#1StudentNWI: As winter sports come to an end, spring athletes look forward to their upcoming season

#1StudentNWI: As winter sports come to an end, spring athletes look forward to their upcoming season

At the beginning of February 2021, Lowell High School switched back to virtual learning due to the amount of students needing to quarantine. However, extracurriculars were still able to continue. Winter sports such as girls and boys basketball and boys and girls swimming continued practicing and playing games. Additionally, the spring musical was able to continue rehearsing for their upcoming show. 

The girls basketball team ended their regular season with a 59-29 win against Hammond Gavit. Senior members of the team #35 Alexis Horton, #31 Katelyn Budz, and #11 Jordan Yuhasz had excellent performances in the game, giving their best effort on offense and defense and ultimately coming up with the win against Hammond Gavit. After that game, the team moved on to their first round of sectionals against Crown Point. The Lowell Red Devils fought hard but ended up losing to Crown Point, which ended their season. 

As for boys basketball, big things have been happening for the varsity team. The team is currently 12-8, and is getting ready for their first round of sectionals on February 26, against their biggest rivals, the Crown Point Bulldogs. #30, senior Christopher Mantis, is especially looking forward to this game because he does not want his last game as a student to be a loss to Crown Point.

Mantis is currently the leading scorer in Lowell basketball history. His highest scoring game was against Hammond Morton, where he scored 53 points for the Red Devils, helping them clinch a huge win over the Governors. Mantis, along with the rest of his team, believes that they can make it far in this year's postseason. 

Additionally, a handful of the members of the boys swim team recently competed at the Munster High School sectional swimming finals. Competitors Dylan Weller and Jaxon Skinner placed in the top two of their events, which qualified them for state. Skinner, a junior at Lowell, broke the 100M backstroke with a time of 55.87 seconds during the final round of sectionals. He has high hopes for state and wants to continue to break records at Lowell. 

On February 11, Lowell was able to fully return to in-person learning. With students returning to school, open gyms for spring sports were in full swing. Boys and girls track conditioning has begun, with a hopeful look towards the beginning of the season. The softball team also began open gyms in order to prepare for their upcoming season. Due to last year’s season being cancelled, athletes in both sports are more excited than ever to compete. 

The upcoming spring season also brings athletes committing to schools to further their education and athletic career. Ryan Farmer, a senior track star at Lowell, has committed to Purdue University. He has signed his declaration to run track in the BIG 10. Farmer has put in hours of practice and dedication toward his future, which shows that hard work pays off.

Along with Farmer, Isabella Fuentes, a senior softball player at Lowell, has signed her letter of intent to continue her softball career at The College of Wooster in Ohio.

Student Spotlight: Karina James

Karina James is a junior at Lowell High School. This past year, she has accomplished many things and participated in a multitude of extracurricular activities. James went undefeated in her cross country season; clinching the state title with an official time of 18 minutes and 1 second. In addition to cross country, she is involved in track and field, ‘L’ Club, and Diversity Club. James is also starting the recruiting process for college and plans to continue her search into her senior year. 

With track and field starting up, James has begun to train with one goal in mind: making it to state. She believes that if she trains hard enough, she will be able to make it to state and hopefully place. 

“Ultimately, I've got my eyes on the long-term goal at Outdoor Indiana University State Meet,” said James. “I hope to contend for my first track and field State Championship Individual Title in the 1600 meter or 3200 meter.” 

James knows that state titles do not come easy, but she trusts the process. The philosophy that she believes in the most is mind over matter. As you may only be able to run so fast in one season, she believes that it is her time now. With the last season cancelled due to COVID-19, James’s hopes have become higher and higher for a functional track season. 

“I know that while competing is ideal, staying low for now not only keeps me away from COVID-19, but also will take me further in the long run,” said James. 

In addition to her success in athletics, James is also successful in the classroom. She has a 4.0 GPA and plans to maintain that impressive GPA until she graduates. However, this year has been tough on James due to switching from in-person learning to virtual. 

“I 100% prefer in-person learning and have learned to not take school for granted during COVID,” said James. “I’ve always loved school, but my appreciation for in-person learning and my teachers has grown so much over this time period.”

Like many students, James finds herself with a lack of motivation toward virtual learning, but that does not stop her from completing her assignments to the best of her ability. With all the effort she puts into school and running, James has a bright future ahead of her.