The final stretch: JV players hope to make varsity next year

April 22, 2015 — by Caitlin Ju

Freshman Priya Chaganti sprinted toward her waiting teammate at the De Anza Invitational on March 13, ready to hand off the baton. Chaganti, who ran the second leg of the race, then waited anxiously until her last 4x100 relay team member, sophomore Hayley Williamson, crossed the finish line.

The glaring red numbers stared back at Chaganti — 54 seconds. The relay team had set a JV meet record, and a huge grin stretched across her face. She knew she had found the right sport, or at least one of them.

 

Freshman Priya Chaganti sprinted toward her waiting teammate at the De Anza Invitational on March 13, ready to hand off the baton. Chaganti, who ran the second leg of the race, then waited anxiously until her last 4×100 relay team member, sophomore Hayley Williamson, crossed the finish line.

The glaring red numbers stared back at Chaganti — 54 seconds. The relay team had set a JV meet record, and a huge grin stretched across her face. She knew she had found the right sport, or at least one of them.

In addition to running JV girls’ track, Chaganti played center-mid for JV field hockey and center defender for JV soccer.

As a JV soccer captain, a field hockey JV competitor who was moved up to varsity for CCS and a sprinter, Chaganti believes she has a good chance of making varsity in all three of her sports next year.

“I will really try to improve my times [for track],” Chaganti said. “For soccer, I’ve assisted quite a few goals, and since I play three sports, I’m always in shape.”

Like Chaganti, many JV players have stood out this past year in their respective sports, and most believe they can compete at the varsity level next year.

In JV boys’ track, freshman Jaijit Singh is one such varsity hopeful.

Singh, now a JV sprinter, initially hated track after trying it in sixth grade, but was persuaded by his parents to try it again this year. At first, he decided to join the sport to get out of PE, but soon found he had quite a bit of potential.

Referring to his speed and mentality, Singh said, “I’ve been blessed by good genetics, and I also try to tell myself, ‘Nothing that’s worth having is easy.’”

Singh holds a personal record of 54 seconds for the 400m, which he achieved at a Homestead meet on March 17. He chose the 400m as his main event because he could not jump, was afraid to hurdle and got too tired after long distances.

While the JV boys’ and girls’ track teams both have several potential star players, these sports are not the only ones with rising stars.

The JV girls’ tennis team has many talented players who were unable to be on varsity because of the lack of space.

Sophomore Emma Kovac, who plays No. 1 doubles on the JV tennis team, said she will make an extra effort to try to make varsity because she feels she’ll be able to relate to those on varsity more.

Her main focus over the summer will be tennis, and she intends to attend a rigorous training program to prepare herself for the next season.

Kovac is also a varsity hopeful for JV girls’ lacrosse.

“There [are] a lot of good freshmen in lacrosse, but I know if I keep working, I will have a higher chance of moving up,” Kovac said.

Another current JV player who sees hard work as the main path to getting on varsity is sophomore soccer player Naman Sajwan.

Sajwan began playing soccer at the age of five, prompted heavily by his mother.

“It really didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the sport,” Sajwan said. “Not only do I see it as a common extracurricular [with my friends], but I see it as a useful way to express myself outside of school.”

The JV soccer team fared much better than last season, during which the team did not win one game. This year, with the introduction of a new coach and freshmen players, the team placed third in the De Anza League.

Sajwan, who plays forward, left and right mid, believes the past season has helped motivate him to keep training during the summer and go on frequent runs.

Besides playing club soccer, which he says “grows [his] vision for the game,” Sajwan has coached at the American Youth Soccer Organization since the fall of his freshman year. There, he helps set up drills, provides his own drills and advice and gives individual coaching to the members.

“Coaching on AYSO has been one of the most brilliant experiences of my own life,” Sajwan said. “As a coach, I don't just want to nurture the boys' soccer skills but their overall character as well.”

Though JV sports may not get as much attention, many of these players, who plan to work hard and continue to play in their spare time, have the same passion and potential for their games.

“I [have liked] being on JV because it’s less pressure,” Chaganti said. “You have more time to work on your technique and times. But [my] end goal would still be to get on varsity in all three sports.”
 

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