Pb; Grace Osmolinski
During the fall months over 100 ninth graders take part in high school sports. These sports include cross country, cheerleading, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball. The fall athletes this year have tackled many challenges and are striving to do better.
Ninth grade cross country runner Brayden Henninger has put forth efforts to help his team keep a 4-2 course record.
“My highlight of the season was placing 26 out of 300 people at the Big Valley invitational because it was my first race,” Henninger said.
Henniger had a personal record of 18:02 this year and is inspired to run.
“Knowing that it’s a team sport and everyone cares about each other unlike in other sports, also everyone gets a chance and there’s no bench,” Henninger said.
The Altoona High cheerleaders have been cheering on the high school football team.
“Every Thursday are our games,” cheer captain Kayli Barefoot said. “My favorite game was when we played Hollidaysburg because it was our first away game.”
The high school golf team has had a 24-0 record for the past two years.
“It’s interesting playing on the high school team because I’m the only junior high kid,” golf team member Dominic Fasolo said. “I like golfing because you can do it for the rest of your life.”
There are also soccer opportunities for ninth grade students.
“I’ve been playing soccer for nine years,” athlete Anna Knott said. “There are more girls on the high school team and you have to have to work harder to get on varsity.”
The girls record is 7-8 with 2 ties.
“My highlight would be scoring at Westmont,” said Knott.
For some athletes sports are a family tradition.
“My sister inspired me,” tennis player Aly Hollingsworth said, “because she worked her way up from ninth grade to twelfth and she made it to states.”
The girls tennis record is 13-3 with games usually twice or three times a week.
“Playing my first varsity match and winning,” Hollingsworth said, “was my biggest accomplishment.”
High school level sports can be more competitive than junior high sports.
“High school volleyball is a lot more competitive than seventh and eighth,” setter and right side hitter Maggie Fox said, ”and you see a lot more talent.”
Although Fox plays volleyball now she has different plans for college.
“I plan on pursuing track and field in college,’” she said.
The record for the Lady Spikers is 9-2. “Beating Hollidaysburg,” Fox said “was my highlight of the season.”
As the year continues other sports will be available for ninth grade students at the high school level.