The Paly Voice

Verbatim: Freshman athletes on varsity teams

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While many upperclassmen enjoy looking down on the class of 2022, these freshmen pack a punch. The Paly Voice caught up with some of the youngest and most promising talent that are bringing home the wins for Palo Alto High School’s varsity teams.

Note: the excerpts below have been edited for clarity and concision.

Volleyball

Freshmen Amelia Vugrincic and Hillary Cheung (right). Photo: Margaret Li

Hillary Cheung

Paly Voice: How did you start playing volleyball?

Hillary Cheung: My mom really liked sports and when she was little, her favorite was always volleyball. When I was growing up she would introduce me to the sport, and I kind of got into it, and then when I joined a club I just really enjoyed it.

PV: What’s the hardest thing about being a freshman on a varsity team?

HC: At first, it was intimidating to play with older players, especially the seniors, but now that I’m actually on the team, people are really nice and they’re very welcoming.

PV: What’s your favorite thing to do outside of volleyball?

HC: I paint shoes. Last year, I had a project where I was making money for the Underground Water Project which helps to give clean water to communities that don’t have as much money, and I did it painting shoes. I made $1,000.

PV: Any goals for the season?

HC: Learn from my teammates, try to improve.

Amelia Vugrincic

Paly Voice: How did you start playing volleyball?

Amelia Vugrincic: My mom ran Division 1 track, but she also played volleyball in high school, so she wanted me to play volleyball and track, but she never actually said that. So when I was little, I would just pepper [pass a volleyball back and forth] with her in front of the lawn. She did a reverse-psychology thing where she told me I couldn’t play volleyball, so I really wanted to play. Apparently it was her plan all along, but that’s how I got into it.

PV: What’s the hardest thing about being a freshman on a varsity team?

AV: It’s hard to realize that the top girls on this team were like us and played varsity as a freshman, but sometimes you forget that. You know that they’re starters for sure, and everybody views them as, ‘wow, they really carry this team.’ From playing up on teams and being one of the starters on those team, it’s hard to realize that it’s not just about skill but also maturity, how they’ve played for years, and how we have to work our way up. I think it’s really good because it’s a challenge.

PV: What’s your favorite thing to do outside of volleyball?

AV: I ride horses, so I’m an equestrian, and I also play the trumpet.

PV: Any goals for the season?

AV: Try to really build connections with the setters and play a faster level of volleyball, on defense and offense.

Tennis

Agnes Mar

Freshman Agnes Mar. Photo: Ryan Wisowaty

Paly Voice: How did you start playing tennis?

Agnes Mar: I started playing when I was eight years old and that was back when I was in Seattle. I just kind of fell in love with the sport.

PV: What’s the hardest thing about being a freshman on a varsity team?

AM: The hardest thing is that most people have already been on the team so you are basically one of a couple people who are new so I really don’t know what to expect.

PV: What is your favorite thing to do outside of tennis?

AM: My favorite thing to do outside of tennis is travel to new places and eat new foods.

PV: Any goals for the season?

AM: The one goal for this season is to improve my doubles because I haven’t really been playing doubles. I’m more of a singles player.

Harin Kim

Freshman Harin Kim. Photo: Ryan Wisowaty

Paly Voice: How did you start playing tennis?

Harin Kim: Well my dad really likes tennis so he got me into it. I started taking lessons when I was 12 years old and then I started playing competitively.

PV: What’s the hardest thing about being a freshman on a varsity team?

HK: I’m not sure. So far there haven’t been that many hardships, but there is a pressure, though, because you are the youngest and so you want to do your best.

PV: What is your favorite thing to do outside of tennis?

HK: I like photography.

PV: Any goals for the season?

HK: I want to win at least one match over the season, or a couple.

Golf

Freshmen Lauren Sung and Sydney Sung (right). Photo: Amy Lin

Sydney Sung

Paly Voice: How did you start playing golf?

Sydney Sung: My dad played when he was in high school, his brother introduced him. He lived in San Francisco at the time so he and his brother would go out and play; my dad really liked it, so we all started to play and he taught us, and then we got coaches.

PV: What’s the hardest thing about being a freshman on a varsity team?

SS: We’ve never really been part of a team for golf, because golf is really individual. It’s really fun getting to know our upperclassmen. Our sister’s already on the team and we basically know most of the girls already.

PV: What is your favorite thing to do outside of golf?

SS: Hanging out with my friends.

PV: Any goals for the season?

SS: I really want to make it to States this year. The last couple years, we haven’t made it through NorCals, and we just want to make it through States this year.

 

Lauren Sung

Paly Voice : How did you start playing golf?

LS: My dad started playing golf, so we all just started together and we all really enjoyed it. We played it as a fun sport when we started, around the age of four, and we had other sports going on too, so we didn’t start going competitive until seven or eight.

PV: What’s the hardest thing about being a freshman on a varsity team?

LS: Being on a team. It’s a lot more pressure to play better, because you’re worried about letting your team down or not playing well.

PV: What is your favorite thing to do outside of golf?

LS: Hanging out with my friends or watching TV.

PV: Any goals for the season?

LS: I really want to make it to States, like Sydney said. It’s definitely our goal since we have a lot of good players this year, and it would be great for our upperclassmen to end their years off with going to states.

Boys’ Water Polo

Jack Haney

Freshman Jack Haney. Photo: Ryan Wisowaty

PV: How did you start playing water polo?

JH: My dad played water polo in college so I just wanted to be like him.

PV: What’s the hardest thing about being a freshman on a varsity team?

JH: All of the other players are bigger and more competitive, so I have a lot less skill and size to help me.

PV: What is your favorite thing to do outside of water polo?

JH: Hanging out with friends and playing games.

PV: Any goals for the season?

JH: I aspire to become much faster and have a much better shot along with overall knowledge of the game.

Field Hockey

Freshman Natalie Hmelar. Photo: Ryan Wisowaty

Natalie Hmelar

PV: How did you start playing field hockey?

NH: I actually just started here, but I’ve always really liked watching hockey so I just thought I’d try it.

PV: What’s the hardest thing about being a freshman on a varsity team?

NH: I feel like everyone’s going to be a lot bigger at other schools, because, I mean, everyone is older on varsity sports usually, so just like an age difference and a size difference.

PV: What is your favorite thing to do outside of field hockey?

NH: Soccer.

PV: Any goals for the season?

NH: To get better with possession with the ball.

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