Placer underclassmen step up when brought up to the varsity level


Photo credit: Courtesy Yearbook Staff

Grace Conn has been a member of the girl’s varsity soccer team her freshman and sophomore years.

Story by Rylee Yetka, Messenger Sports Editor

 Every year a handful of underclassmen athletes are asked to play on a varsity team. For some the transition is easy but for others, it is a challenge.

     There is a big difference in the level of play between junior varsity and varsity. Varsity teams usually consist of upperclassmen that have been through the route of high school sports, but the few underclassmen who get moved up to varsity lack that experience. 

     Many may believe that athletes are moved up to varsity because they may be better than some of the juniors and seniors, but that is not always the case. 

     According to senior Emma Thornton, who was moved up to varsity softball her freshman year, she didn’t believe she was better than the upperclassmen, “There were a lot of returning players and I was new to the program, but by sophomore year I would say I was at a higher level than others.”

     Students that are involved in club sports are usually more set up for success, as club involves move practice during the off-season. 

     “In club, we played many hard teams, which prepared me for the challenges I faced at the high school level for varsity, and the physicality that came along with that.” said sophomore Rachel Edwards, who has been playing varsity soccer since her freshman year.

     Some don’t understand the big difference in difficulty and pace between all levels of high school sports, including freshman, junior varsity, and varsity. 

     Each team is made up of older and bigger students that have more experience with the sport. For students that are moved up early in their high school career, they don’t have that experience and need to be able to quickly adjust.

     “The game was more of a fast pace for me,” explained sophomore Kosta Aleksic, who moved up to varsity football his sophomore year, “The seniors were helpful, and they gave me lots of pointers.”

          Juniors and seniors usually compete with players around their age and are used to the competitiveness, so most players that get moved up sometimes need time to adjust to that type of atmosphere.

     “I wouldn’t say I was as prepared as them, all of them also play club, I was the captain of my club team but I definitely wasn’t on varsity, the juniors and the seniors were used to how the varsity level matches went on,” said Edwards.

   For some athletes at Placer, the idea of playing a sport in college is very realistic and can be made possible through playing harder teams and adding up as much experience as they can. 

     “I have played volleyball for three years for two clubs, for sand and the other is for indoor,” stated sophomore Emma Watkins, who has been playing varsity volleyball since her freshman year, “My favorite part is the sportsmanship and overall being with the team, and my dream colleges for this sport are Nebraska or Cal Poly.” 

     Varsity sports are known to be very competitive, with many driven players. Some underclassmen at Placer High have taken the jump to the next level on varsity and are thriving and able to compete with juniors and seniors.