Boys’ fencing captain Skyler Chin feels that if the team loves what they do, makes hard work fun.
“I’m proud of the determination displayed by many of our fencers in tough meet situations, like when they’re losing 3-0 and come back 5 touches in a row to win the bout,” he said. “It’s not an easy feat, but many of us have pulled it off this season. We all go nuts when it happens.”
Aside from being on the high school team since he was a freshman, Chin trains outside of school, hoping to share what he learns with his teammates. “I think we need to focus on our technical skills and mental game. Our greatest strengths are the talent and potential of our starters,” he said.
The team is learning to adjust to the practicing style of a new coach, striving to win Counties again and ultimately beat Ward-Melville in the Long Island championships. “Skyler is the top épée fencer in Nassau County and a nationally ranked fencer. He is not only an exceptional athlete, but a fantastic instructor,” said Coach Josh Baravarian. “There have been numerous times when the meet was tied 13-13 and it was up to Skyler to clinch the meet for us. He is able to put all the cheering and pressure aside and completely focus on his bout.”
“This season I am most proud of the resilient attitude of my teammates,” said senior Felicia Kane, captain of the gymnastics team. “Many of the teams we compete against are filled with girls who are competitive gymnasts and train year round. Our team is made up of a large number of girls who are new to gymnastics and therefore inexperienced in terms of their skills and comfort competing.”
However, Kane sees great strength in the team’s sense of camaraderie and understanding of how all their efforts contribute to their success and believes they will improve each meet as they learn from their prior errors.
Although Kane has been on the gymnastics team since tenth grade, she has been competing in State qualifying meets since she was seven years old. “Over time, I have learned how to control my nerves and compete in front of judges and people watching in the stands. I have also learned how to pick myself up and continue after I have fallen off the beam or did not stick a landing. I believe that all these qualities have made me a good leader both inside and outside the gym. I truly understand gymnastics and can share my experiences with my teammates.”
“Although we are a close-knit team, I think that we can continue to improve our teamwork and cohesiveness,” said Alexa Epstein, a captain of the varsity basketball team.
“Our team goals include growing from our previous mistakes and motivating each other to play to our full potential.”
All of the senior varsity captains, Epstein, Hannah Zeitlin, Dylan Livers, and Rachael Warner, act as role models by exemplifying a strong work ethic and cooperation on the court.
According to Coach Tom Umstatter, the captains always step up to remind the team when they need to focus, work harder, or play harder.
Despite a losing season, the team has managed to stay positive and have not let issues on the court affect their friendships. “During halftime I try to remind the team keep their heads up and play with as much energy as we started the game with,” said Epstein.
So far this season, the Lady Rebels are most proud of their win against North. This was the first game where they felt they truly came together as a team and the scoreboard reflected their efforts. “We hope this game sparks many more victories,” said Epstein.
As Epstein put on her Lady Rebel uniform for the last time, she could only remember the positive impact previous varsity captains had on her for the past four years. Epstein hopes she has impacted her teammates in the same, or even greater, way.
Senior Dylan Forrester carries his role as a team leader on the court to the sidelines. “On the court, being vocal is extremely important. It is crucial for me to make sure my teammates and I are cognizant of the situation at hand and what needs to be done in order to seize the victory,” he explained.
But when the game or practice is over, Forrester continues to seek out the other varsity players. “It is important to spend time with my teammates as feelings such as comfort and familiarity can often be transferred to the hardwood.”
According to Coach Brad Krauz, Forrester leads by example, “with a great competitive attitude and passion for the game.”
While Forrester admitted the team can improve on the defensive end of the court by being more aggressive—especially on the boards—he noted how each player on the team has stepped up to fulfill a specific role. “Everyone has found their niche, and when each player is able to do his job effectively on game day, we usually end up adding another tally to the win column,” he explained. Hopefully, those wins will add up to capturing the conference championship. In addition, the Rebels are anxious to start playing postseason basketball.“Making a deep playoff run is definitely a realistic goal,” he said.