Volume 31



A drag but it’s worth it

9th grade athletes see benefits, find it difficult to commute to upper school then practice
In the varsity girls’ volleyball Homecoming game against Providence High School on Oct. 2, #5 Sophia Jun ’25 passes the ball. The Wolverines won all three games. (Darlene Bible)

“It is definitely a drag, but at the end of the day it’s worth it,” Sophia Jun ’25 said. High school athletics are a new ball game. In addition to demanding lifts and intense practice schedules, ninth grade athletes have to commute to every event they participate in, seeing as they are primarily at the upper school. Being a student athlete at a school as academically demanding as Harvard-Westlake (HW) is a challenge to begin with, so adding an extra commute makes the challenge even greater.
“We usually go to bed later [than the average student] because we have a longer commute,” James Min ’25 said. Min is a shortstop on the JV baseball team, and finds that the bus ride to O’Malley Family Field for practice during the training season takes away from homework time.
“I do wish the bus went straight to practice,” Ava Guagliano ’25 said. “It’s difficult for freshmen that can’t drive to go to the upper school and then to practice.”
Guagliano has to take the shuttle to the upper school and then hitch a ride with an upperclassman on her varsity team to make golf practice. She finds that the longer commute has pushed her, though, to get her work done early and prioritize working during the school day.
“I’ve learned to do my work at school before practice,” Guagliano said. “Socializing is great, but at the end of the day, you’re going to want to get the work done before practice.” Especially during the competitive season, Guagliano has found spending her free time at school getting work done has aided her ability to complete everything to the best of her abilities and not stay up too late in the process.
“Meet with your teachers,” Min said. “If they like you, you’ll have more leniency when you need to reschedule something for sports.”
Min believes that the best way to balance the commute and time away from school is to consistently keep in touch with teachers in case athletics ever prevent one from attending class.
“Using your free periods is key to not having to stay up late every night,” Jun said. “I try to get most of my homework done during the day so I don’t have to after practice.”
Jun, one of two freshmen on the varsity volleyball team, gets the majority of her work done at school as a way to balance the workload and her competitive season.
“We are student athletes,” Gideon Evans ’25 said. “The student part comes first. Our coach is great about [having school come first] and lets us take our time with school and if we need any time off from practice we can take it for school.” Evans plays with Min on the JV baseball team and recognizes that at the end of the day, school comes first.

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