Highlighting Student Athletes from X-Country & Girls Tennis

Alex Haro and Alyssa Hartdige

Cesar Gandarilla

Sophomore, Cesar Gandarilla is a runner for the cross-
country team for his second year now and is always finding ways to improve his skill set. Whether he’s on the
tennis court, soccer field or competing in cross country,
he is determined to strengthen not only his skills, but his

connection with his teammates because strong relationships create improved results.

“I’m consistently training better with my teammates and I’m always listening to the advice and help from my coach and captains. It’s important to train and understand each other so we can get along as a team and not let any-
thing else distract us from winning,” said Gandarilla. Although Gandarilla does show outstanding athleticism, he has yet to determine if he has plans to continue pursuing his interest in sports after high school, but in the meantime he believes that the cross-country team benefits him in his overall character and mindset. Working with others as a team has, in a way, helped him build his integrity and character because they challenge him to be in the best shape he could possibly be in. “Cross-country makes me a better team player and it helps build my endurance for everyday life like going up the stairs every day for school,”said Gandarilla. A misconception with cross country is that one needs to have quick speed in order to keep up in meets, Gandarilla has this to say: “It doesn’t matter how fast you are; we are all out here to have fun. Don’t run fast, run smart.”

  Juniors, Czarina Go and Sophia Banal are both ambi-
tious tennis players who share a strong bond on and off

the tennis court. Without any hesitation, they both agree
on focusing on academics when they get to college but
they have found a passion in their craft.
“I love playing tennis and hopefully I do get to become
a professional,” said Go.
“I don’t plan on joining any sport in college because I plan on focusing on my studies. I’m not really interested
in going professional because it’s not what I’m dedicated to do in the future,” said Banal.
Holding on to an impressive GPA and performance on the court takes great discipline, rest, and a reasonable
diet. Go states that she manages her weight naturally due to her fast metabolism whereas Banal maintains a healthy physique through hydration and a good sandwich before
a game.
“School and sports has been a little bit hard to manage because the classes that I miss for games are really important and have a big impact on my grades,” said Banal.

“Sports and school was such a breeze during 9th and 10th grade. However, it’s starting to get a little difficult due to the amount of work I’ve been getting, but I’ll manage my way through,” said Go.

Both Go and Banal were not merely inspired by Serena Williams or some other pro tennis player to play the sport.
“Mr.Erby introduced this sport to me during lunch when he still coached for the team and I’ve stuck with it ever since,” said Go.

“My best friend Czarina actually suggested me to join tennis with her to try it out and I guess we stayed in the sport together for three years,” said Banal. All in all, these juniors seem to be settled on tennis, a sport that they both didn’t expect to be a part of in high school. With great discipline they’ve both managed to keep up their grades and stay true to their dream careers.