Athletes of the Month: January
February 13, 2020
For this month’s Athletes of the Month feature, the newsroom decided to go beyond the coach’s quotes and accolades. Here are their stories:
From being a classroom troublemaker his freshman year to becoming an inspiring leader by his coach during his senior year, the Grizzly Gazette shares the story of January athlete of the month, Josue Martinez.
Martinez plays forward and has scored 19 goals in 20 games, making him the leading goalscorer for the team. However, his dedication does not end there according to his coach Ruben Fernandez. Fernandez adds, “[Martinez] is also a leader both on and off the field. Besides being a very skilled player, he works hard both in practices and games… [and] is also a good student with a 3.66 unweighted GPA.”
Between juggling classes and soccer Martinez told the Grizzly Gazette that he enjoys taking things one step at a time, “On game day I mentally focus myself. However, when it’s time to focus in class, I focus hard. When it’s time to focus on games, I focus on games.”
When asked about what led to him scoring so many goals Martinez told us he always practices
Three hours on his own apart from the practices at school, however, he adds his biggest mental preparation is prayer, “ I get confidence and peace after praying, I pray for everything it’s a big part of my life. I used to be a troublemaker and decided to become Christian and I found what I needed. I found myself.”
“I used to get referrals all of the freshman year but my whole life changed my sophomore year which is when I found God.” Martinez also joined the soccer team in his sophomore year and a regular starter of the varsity team since his junior year.
The difference in character was also reinforced by his fellow captain of the soccer team Diego Navarro, “In practice and games [Martinez] takes a leadership role and helps me by not being the only one leading the team and I know he has my back.”
Apart from being a leader on the field, during pre-season, Navarro expresses Martínez’s work ethic, “He and I always challenge each other in the weight room and he always works hard at every practice and works hard during games. He makes everyone’s job easier.”
Martinez’ season has not been the easiest as he had an injury before the season. His lower back injury had him sit out of sports for about 3 weeks but fortunately has not been troubled by it, so far this season has scored nineteen goals in nineteen games.
Girl’s Wrestling: Samantha Pina
Samantha Pina has been wrestling since her sophomore year, inspired by her uncle and the support of her brother since he also joined the program. Pina realized she wouldn’t be alone and decided to join the contact sport. Pina’s sports career has always been a challenge for her, but she always pushed through and kept watch on her weight. Pina said, “I had to minimize the amount of junk food I ate and overall just eat cleaner.” Managing a diet is a lot harder to do alone, but her family, however, helped her eat healthier.
As the years passed and the more progressive she had become her highlight of the sport was being able to wrestle at CIF her junior year. However, her lowest was missing out on tournaments because of her injury which was a hyperextension of her elbow she had sustained.
Although she plans on going to college Pina is still not sure if she’s going to play the sport in college because it all depends on what college she attends, but she does know that she wants to continue spending her time in combat sports after high school.
Her whole family is really supportive and proud that in itself helps her a lot. They help her with anything that has to do with the sport. There have been times where Pina wishes she didn’t have to go to practice that day from being burnt out and constantly practicing. Pina is dedicated and passionate when it comes to wrestling.
Her coaches are also of utmost pride and ecstatic for her growth in the sport. Coach Corona said, “Sam has shown great commitment throughout the winter break and is working hard improving her skills.” Pina wants to thank all the coaching staff and teammates because they have helped her become the wrestler that she is.
Girls Basketball: Natalie Flores
On top of her extracurriculars, attending church school, and being on the girl’s varsity basketball team for all four years, senior, Natalie Flores, has also managed to maintain a 4.8 weighted GPA.
Flores plays guard on the Varsity Girls Basketball team. She has been playing basketball for ten years and played in middle school, so when it came to choosing a sport in high school basketball was the obvious choice. “It came naturally,” she said. Flores has also been influenced to pursue basketball because her dad also played in high school.
Because of her experience in basketball, her freshman year, she landed a spot on Varsity. That experience came from her playing on an outside team called the “Lady Monarchs” since 2nd grade. She still remains on the team to this day but takes a break when playing for the school. Girls Basketball Coach Alaman said,” Natalie is the team’s leading scorer this year, avg 10.2 points per game and played a pivotal role in bringing home the championship for the Lady Grizzlies.”
A typical day in the season for her starts at 2:30 pm when practice starts and goes to 4:30 pm. At practice, the team conditions, perform drills, and practice plays for games. While her diet doesn’t change much in season on game days Flores says,” I try to be healthy and I usually eat salads from Chick-fil-a.”
While playing basketball does consist of a lot of running and time, the team is the best part of playing for Flores.
As she learns from her teammates, they also learn from her. By being team captain she has to step us as a leader on and off the court and be there for the team when they need her. Whether that means helping someone understand a play or by just being caring to her teammates. Senior and teammate Bianca Diaz said,” Something I really love about Natalie is that even if we have a bad game or practice she sees our potential and our abilities, and gives us hope in a tough circumstance and advice to get better.”
Even though being a team leader is a big honor, it does come with a weight. Flores has to maintain her cool on and off the court and be there for her teammates even though sometimes it feels like too much. Senior and teammate, Crystal Diaz said,” Her work ethic has always shown she was a leader, but there are times when she gets in her own head. She knows that she has to set the example.”
Her competitiveness on the court also shows in her school work. In all her four years at Godinez, she has never gotten below an A in any of her classes, and for that reason, she has the number 2 spot in the class rank. This year with all her duties as team captain she has also been juggling three AP classes and time heavy clubs like ASB Senate and the National Honor Society.
Besides all the pressure, basketball still makes Flores feel anxious and excited and brings out her want to compete. It all feels worth it because at the end of the day she not only gets to better herself but play with her friends and have fun.
“Basketball has helped me grow as a person and a player and has allowed me a distraction from any problems I have because they all melt away once I’m on the court,” said Flores.
Girl’s Water-Polo: Idaly Ramirez
Junior, Idaly Ramirez, juggles work both in and outside of the field, as the year is coming to a start she and her teammates are ready to make a splash this upcoming season. As the year is coming back into session, Ramirez states that with her AP class, water polo and her Football management activities time is really a crunch in her everyday life. After school, she focuses on working on homework for her many classes, creating as much time for her classes as she can before her practice session at Valley High school. “Usually after school, I help out Jason with the football team, then do homework and when practice comes to a start walk straight to Valley”.
Juggling all these tasks whilst in the middle of a competitive sport is not the easiest thing to do, from a long practice day from 5 to 7/8 P.M, Ramiez has left the rest of her night to help out her family during dinner time and also leave time for her leftover classwork.
Italy’s mentality before every game revolves around her will to win and push her teammates further even through the toughest of times.
At first, Ramiez’s family did not clearly agree with her joining Water-polo, due to her practice times taking place so late in the evening and having to pick her up during the nighttime, as well as the countless injuries to come from her many games. “They saw it as a tough sport and wanted me to drop out, however, I convinced them and they saw my dedication, and so they started to watch my games”.
Ramiez does not seem to have outside of school league in water-polo, however, she believes that if her skill and speed were to increase she would consider it as an outside sport for her to do in her own time. To Idaly, Waterpolo is her second family, ever since her start freshman year she has fully grown to become one of the best players in the water, her enthusiastic characteristics and demeanor has truly allowed her to create friendships with the many other girls she leads.
Ramiez’s warm-ups consist of team stretches and solo sessions between each player, after this they practice their aim and coordination in the water before the game.
The off-season for Ramiez is an open door for team improvement, her alongside her teammates often eat out and hang out during the off-season in order to improve team coordination and cooperation.
When asked what is it like working alongside your captain, water polo player Maryah Alvarado stated, “When I work with Idaly I see so much potential in her because she has motivated and pushed us through tough times, like the time we didn’t really have a coach to train us but she offered to help us by guiding us with so many questions that came to the sport that we didn’t really know about because most of us it was our first year”.
“She pushes our team further because she says that even if we lose a game we at least tried our best to get where we want to and it’s true because our closest game was almost like a win for us even though we had lost by a point”, Maryah Alvarado said. She helps us differently because there are many steps and rules to Waterpolo which some may be very hard to accomplish but pushes us so we can be our best during a game or even at practice, it doesn’t matter if we’re the fastest swimmer what matters is the amount of strength we put in a game and practice
Even if we complain there is always a happy ending to look forward to
“Idaly has always stepped up to lead her team at all times and willingly helps everyone out with all their questions. She is always eager to learn at practice and also asks to practice with Varsity every now and then. She has definitely shown servant leadership and great sportsmanship as she continues to prove she is a great asset to the team, “ said Coach Cruz
Boy’s Wrestling: Paul Gonzales
It’s all about working hard every day and not slacking off — and that’s all Paul Gonzales lives by.
Paul Gonzales is a Godinez Fundamental 9th grader in Varsity Wrestling. Gonzales has been participating in wrestling for 3 years now and he loves it. “I really wanted to do it in high school,” Gonzales explained. “I wanted to improve and keep on improving to see how good I can get.”
Being in a sport requires attention both inside and outside of school. It’s not easy being a scholar-athlete, but Paul manages. With a 3.66 GPA, Paul has been recognized as an athlete of the month for the month of January. “Paul wrestles extremely hard and performed very well over the winter break,” said Coach Corona. At home, Paul does workouts and practices his techniques.
Paul has a very strong, supportive family who always comes to his matches which leaves a big impact on him and his sportsmanship when it comes to participating. “He’s super nice,” said senior Jose Lobato, fellow varsity wrestler. “He never fights with anyone on the team.”
Wrestling is not an easy sport that comes with a lot of requirements and Paul never gives up. “Once he had this thing called a ‘cauliflower’ in wrestling,” explains teammate Jose Lobato. “Coach forced him not to practice, but he had like this dedication to continue practicing because of how much he loves the sport,” Lobato continues. Paul shows determination throughout the season. 12th grader, Alex Argueta adds on, “He’s always asking questions to better himself [in wrestling],”
Paul demonstrates what it means to be an “Athlete of the Month”: strong, responsible, academically focused, and commitment. Barely being a 9th grader, Gonzales shows a bright future ahead of him. “He always works hard,” said Alex Argueta. “For a freshman, I’d say he’s off to a good start.”
Girl’s Soccer: Fernanda Perez
With just the new year starting, what a great way to be an athlete of the month. Fernanda Perez could have not been any more bitter about being injured while being an athlete of the month. However, she hopes to get back on the field as soon as possible.
Perez has followed her parents and older brothers’ footsteps in joining soccer.
As a recurring member of a soccer family, Perez has managed to create a name for herself at Godinez and has made an impact on her team throughout her career as a member.
As her season starts to begin, her injuries have truly been the worst of her worries, with a broken bone, Prez has had trouble keeping up with her team, but is enthusiastic of getting back into the field.
Fernandez has grown to love the sport throughout her years playing for Godinez Fundamental and says she is adequate in continuing outside of highschool in a club rather than in college.
Boy’s Basketball: Isaiah Tapia
With a strong start to the 2019-2020 basketball season, Senior, Isaiah Tapia is ready to face challenges.
“The moment you give up is the moment when you let someone else win”
Isaiah Tapia has always worked hard to improve every day. He is a 2nd year Varsity player, and Athlete of the Month for the first time, this January. A typical day in the season for Isaiah is like any other, to prepare he listens to his music and stays locked and ready to play. Tapia chose basketball as it was a lot of fun and his teammates create an enjoyable environment where he feels at home.
While on the court Tapia’s only focus is to keep his teammates focused and active.
When asked what major drawbacks he’s faced, Tapia stated, “our season is going on a great track, however we face a lot of challenges on our way, and we all just need to focus and fix the couple bumpy roads ahead, as a team we can fix all our problems”.
As a past team player, Isaiah is no rookie when it comes to being a team player, through every bump in the road he alongside his teammates fix issues and stay on track.