Three-sport athlete balances band, academics


Running into success

Guadalupe Aguado , Staff Reporter

    It’s the beginning of the school year and sophomore Alessandra Lopez was already invested in so many opportunities to be involved with her school. Her daily routine began before the crack of dawn. A band member participating in a zero hour band class, she’d get to school before 7:00 every day. Then, she’d go into her regular school day. After 3:00, depending what athletic season it was, she would practice for another two hours. If not at practice, then she was at a meeting for one of the clubs she participates in. At the end of the day, she finally got to be home and eat dinner with her family, shower, do her homework and chores, and then finally go to sleep. 

    Lopez is a three sport athlete dealing with soccer and cross country around the same time of the season, but has track & field in the spring. 

    She has played soccer since she was in 5th grade at St. Casimir Elementary and Middle School. However, Lopez wanted to try additional sports at Bishop Noll, so as a freshman she joined cross country and track. 

    “I’ve been playing soccer since I was ten years old but I wanted to try something new, since I had never done any sports until then. I joined cross country because my sister convinced me to do it with her,” says Lopez. “I joined track to stay in shape for cross country, and I‘ve wanted to join track since middle school.”

    For soccer, she plays defense for junior varsity but when playing on varsity she is a wing on the team. 

    When it comes to running, her races are the 4×8, 800 meter, and the mile. It took her around 25 minutes and 45 seconds to run a 5k. 

Senior Antoine Lewis mentioned that before he knew Lopez, he was friends with her sister Esmeralda, but he never got close with her. 

    “Alessandra calls me ‘super senior’ as a joke but I like to think of it as that nickname is saying I’m never leaving the team even after I graduate. The bus rides really brought us together with the music I would play and the conversations going on,” says Lewis. “The poster she made for me because I didn’t have a senior night really made my day. I felt so appreciated. When she went to semi-state to support me that showed that she really cared about me and I care about her too. I think of her as a little sister of mine. We’ll forever have that family bond together.”

    With Lewis being the only boy on the cross country team, Lopez was there to always give him the support he needed. 

“What made us bond was really cross country, because there were only a few of us on the team. With that it also helped our friendship grow quicker. I was also invited to her Quinceañera which was amazing,” said Lewis. 

    The soccer season and cross country season are just around the same time with each other. 

    “Honestly, it’s a whole mystery on how I am able to play two sports along with everything else in the same season. I say support from my family and friends is how I mainly get through it,” said Lopez.

    She mentioned that she normally would struggle with her time management during that period of her life, especially since marching season begins around that time too.

    “I usually split my time well. For practices, cross country practices usually start later than soccer, so it is easier to divide it all, I spend at each pretty evenly. Soccer games also tend to mainly be during the weekdays, after school, while cross country meets are usually Saturday mornings,” says Lopez. “So with that, they rarely collide and when they do, I communicate with my coaches.” 

    With starting soccer last year, it can be hard to start new friendships at first, but when junior Maria Carbajal first met Lopez, she mentioned how she was a freshman and she was very shy.

    “She was very quiet and didn’t really say much but eventually she opened up,” said Carbajal.

    When being able to grow relationships with her teammates, Carbajal says how they would always crack jokes together, and would die of laughter. That’s what really made them bond during the soccer season. 

    “The strengths Alessandra brought to the team is that she’s very hardworking and aggressive. She also has such amazing endurance because of how much she ran cross country,” said Carbajal.

    Lopez has been friends with sophomore Grace Buksa since the second semester of freshman year. 

    “We definitely weren’t as close before track season started last year but just from having mutual friends was how we became friends,” said Buksa. “Once track season started, we started getting really close because we both shared a love for running and we ran similar events at similar times so we ran right next to each other for the entire season.”

    Lewis spends time with Lopez on both the cross country and track season, so they normally see a lot of each other. 

    “She has benefited the team with her funny comments which are always a good thing to have when we’re having practices. Along with her comedy, she still is a competitive athlete which is everything you can ask for in a teammate.” 

    The track and field team season would normally begin somewhere in February, but would have unmanatory practices, and Lopez would always try her best to attend those practices. 

    “I wanted to be in shape and ready for the season, but the real honest answer is that I didn’t want to wait around the school after school because of my lack of having a ride home,” says Lopez. “Before any of my seasons begin or end, that is a drawback for me. I tend to not stay active during off-seasons. I try my best during the summer, but it’s hard during the winter because of the snow and cold weather.”

    Buska mentioned that for track and field, Lopez constantly pushes her to do her best, and she cheers her on or gives advice about what she needs to do to get the best time Buska can possibly get in a certain event. 

    “Alessandra and I run together so she definitely has helped improve my running. I also joined cross country because of her and was able to qualify for regionals at the end of the season,” said Buksa.

    Normally athletes have a person or anything that would keep them motivated to keep wanting to play or participate in the events they are in, but for Lopez it is herself.

    “Got to hand it to myself, I do a pretty good job at encouraging myself to keep going. Also, the impending doom of college applications, so I’m hoping to get a scholarship for something I do,” says Lopez. 

    Other than being a three sport athlete, Lopez is on top of her GPA with only being a sophomore. She’s in Band Honors, English Honors, Algebra 2 Honors, and Chemistry Honors classes.

    “I felt that it would be a good challenge for myself to take four honor classes and would look good on my transcript, especially when starting to look into colleges. With how last year went, I have confidence this year to keep going with honor classes.” 

    Not only keeping up with a busy schedule and making sure she’s getting the grades that she wants, Lopez is a part of the school’s band, Science Olympiad, and Art club. She also participated in the Biology club and Environmental club.

    “Well, I decided to join these clubs because I just wanted to do stuff that I had interests in and wanted to have fun with them. I also usually don’t have an immediate ride home after school, so I like to keep myself busy. The impending doom of college applications as well,” said Lopez. 

    Lopez is a part of the percussion section in the school’s band, and plays the snare drums during marching season.

    “I’ve been playing with Mr. C as my director for around eight years now and I always planned to be a member of the band. I enjoy being a part of the band and appreciate the atmosphere of the program. Also, band really helps my GPA and looks good when colleges look at me,” said Lopez.

    September would have to be the busiest month for her when it comes to her life. 

    “During that month, I tend to have soccer games, cross country meets, and football games every other day. One week I had games and cross country meets back to back every single day, then had a football game that Friday,” said Lopez. 

    When wanting to keep playing, she enjoys the atmosphere of it all. 

    “My improvements in all my sports always encourages me to keep going. But then the thought of impending doom of college applications too is what comes into my head as well,” says Lopez.

    Lewis, Carbajal, and Buksa all agree that Lopez’s support is amazing for her teammates, encouraging, very hardworking, inspiring, funny, and overall a great teammate and friend. 

    “Alessandra made two posters for me for regions during cross country and for semi-state. She was also the only other person on the team to come watch my race for semi-state,” says Lewis. “I appreciate her for that and now we are continuing our friendship through track.”

    When it comes to socializing with her friends outside of school, Lopez usually tries to talk to them as much as possible, and when there are plans made she usually tries her best to join them when she can.

    “As a friend, Alessandra is very funny, caring, and helpful. She always puts others before herself and does everything she can to cheer someone up when they’re feeling down or having a bad day,” says Buksa. “Alessandra also brings a lot of happiness and energy wherever she goes. I’m extremely grateful to have her as a friend and teammate because she’s always there for me and is my #1 support on and off the track.”

    Hopefully, if everything doesn’t become too much for her, Lopez wants to be a three sport athlete by the end of her senior year. 

    “I honestly think it’s impressive that Alessandra is involved in three sports, multiple clubs, and has maintained a very high GPA all at the same time,” says Buksa. “I don’t know how she was able to keep up with doing all of those things but she made it look easy. She truly inspires me on a daily basis to get more involved and to be more productive.”