It is the dream of every athlete to not only compete at the varsity level, but also to excel. Each year at Cal High, the freshman class is always teeming with talented athletes; however, it is a rare occurrence for a freshman to make it onto the varsity level their first year. Despite this, the girls basketball team had not one, but two freshman make the varsity team in 2015; the two freshmen were Nicole Robles and Alejah Navarro, two excellent athletes who will be leaving Cal in the next few weeks.
Few athletes are able to reach the varsity level their freshmen year: doing so takes hard work, dedication, and talent. At the very beginning of their careers, Nicole and Alejah both displayed unpresidented skill levels for their age, and as a result were both placed onto the Cal High varsity girls basketball team.
Nicole Robles has made quite a few records during her time at Cal. She made the third most steals ever at 164 total, the second most free throws made at 262, and the second most games played at 104. Nicole made the All Area her freshman year and All League her sophomore, junior, and Senior years. This season, Nicole scored 385 points and made 106 assists. In the words of Coach Barber, “Nicole is the best player to ever walk on this campus.”
Similarly, Alejah began her basketball career showing her raw talent for the sport and making the varsity team her freshman year. During her career, Alejah started the second most games (54), the second most rebounds at 574, the fourth most steals at 121, the most blocked shots ever (171), and made the second most charges (7).
Were you happy with your season?
-I wasn’t happy with our record, but I’d rather it be the way that it was with the people I was surrounded with rather than a good record
How does it feel to be leaving cal?
-It’s very bitter sweet. I’m excited to leave for college but also very sad because I’m leaving behind all my teammates and they’re the reason I’m even gonna play in college. So yea, it’s a bittersweet feeling.
What was your most memorable moment at Cal?
-When all the girls at the last game surrounded me and gave me my letterman, because I couldn’t afford it. It made me very emotional because I’m not used to being in front of the crowds, I am for playing but not for that kind of stuff, but that, it was nice.
Was it shocking to be a varsity athlete from freshman year?
-I guess, I never got any playing time. When he handed me the varsity jersey, I was like, “What? No, I didn’t want to do that, you know?” and I kind like actually cried and I was like “ I can’t do this” and then four years later, although I cried every practice, I did it, so I’m glad.
Out of all the lower classmen, who will you miss the most?
-Who will I miss the most? Hmmm. It’s gonna have to be Kassandra Ramirez.
So how does it feel to be leaving Cal?
-It feels pretty great, I’m gonna miss all the memories I made with my friends and my teammates and the coaching staff, also some of the teachers.
Was it shocking to be varsity freshman year?
-Yes, I was super shocked, because I thought I was gonna be on like freshman or like on JV. I would never think I’d be a freshman playing on varsity.
What was your most memorable moment out of all four years?
-My most memorable moment was probably going to CIF with my sophomore team.
So how do you feel about this season?
-It didn’t go as planned, being 1 and 7, but all the memories made up for it that I made with my teammates
So out of all the lowerclassmen, who are you going to miss the most?
-Ummmm probably my friend Kassandra.
How does it feel to have these seniors leave?
-Well, it’s gonna be different next year, because we’re losing a big part of our team, especially the two that have been with us for 4 years [Nicole and Alejah] but, it was memorable and with the younger players we’ve got coming in, we just got to work hard and look forward to next year.
Did you expect Nicole and Alejah to become Varsity level freshman year?
-Well, Nicole we knew right away. Once we first saw her play, we knew that she was very good, that’s why we kept her up there as a starter. Alejah had the raw talent, still needed a little development, but she progressed really quickly and for the past three years she’s been a big part of the team.
Out of all the lowerclassmen, who do you think is going to be the most valuable player for next year?
-Well, we have Kassandra Ramirez who’s a really good 3-point shooter and she’ll probably take over for Nicole at the point guard. Desseray is another good shooter, she’s a sophomore so we have three more years with her, she’s a very good athlete. So those two will probably lead our team next year.
So this last question, you don’t have to answer, which senior are you going to miss the most?
-Probably Nicole and Alejah just because we’ve been with them on the varsity level and have seen them grow for the past four years and you know, 4 years is a long time. And it’s just exciting to see them both go on to play at the next level. But them leaving will leave a big hole in our team. It was just exciting to have them on our team for the past four years.