It is no secret that the lives of Pinewood students are always being consumed by academics. However, in the midst of all of the papers, essays, quadratic equations and games of kahoot, Pinewood also encourages athletics and competitive sports, and Pinewood’s athletic community is nothing short of fantastic, and what follows are profiles of some of the amazing people who compete in the name of Pinewood; the Athletes of the Month.
First, for Volleyball, this month’s representative is Samantha Cue. A volleyball player for Pinewood since 6th grade, she “[loves] volleyball because of the great support from the team” and because she always “want[s] to improve on [her] skills.” Sam sees the most challenging part about Volleyball in finding the team’s groove and being able to understand each other, as well as to be comfortable with one another to play better. When asked about the importance of team chemistry, she cited four things that her coach told her are the most important things to volleyball: “energy, effort, hustle and mindfulness.” In order to accomplish those things, communication between teammates in extremely important. She also averages a 33% kill rate which almost triples the national average.
Next, for Football, we have Eric Burton. The Varsity Quarterback, Eric has one of the most important roles on the field, as he is the central playmaker. He has a 106.6 rating, with a 53% completion rate and an astounding average of 29.3 yards per pass. When asked why he likes football so much, he expressed that he “ likes the team aspect of football, [since] everyone has to work hard on every down, in every game, or we can’t [win].” Similarly, “our team is like a family. We’ve got each other’s backs, and are good friends on and off the field.” He emphasized the importance of communication, as well, in making sure the plays run smoothly and to make practices more fun and to bring everyone closer together. Thus, communication is what led to Eric setting the single game passing record for Pinewood, against Riverdale Christian, with 410 passing yards. That said, Eric had this to say about the team as a whole, “even though our final scores don’t show it we are doing really well, considering we lost almost every starter from last year. So, I’m super proud of my brothers and we are gonna be ready for league.” This mentality and vigor has brought the team to beating national averages in passing yards per game by 100, total touchdowns by 2, and passing touchdowns by 2.
Onto tennis, we have Esmi Pistelak, ranked second best player on the Girls’ Varsity Tennis team. A natural athlete, she loves sports and fervently wanted to play one at Pinewood. She played tennis quite a bit before her high-school career, and had loved tennis her whole life. One unique thing about tennis, she points out, is that “there’s no physical contact, no pushing and shoving – just you and your opponent.” She especially loves the team and her teammates. According to her, the hardest part about tennis is “the mentality – it’s so easy to let your mind get in the way – especially if you’ve had an ‘off’ day, or you’ve lost a few games in the set. It’s so important to keep a positive mental attitude, but that can definitely be hard sometimes… Also, everyone come out and support the girls at all of our home matches!!!”
Last and most certainly not least, we have Nate George, one of the captains of the Varsity Cross Country team. When asked why he ran to be captain, Nate simply said that he loved the sport, and he wanted to make a positive contribution to the experience of his teammates. Cross Country is all about mental toughness and on that topic, Nate says, “It depends how hard you’re willing to push yourself. It is a very difficult sport, if you’re challenging yourself, but the gratification you get from the mental and physical exertion is worth it.”