Some see sport as a gateway to college, others join to try something new or spend time with friends
There are many reasons why students join sports teams at school. Some want to be part of a community and make new friends, while others aim to play at the college level.
At Minnehaha, we have students joining our sports teams for all these reasons and more.
This year, we even have a few first-year students who are planning to join high school track and field to pursue in college. Among them, Iliana Rubio Ramirez stands out as a talented thrower who’s already thinking about her future in track and field.
Rubio Ramirez started throwing because of a family friend who’s on the team.
“She’s actually the throwing captain, Zucy Hidalgo Blanco. She encouraged me to join my first year in high school,” Rubio Ramirez said.
Despite being only a couple of months into the season, she has already set her sights on becoming a captain and making it to college track and field.
Pursuing track and field in college is an overlooked sport, but Rubio Ramirez is determined to make that happen.
As well as Rubio Ramirez, Ruby Brown, and another first-year student with a passion for pole vaulting and a drive to stand out in a sport that few people know how to do. She is already planning out her future in college track and field.
Brown’s events are pole vaulting, hurdles, and discus.
“The main event I want to go to college for is pole vaulting because it’s a unique sport that most people don’t know how to do,” Brown said.
Pursuing a unique sport gives you a better chance of getting into college than something hundreds of people do, like basketball or soccer.
Brown started track because of her dad, Hugh Brown, who is the coach for throwing.
“He’s the person who encouraged me to do track and try it out to see if I like it,” she said. “He helped me learn throwing and always pushed me to work hard in other events I wanted to learn.”
Brown also loves the sense of community on the team and how everyone works together.
“The community is very supportive and tight-knit,” she said. “Last year, I attended Hope Academy [which is the conjoining team with Minnehaha and it felt like there were two different teams practicing. But this year, it feels more like one team, and I love the unity we have now.”
Community and how people work together is a big part of being on a sports team.
While Ruby Brown and Iliana Rubio Ramirez are driven to pursue individual events in college sports, Tennyson Shultz, a junior, is also determined to take her running to the next level by talking to liberal arts colleges and their D3 coaches.
“I’ve been running since middle school but only took it seriously until this year. This is the first year I decided to take things seriously because I realized I have potential,” she said.
She has had to work very hard since then.
“I have to consistently train, and luckily our team already has a very structured workout program and very clear goals, which is very helpful. But I also have to hold myself mentally accountable because if you’re training all the time but not mentally there, you won’t get the results you want. So that’s a big thing for me this past year, getting over those mental blocks,” Shultz said.
Track comes with a lot of mental blocks, especially with goals like hers. But Tennyson is very determined and is working hard to achieve her goals.
Just like Tennyson, a sophomore named Grazina Troup is a sprinter and jumper who also has the goal of going to college for track.
“The top priority is focusing on my academics and my goal to go division one in college for my events in track and field,” she said.
“I want to be able to set a goal for myself and achieve them. I have certain jumps and sprints I want to hit by the end of this season… and eventually by the end of senior year,” Troup said.
This is her second year of track, and she has many plans for the future at a young age. She has many achievements so far this season, for example, qualifying for the Hamline Elite Meet, which is a meet for all of the top track athletes in the state.
While Troup has the goal of going D1 for track, Ezra, a first-year track runner, joined the sport just for fun and to try out new things, showing track and field can be enjoyed by people of all skill levels and aspirations.
“I’m trying pole vaulting for the first time this year just to see if I like it or not. So far, it’s been really interesting and fun,” Ezra said.
Track and field draws diverse athletes