“Our coach really stresses that to be a great student/athlete one needs to balance both school work and sports,” explained Ashley Shields.
The team must have listened to Coach Doug Failla because the varsity girls’ tennis team was selected as the CIFSDS All Academic Team for tennis for the fall of 2008. They will be nominated to the state CIF for state recognition. They will be honored at the CIFSD Board of Managers Meeting on Jan. 22, 2009 at 9 a.m. in the Board Room of the San Dieguito Union School District Offices.
Assistant Commissioner William “Bill” B. McLaughlin, a Ramona resident, stated in a press release, “The educational athletic experience is about teaching the values of teamwork, commitment to others, and selfless dedication to representing the school and improving the community.
“The CIFSDS recognizes these school teams’ effort in academic success, earning the highest unweighted grade point average by all members of the team in the San Diego Section.
“The CIFSDS is pleased to recognize the following school’s faculty and staff, team members and their coaches for their achievement.”
In a phone interview, McLaughlin further explained. “This is a team award. The San Diego Union-Tribune gives individual honors to student/athletes who are juniors or seniors for their individual academic accomplishments as varsity student/athletes. The CIFSD team awards take the grade point averages of every member of the team and then we name the team with the highest unweighted GPA as the All Academic Team in that sport.”
Some students take advanced placement (AP) classes. In regular (unweighted) classes, an A gets a numerical value of 4.00, a B is 3.00, a C (let’s hear it for the average students) 2.00, a D gets 1.00. No points are given for an F. AP courses get 5.00 for an A and 4.00 for a B. The CIF does not factor in advanced placement classes because some schools do not have them.
So as a result, Elizabeth Branco’s 4.83, Emily Sutch’s 4.50, Ashley Shields 4.33 and Andrea Briseno’s 4.00 grade-point averages all only counted as 4.00.
How does a team that finished in the top 10 in the county get such good grades and compete on such a high level? Every student/athlete had a different formula.
Shields says, “ The support of my family and coach really helped me achieve success in both tennis and school.”
Emily Sutch states, “I get good grades because I study.”
Elizabeth Branco has a similar formula that has helped her earn a 4.83. “I get good grades because I study, do my homework and show up for class.”
“I have always gotten good grades because it is something my parents wanted and it makes me feel like I have accomplished something,” says Brittany Larzalere (3.83).
One young lady says that she does not need to do homework because she is a genius. She said it with a chuckle. She carries five or six books home every night as a part of her weightlifting regime.
Most of the players on the team admit to doing at least two to four hours of homework/study/reading a night. For others, it comes harder. It takes an average of seven hours a night to get a 4.83 for Andrea Briseno. Jordan McWhorter hits the books for about six hours a night.
Every member of the team puts a lot more hours into study than tennis.
Most average two to three hours a week of tennis in the off-season. Only four of the 12 take lessons.
What do these student/athletes plan on doing in the future? All plan on attending a four-year college. Shields and McWhorter want to be dentists. Stykel and Briseno want to be medical doctors. Sami Marsch wants to be a physical therapist. Brittany Larzalere and Katie Hoffman want to be educators. Jennica Castillo wants to be a marine biologist. Rachel wants to be an architect. Branco, Sutch and Rebeca Romero are undecided. They have time and the grades to make a decision in the future.
Coach Doug Failla insists (tongue in cheek) that he is still smarter than at least one member of the team, but he would not elaborate or provide a name. When told about Failla’s statement, the girls all pointed to another girl and laughed. This reporter knows better.
Elizabeth Branco, Andrea Briseno, Jennica Castillo, Katie Hoffman, Brittany Larzalere, Sami Marsch, Jordan McWhorter, Rebeca Romero, Ashley Shields, Alexa Stykel, Emily Sutch and Rachel Williams: CHAMPIONS ON AND OFF THE COURT.
The following teams had student/athletes (juniors and seniors) named to the All Academic Prep Team: football, 31; water polo, 8; girls’ golf, 2; boys and girls cross country, 1;, volleyball, 8.
Alejandro Gaona, Matt Ott (football), Michael Bernas, Todd Cope, (water polo), Sarah Callan, Chris Fabian, Michael Hughes, Tyler Jordan, Jessica Russo (cross country), Morgan Gross, Bailey Kotas, Kayla Lawler, Cassis Miller, Hillary Roloff and Makenzie Taylor (volleyball) all had a 4.00 or above. Some were way above.
I have heard and given a few pep talks in my time. This is how I imagine a coach would talk to his/her All Academic players in order to be named as the All Academic Team. “You’re killing me and the team! How can you try to get through life with a measly 4.00 average? And you! That miserable 3.83 GPA of yours is an embarrassment. When I say I want 110 percent, I mean it. Now go home and hit those books.”
I used to laugh when I heard coaches ask for 110 percent. I thought that 110 percent was impossible until I saw the list of the All Academic Prep Team roster at Ramona High School.