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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Underclassmen shine on varsity sports teams

    By Brittany Snow

    Staff Writer


    Football –  Richard Rodriguez


       On the rise from junior varsity freshman year, to now a sophomore on varsity, Richard Rodriguez has grown into a strong, starting wide receiver.

       “Richard is very determined to play, and he shows that he has the skill to be a part of varsity,” shared junior Nicholas Maxfield. “He’s enthusiastic to be apart of the team, and gets along [with teammates] really well. Overall, he’s a kid with a lot of potential.”

       Rodriguez is no stranger to the varsity style, as his older brother, Chris, is the team’s starting quarterback. 

       “Richard has gotten way better playing with varsity compared to last year ,” stated junior Dat Nguyen. “What I think changed in him was his drive to play football, and wanting to be as good as his brother.”


    Volleyball – Jessica Apodaca


       Junior Jessica Apodaca, Gabrielino volleyball’s starting libero, has neared the completion of her second year on varsity. With one more year to go, Apodaca’s hopes only increase for the future.

       “She’s really grown since last season and has become more confident on the court,” stated co-captain, senior Kayla Villalobos. “I like how even though she is a fierce player she still has fun on the court [and] is able to make us laugh.”

       Apodaca also plays for a club volleyball team, which has only helped improve her skills. 

       “High school volleyball is still my favorite because of the setting,” Apodaca shared. “Having big crowds cheering you on and knowing that you’re playing with an ultimate goal is what sets school and apart from club volleyball”

       Though many might see participating in a sport as a strict competition setting or a fun environment to bond with their peers, Apodaca takes this recreational time as an opportunity to learn and advance. 

       “I really like how competitive and interactive [the sport] is,” Apodaca stated. “But it has taught me a lot about building connections with other players and even teaches me some skills I can use off the court.”


    Golf – Madeline Tao


       Teammates would describe her as outgoing and consistent with her match play, and junior Madeline Tao has proven herself to be an essential part of Gabrielino High School’s girls golf team. 

       “Maddy is always motivated to score better each game,” co-captain senior Casey Chenh shared. “She has her hiccups, but she’s always able to fix it.”

       Through the sport, Tao has found herself being more involved with both Gabrielino peers, as well as those from other schools. 

       Tao exclaimed, “I’ve met a lot of new people through golf and getting to interact and socialize with new people from different schools during our matches is something that I’ve come to love.” 


    Cross Country: Girls – Emma Shelton


       Hardworking. Positive. Resilient.

       Many know sophomore, Emma Shelton as a hardworking cross country runner. Now in her second year in varsity, Shelton has experienced some notable improvements.

       “She was already pretty fast last year, but you can tell she’s gotten a lot faster this season.” junior Katie Sam revealed. “She’s been having a really good race streak and her dedication is really paying off.”

       Also known for her constant positivity, fellow underclassman, freshman Rachel Young appreciates the energy radiating during their practices.

       “Emma is really positive about improvement and cheers for our accomplishments. She brings a great and energetic feeling to our team.”


    Cross Country: Boys – Logan Tan


       “Running is a great stress reliever, after every run I feel like I accomplished something that day.”

       Sophomore Logan Tan, now his second year on varsity cross country, had noticeably improved since last year and continued to do so as the season progressed. 

       “His season started off a little slow compared to last year,” shared junior Willtur Cho. “Over the last couple of races, he’s come back to his true self and will reach his full potential in the [future].”

       On Sep. 28, Tan placed first at the Billy York Invitational in Riverside.   

       “He has an amazing work ethic and is constantly pushing himself,” stated junior Dominic Gonzalez. ”He holds himself to high standards and goals that I am more than sure that he will accomplish.”

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    Underclassmen shine on varsity sports teams