Underclassmen Above Expectations

Ava Parr, Associate Editor in Chief and Features Editor

Each sports season, athletes challenge themselves physically and mentally to achieve being a part of a varsity team. The drive and strength of these athletes is apparent, especially when you see how they remarkably compete. Although the varsity team usually consists of upperclassmen, there are always exceptional exceptions.

Freshman Eva Ramsden initially joined Cross Country the fall of her first year at Stoughton High School in order to build endurance for playing soccer in the spring. However, the sport soon became more than that for her.

She tried out for the varsity team and made it. Ramsden explains that she was motivated to try out for varsity in order to challenge herself more than she would have in JV. Ramsden’s current personal record is 22.51 minutes in 3.1 miles. A goal she has for the rest of her time on the cross country team is to raise her PR to a “21 flat,” meaning she would run 21 minutes exactly in 3.1 miles.

During the fall season, varsity cross country makes sure Ramsden has a busy schedule. Training for Ramsden includes practice every Monday through Thursday from 3:50 p.m. to 5 p.m., and strength Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.. Ramsden has words of advice for those interested in being in her position. “Keep pushing yourself. There’s always room for improvement.” She continues, “Don’t get caught up on how everyone else is doing. Focus on yourself and what you need to do to become stronger.”

Freshman Jay Johnson is involved with football in the fall, and he is planning on doing either baseball or track in the spring. For now though, he will be spending his winter season on the varsity basketball team.

Johnson describes how he was drawn to basketball. He says he got involved because of the “intensity, people, leaders, opportunities, and being around it almost all my life.”

He was motivated to try out for the varsity basketball team with the hope that he could play it all throughout high school. “[I tried out because] I could have four years of a varsity sport that I really loved and enjoyed and wanted to go on and play in college,” Johnson says.

Johnson shares how trying out for the varsity team has taught him valuable lessons. “[It] has taught me how to interact with older people, […] become a better player for myself and team, and the lesson of the team value, be selfless,” Johnson says.

Johnson’s training schedule gives a glimpse into the drive that helped him get onto the varsity team. He makes sure to train whenever he doesn’t have practice or a game. On Saturday he works with his trainers from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and again at 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., doing the same on Sunday, depending on if he had a game the day beforehand.

To those interested in improving themselves athletically, Johnson advises working with people who have more experience. “If you want to play at the next level, you need to take your game to the next level and train [and] play with people who are better than you,” Johnson explains.

Last year’s spring track season was a relief for many SHS athletes who had not been able to compete due to COVID-19 restrictions, as well as a new opportunity for brand new athletes. Then freshman, now sophomore, Teagan Seidel tried out for varsity last year with the knowledge and experience he had gained from being involved with races and jumping events during middle school.

“I always wanted to do track because my dad was a really good athlete, and I was hoping I had at least some of the ability he had,” Seidel says.

As track is currently not in season right now, Seidel isn’t doing any specific training, and is instead focusing on being on the varsity basketball team. He is also taking strength and conditioning through SHS.

Sometime in his high school career, Seidel wishes to make it to state in triple jump, a track event where the athletes try to jump as far as they can from a hop, step, and jump from a running start.

To those who want to be a varsity track athlete, Seidel has some words of advice. “Find out the event you feel the best at, and work hard to excel at it”