Score! Senior athletes reflect on their journeys as players

Senior Naamah Silcott has played on Birmingham Community Charter High School’s varsity volleyball team for all four years of high school as a middle blocker. Silcott’s highlight during their seasons is winning the CIF division championship. “We won the CIF division championship in my sophomore year of high school. I didn’t expect to go that far since it was during COVID,” Silcott said. (Grant Asner)

When beginning their volleyball journey six years ago, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) senior Naamah Silcott first started playing at parks and recreation centers and then joined the Birmingham Community Charter High School (BCCHS) Patriots during their freshman year.

“From a young age, my parents were trying to get me into an extracurricular,” Silcott said. “So I started in taekwondo and I did ballet. I played softball for the longest time. I did a little bit of basketball but none of them were sticking. Then I tried out for volleyball at my local recreation center, which was Northridge Recreation Center at the park, and I ended up loving it.”

Silcott has played on the BCCHS girls varsity volleyball team for four years, serving as captain since their sophomore year. They also played beach volleyball this year, which is the first time the sport has been offered by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).

“What really motivates me is if I’m having fun, then I’m doing great,” Silcott said, who is a middle blocker.

Silcott has experienced several highlights that come with being involved in the volleyball community. One of their favorite moments was when they won the CIF All-City Division I girls’ volleyball co-player of the year award in 2021. Another memory was when Silcott watched their role model, professional volleyball player Yuji Nishida, make it to the 2020 Olympics. They also went through rough times in the sport but they persevered.

“Playing volleyball, it’s a very mental game,” Silcott said. “So there’s gonna be times where mentally you’re gonna feel very dragged down and you don’t understand why you’re playing really terribly on a certain day.”

Silcott said they hope to continue to play volleyball at Kalamazoo College in Michigan which they will attend this fall. 

“I plan on playing in college because I still think it’s a great pastime,” Silcott said.  “I still want to play it because it’s still a fun and interesting extra activity that I get to do in my day.”

Silcott hopes to leave future generations of BCCHS volleyball players with words of inspiration.

“A lot of people are scared to try out for volleyball because it looks scary and all this is a new sport,” Silcott said. “But just like, at the end of the day it’s not the end of the world if you miss one point or another. It’s also a team effort.

Senior Kennedy Fayton Guzman is Birmingham Community Charter High School’s point guard on the girls varsity basketball team. Fayton Guzman ends her high school career being team captian of the varsity girls basketball team. (Grant Asner)

Senior Kennedy Fayton Guzman has played as a point guard on the Birmingham Community Charter High School girl’s basketball team since ninth grade. As her last season on the varsity team comes to an end, she reflects on her time as a student-athlete and tells her plans for the future. 

“We won the championship last year,” Fayton Guzman said. “The team was so happy because we hadn’t won one in years so that was a really memorable experience… But after high school, I’m putting the ball down.”

Fayton Guzman recognizes how much the girl’s basketball team has added to her high school experience. Her favorite part of being on the team has been the relationships she’s formed with her teammates. While struggling to prioritize academics over sports, she overcame the hardships with motivation from her team. Even though it was hard at times, she’s really glad she was able to pull through and play with her team for as long as she could. 

“I’ve created a bond with these people for the past four years and basically had another family,” Fayton Guzman said, grateful for the memories she’s made with her basketball team.

Senior Rosendo Rubalcava first joined Birmingham Community Charter High School’s track and field team in January and now finishes his high school experience on the track and field team. “I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do (this year) but I was still happy to be a part of the team.” Rubalcava said. (Grant Asner)

Senior Rosendo Rubalcava has been on several track and field teams throughout his time in high school. Now at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) for his last year, he plans to end his experience on a high note.

“Track and field involves a lot of working on yourself,” said Rubalcava, who joined the Birmingham Community Charter High School (BCCHS) track runners this January. “Track is about doing the best that you can.”

Rubalcava credits his uncles as his primary motivation for returning to the sport once restrictions were lifted.

“I (found) out that a lot (of them) were actually really, really successful track runners,” Rubalcava said. “That pushed me to keep going or at least try again (after school came back).”

While he doesn’t see himself continuing track and field as an immediate career plan, Rubalcava admits the sport has helped him understand his priorities for the future.

“(I’ve) definitely (learned to) be more disciplined,” Rubalcava said. “Now it’s trying to realize what’s more important and fun to do and focus on (that).”