Graduating athletes leave roster spots to fill

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Even though the majority of sports teams at Granite Bay High School have seniors on their teams every year, losing seniors can effect some teams more than others.

Junior Nicole Zenzola, captain on the cross country team, said that on the boys’ varsity cross country team four out of the top seven players are seniors. She said that even though they will lose players that play a key role in their success, they will be able to recover in time for next year.

“I think the boys can still be successful despite that because they are a deep team and have strong underclassmen,” Zenzola said. “Losing the seniors will definitely make a difference, and we will have to work hard to fill the gaps that they leave.”

Zenzola said that luckily for them, they have talented underclassmen and current juniors who will help the team succeed even after the seniors leave.

Sophomore Jordan Poczobutt said that success wise, the girls’ team should do fine next year because they are only losing one senior, while losing the senior boys will affect the boys’ cross country team’s ability to qualify for state again.

“I think the (girl) underclassmen do a pretty good job of filling in for seniors,” Poczobutt said. “Our two top girls are both sophomores who always finish in the front of the pack in races.”

Because the girls’ team consists of mostly underclassmen, Poczobutt said she is confident that they will all greatly improve by the time they are seniors, making the girls’ cross country team hard to beat.

“Right now all of the underclassmen from other schools are beating us but when we are seniors, the girls’ varsity team will be extremely strong.” Poczobutt said.

As for the girls’ volleyball team, they currently have five seniors on the team, two of them being starters. Junior Sammi Tafoya said that even though they are losing a big chunk of their team, some being very key players, they have some upcoming players who will do a good job filling in for them next year.

“People like Carly Wallace and Ali Lemos will definitely be able to help us out next year,” Tafoya said. “We still have four out of our six starters from this year so hopefully the new players will make us better and contribute big things to the team next season.”

The girls volleyball team came in first in league this year and Tafoya said she hopes that they will still be as successful next year.

“I think that losing Brooke Hershberger and Libby Deters will have the biggest impact, but I think that we have other players that will hopefully be able to pull us through,” Tafoya said. “We know that other schools like St. Francis and Oak Ridge are also losing key players so hopefully next year we can still be as successful.”

Tafoya also said that she thinks the team has a strong chance of winning league next year because even though they are losing a lot of good players, as they still have many juniors and sophomores that played this year, some of whom even garnered starting time.

Sophomore Ali Lemos said that even though the seniors on the team this year had a great impact on the success of the team, the junior varsity volleyball team has a lot of great talent that will be coming up to the varsity team next year.

“(The seniors) have a great legacy and it will be hard to fill that but I am confident in our future,” Lemos said. “I think that we will be able to bring new character to the team and have our own success.”

According to Tafoya, the seniors not only brought great talent to the games, but they also had a big impact on how close the team became throughout the season. Lemos said that recreating the camaraderie that they brought to the team will be one of the hardest things to replace.

“(The hardest thing when the seniors leave) will be bringing back the unity that the seniors had after playing together for so many years,” Lemos said.

Tafoya said that the most difficult thing for her that comes with losing the seniors is also losing friends on the team. She said that because she is friends with all the seniors on the team seeing them leave will be more difficult than losing their skill for next season.

“Obviously it is hard knowing that we are going to be losing some great players for next season, but it will be harder adjusting to not having them on the team,” Tafoya said. “We all bonded a lot this season and the memories we made with them will always be more important to me than remembering how well we did during the season.”

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