attention from college recruiters.

Jonathan Morris Photo

Siddhant Thadani ‘21, a wide receiver recruit for the Colorado School of Mines and member of the Varsity Football Team explains that a main difference between varsity and JV competitions is the pace and level of intensity. To accommodate the accompanying increase in difficulty of competition, the varsity team has more coaches, one for almost each position.

In contrast to football and the majority of other sports at the school, cross country is not split into varsity and junior varsity divisions. Rather than selectively separating one runner from another, the entire team trains, competes and participates in bonding activities together. Brian Jackson ‘23, a member of the team, notes that the team is very well-connected, and everyone supports and pushes each other to improve. However, because runners compete individually, rather than as a team during meets, the runners also have to compete against one another.

[The] team is very well-connected, and everyone supports and pushes each other to improve.

“Even though we all train together, cross country is arguably more competitive. During races, athletes are not only trying to defeat other teams but they are also competing against their own teammates. Although it is a team sport, each runner is trying to get first place,” Jackson said.

At the end of the day, however, Jackson still believes there is an even divide between fun and competitiveness, explaining that everyone knows what work they need to do well and how to socialize as friends with one another.

With three different divisions of organization among the school’s sports teams, each athlete is driven by different motivations and has different goals, but everyone enjoys becoming friends with teammates and seeing their teams succeed.


About the Contributors

Keirah Chen

Staff Writer

Keirah Chen is a sophomore at Leland high school and is a staff writer. She likes going places with friends and watching horror movies.

Raymond Dai

Staff Writer

Raymond Dai is a sophomore at Leland High School and a Staff Writer for the Charger Account. He likes to play video games, play badminton and go out biking in his free time.

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