Fresh faces flock to varsity fields


Caroline Cooney

Freshman right back Kate Gromacki dodges a defender from Indian Creek on Oct. 25. Gromacki was a starter on the varsity field hockey team this year and was a part of the championship run this season.

Standing in front of athletes trying out for varsity, freshman Katie Hormes prepares for the first day of soccer tryouts. “I was worried because I knew there were only a couple of spots left [on varsity] and I really had to prove myself,” Hormes said.

Even though Hormes was stressed, she landed a spot on the women’s varsity soccer team as a freshman.

Normally, freshmen trying out are placed on JV. Other times, a freshmen will make varsity, but what guarantees or prevents a freshman a chance on varsity?

For some upperclassmen, freshmen being on varsity doesn’t disrupt the team bonding or create a belittling presence. There are even underclassmen, such as sophomore Stelio Stakias, who like the idea of freshmen on varsity.

“I think it’s fair [for freshman to be on varsity] because if they are good enough to be on varsity then they should be there,” Stakias said.

Previously, cheerleading reserved JV spots for the underclassmen and varsity sports for the upperclassmen. However that is no longer the case. Now, everyone who tries out for cheerleading makes varsity.

Something I look at especially with the freshmen is potential: potential to be the best player that they can be.

— Hayley Howe

Some coaches feel that the division of teams shouldn’t be looked at as a difference in talent, but as a way to develop players with potential for varsity in the future.

All coaches have a process that they use in order to determine who makes the team and who will represent the team on the varsity level. Women’s soccer head coach Hayley Howe looks for unique qualities in her players.

“Fitness and physical strength are certainly something we take into consideration, but something I look at especially with the freshmen is potential: potential to be the best player that they can be. I certainly look at what we have currently coming back as varsity because you don’t want to only take JV players that were sophomores or juniors, you want to look at the freshmen,” Howe said.

On the contrary, the men’s soccer team mainly keeps their freshmen players on JV because of physical differences.

“I have only had probably two guys out of the 145 players that I have coached that have had that physical ability to compete on varsity [as freshmen]. So it doesn’t happen too often, but we are always on the lookout for it,” men’s soccer head coach James Fendryk said.

A freshman starting their athletic career on JV gives them the ability to have more time to play. If a freshman has a spot on the varsity team, they might not get a whole lot of playing time throughout the season.

“The negative stigma I’m trying to get rid of is that being on JV is a bad thing. I’ve actually said to freshmen, you have the potential to be on varsity, but you won’t get any playing time. If you’re on JV you’ll play every single minute. There is something valuable about sheer playing time,” Howe said.

To all of those freshmen who are trying out for varsity, people are rooting for you. “Always be working your hardest. Even when you’re playing badly, you can still work hard,” Hormes said.

Azanae Barrow is an Entertainment Editor for The Patriot and