Each week a new sport at Crawford will select an student athlete of the week. This student exemplifies what it means to be a student athlete. They either lead their team in academics, help to mentor fellow students or have themselves overcome an academic issue and succeeded.
Athlete of the Week-Britney Dang
While she has been on my team, Britney has shown to her teammates and I that anything can be done if you put in the effort. Starting in her rookie year, Britney practiced countless hours to become the top ranked female player on the team. She has won several tournaments since then and has proven to her opponents that she will put everything she has into the game. During practices, she is self motivated and always tries to learn something new to get better. As a team coach, I do not have a lot of time for individual training, Britney takes it her upon herself to improve her technique and pass on her knowledge to her teammates.
This season, Britney was chosen to be the female captain and has shown immense leadership skills. She helps me out by giving advice to other players when I am unavailable. Britney motivates the team to try harder and leads by example. Britney always tries to be as productive as possible and does extra work without being asked to do so. She always has a good attitude and shows great sportsmanship on and off the court. Even though highly skilled for her age, she is humble and does not let her success get to her head. She is very well organized; she is able to maintain high grades and still has time to help me with the team rankings and scoring during games.
Athlete of the Week-Sahra Mkoma
The student Athlete of the week representing the varsity softball team is Sahra Mkoma. This young lady leads our team as our pitcher. Although Sahra’s softball experience is very limited, she has demonstrated amazing mental fortitude and leadership which are imperative if one is going to pitch the softball because of the inherent pressure of the position . Sahra has a plan for her life, and works very hard to achieve these goals .An example of this determination is her attendance of an AP history study class after school before practice . Sahra is also vital to our team because of the leadership she demonstrates , often reminding teammates of our team rules, which quite frankly is refreshing yet difficult for most peers. She holds herself accountable to the same rules and will comply with the discipline we set forth for said infraction.
Sahra is what I believe all teams must have, a player who is dedicated and willing to work hard in the classroom and on the field, a vocal leader who also leads by example, and a player who is respected by their teammates. She is a student athlete whom I am proud to have on our team and who I believe is proud to wear the Crawford uniform and colors. I am not a staff member of Crawford yet, but I am sure there are countless staff and faculty who are as proud and supportive of her efforts as I am. -Coach John Martinez
Athlete of the Week-Isaiah Perez
Baseball’s Student Athlete of the Week is Isaiah Perez, team captain and leading run producer for the Crawford Colts baseball team. Every day Isaiah leads the team from the moment he arrives until he goes home. His hard work, quiet leadership and perseverance are integral to the team and he always makes sure to represent Crawford in the best possible light. Not only is Isaiah the leader of the team on and off the field, he is also the player who has improved the most in my two years with the program, along with Aaron Miguel. Last year, Isaiah had 0 hits in 19 at bats and struck out in 16 of those 19 at bats. This year to date, Isaiah has 8 hits in 24 at bats, has two triples, leads the team in RBI’s and has also been the team’s most reliable pitcher and defender.
Athlete of the Week-Islam Ahmed
For many teenagers there can be millions of excuses to not participate in school sports. Excuses such as, “I am too lazy, I am not good enough, it is too hard, too much commitment, etc.” Girls at urban schools such as ours encounter even greater obstacles to participate and represent their school colors. Those obstacles many times are very legitimate, but a barrier nonetheless. Some examples of it are: I have to go back home and babysit, my parents don’t let me run in the rain, I don’t like to sweat, running is just for boys, my parents fear for my safety, I have too much schoolwork, I don’t have transportation, I don’t like competing, and my parents don’t think this will help me at all.
Islam Ahmed has begun a journey of transformation as she confronts this negative stigma. She lives roughly 25 miles from Crawford and takes public transportation everyday to get to and from school. That means waking up earlier than any of her classmates. At one of the most recent track meets, Islam broke the 3 minute barrier racing against one of the county’s top 800 meter runner, Mission Bay’s Alexa Brisky. Although her rival’s Personal Record (PR) is still better by 40 seconds in the distance, Islam led the Lady Colt’s aggresive attack on Mission Bay by hanging on, tough as a warrior. Captain Ruby Dircio also raced and noted Islam’s valor, “I was a bit nervous because it was my first 800 meter race and I wasn’t exactly sure how to start off. However, Islam led the way for me and even though I was feeling tired, the way she was aggressively going after the Mission Bay girls pushed me to keep going, kept me from giving up and led me to a PR.”
Islam is a big inspiration to Crawford’s athletic program, especially our women’s team. Loaded up with her classroom duties, Islam often has to stay after school to ask her teachers questions, do extra work to bring her grade up, and finish projects. That does not stop her from fulfilling her commitment to her track team. Upon completing any of the above-mentioned activities, Islam grabs her running gear and runs to Chollas Lake, Crawford’s training grounds, to meet the team. She does her workout solo, then as teammates wait for her, she cools down with them. That is the true understanding of the student-athlete balance.
During Spring Break, the team met for practice at 7 am. Since Islam lives so far away, she took the bus to get to practice. One day, she arrived late to the bus stop and showed up at 7:30 am. She did not see the team at the school and ran to Chollas, which is 2 miles away, to try to catch up. That day the team met at the Horace Mann field, so when she arrived at Chollas she did not see us. She ran back to the school, and, after a four mile run, did the workout. “That day I was impressed with her commitment. In the rush of things she had also forgotten one of her training shoes, she ran four miles before her workout in sandals. It is a joy to coach someone with that type of grit,” said Coach Venancio.
The type of leadership Islam demonstrates daily helps create a culture of excellence in the track team. There are great things in the future for such bright girl.