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Freshmen who make varsity

By Jared Henry

By Jared Henry

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Almost everyone knows the well-circulated story about Michael Jordan. These are the facts: Michael Jordan, who was a high school freshman in 1978, tried out for his high school’s varsity basketball team and did not make it. According to Jordan, “Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it….that would usually get me going again.”

For many high school students, sports are their top priority. Whether an athlete participates in the varsity or junior varsity program depends on many factors. Many coaches will acknowledge, making a varsity sport as a freshman is one of the most difficult feats to accomplish while in high school. Although it is difficult, for most coaches it will be apparent that some athletes are ready to start at the highest high school sports level. Out of many high school athletes who have made varsity sports as freshmen, two of the most accomplished in the senior class are Nate Cormier and Kayla Dupont. Cormier played varsity baseball while he was a freshman and Dupont played varsity soccer as well as softball.

Cormier had very high expectations for himself even though he was only a freshman. In the past,  freshmen would very rarely get the chance to play varsity baseball. Not only did Cormier make the team, but he took it to the next level and even earned a starting spot at third base where he played the entire year including the Western Mass and the State Championship games. Most times, a varsity roster is filled with upperclassmen who have some high school experience in the program. Although Cormier did not know many people when he first joined the team, he still believed, “the team really accepted me as someone who could perform at this level and assist the team. So they treated me as one of their own.” Being a part of the team and fitting in was not a problem for the freshman.

Although Nate and Kayla did not participate in the same sports, they had very similar experiences while playing varsity as a freshman. Kayla would “usually get in about 10 minutes into the first half and I would switch positions between defense and left mid, and, in softball, I wouldn’t start but I would play shortstop…” Both of these athletes began to leave their mark on their teams and made a name for themselves by contributing to the teams’ records. Kayla’s experience as a freshman allowed her to improve her soccer game because “through the years the older players taught me a lot that I didn’t know which helped me in my future.” Not only did Kayla help her team out, but she allowed the older players to help her excel in the sport.

While it is rare to make varsity sports as a freshman, every season there are more and more athletes who can contribute to the long list of players even though they are underclassmen. Kayla and Nate will both look back on their years and be proud of what they were able to accomplish as  freshmen.

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