• Harrison Wilmot

In-Between Edition 2: Winter Athletes Challenges

For Stevenson soccer and basketball athletes, the colder weather and periodic breaks throughout the winter season have made it difficult to develop team momentum. However, others think their experience participating in a winter sport has been everything they expected: a blast.

Santiago Sanches-Reyes, a senior starter for the boys’ varsity soccer team, is the first to say that he actually favors cold weather over warm weather. “I find it just the perfect weather to play [in]. Where I come from I used to play in really hot weather so coming here to this place, I find it to be really nice.” Transferring from Mexico, Sanches-Reyes feels the nicest days at Pebble Beach are “really helpful for athletes,” but the worst has yet to come as a part of our impending winter climate.

On the other hand, girls’ soccer player Mia Schlenker prefers the warm weather of spring over the unforgiving weather in winter: “I prefer playing in the spring because the weather is more suitable for outside activity.” It's a constant debate on the coast and the weather is really too unpredictable to measure, but winter weather certainly prevents teams from performing at their best.

Thanksgiving break has just passed and Christmas/winter break is rapidly approaching and similar to weather, the balance of holiday breaks for winter sports teams remains a controversial topic for athletes. Many believe the breaks are a perfect time to rest and spend time with family, while others think the break stops their team’s momentum.

“The holiday breaks, I feel, are necessary for student-athletes to catch up with family, give their bodies a bit of a rest, and come back even stronger and even more ready to improve and compete,” says Rhea Cosand, a star on the girls’ varsity basketball team. In addition, she mentioned that it can be challenging to maintain her physical conditioning over long breaks: “It definitely can be a challenge to stay in shape over the winter break, mostly just from finding the time to work out in between spending time with family, eating good food, and relaxing. But as an athlete, I've learned that I feel my best version of myself when I get my body moving at some point throughout the day.”

Coaches for both soccer and basketball players have assigned workout plans over breaks whether it be running or high-intensity trainings oriented around soccer/basketball drills.

Exercise is essential for athletes, especially over long periods of time without the help of motivation from your teammates or coach. Cosand has taught her body that the breaks are a designated time to work out while still saving time to bond with your family: a perfect balance. For her, the breaks are necessary for a thriving team.

Kai Hu, a junior JV boys’ basketball player, echoes Cosand: “I think this Thanksgiving break (or any breaks in general) is definitely a good balance. The main reason is that this break gives me a chance to just rest and recover from the stress and fatigue from both my academics and my fall sport. Given the opportunity to rest more during break, I can definitely be more prepared for the next school term and sports season.”

Sanches-Reyes thinks differently, pitching his case before the Thanksgiving break had started, “Right now [Thanksgiving break], I don’t think it’s the best time to have a week off.” He expands on this, “I don’t want to sound like a workaholic, but I love working all the time. We’re just one week into training and practices and getting to know the team, and I think[holiday breaks] stop that momentum we have. We’re barely getting used to touches and routines and after the first week of practice, [holiday breaks] interrupt that team bonding and chemistry we’ve been building.” The boys’ varsity soccer team looks to dominate league play this year after two flawless victories in preseason, a feat only possible if the chemistry Sanches-Reyes talks about can persist.

The winter season is in full force despite the distractions of weather and holidays. Both boys’ and girls’ basketball come out strong in preseason/tournament matches. Girls’ varsity eased their way to a victory over cross-town rivals, Monterey, led by Cosand’s 23 points while the boys’ varsity team beat Watsonville 58-51 in a dogfight with help from senior Darnell Adler’s double-double.

On the flip side, girls’ varsity soccer shocked Monterey’s stellar lineup with a 2-1 victory at home. Romi Marckx had a brilliant free kick near the end of the game, erasing the 1-1 deadlock and sealing the game for the Pirates.

What’s in store for Pirate fans at home? Four incredible teams that have bonded over each other even during the toughest of circumstances. All four start the season on a winning note and it’s likely they can keep it up when the days start getting shorter, the air starts getting colder, and the breaks start getting longer. Here’s it told by Sanches-Reyes: “Don’t look for stars, but look for the whole team to shine.”


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