Upper School News

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Basketball Players Get Physic-al
Rachel Freeman, communications/website manager

This season, the girls basketball team is in a unique situation: half of the players are also members of the Robotics Team 4904: Bot-Provoking. Because of this, the Athletics Department created a practice schedule that supports these players in participating as members of both teams. 

“In planning our practice schedule for the girls basketball team, we not only looked at coach availability and gym space, we also looked at what made the most sense to our players so they could pursue both of their passions,” said Athletics Director Chris Wade. “It’s really important to us that our student-athletes can pursue their different passions, and feel supported and encouraged in their pursuits.”

This creative problem-solving has led to full commitment from the players and a lot of success on the court. The team is currently 4–2 in the PSAL (Private School Athletic League), good for third in the league—“the highest the team has ever been,” Chris added. 

“I think this really highlights some of the athletics program’s best features,” shared sophomore Anya P., captain of the JV basketball team. “My coaches have always been amazingly flexible with my extracurriculars. This year, with the schedule that we have, it has been even easier to do my other extracurriculars and balance basketball with them.” 

“We are part of the FIRST Robotics Competition,” noted senior Tara S, co-captain of the Robotics Team and the varsity basketball team. “Every year, we are given a game and have to build a new robot completely from scratch that addresses that given challenge.” 

This year’s challenge aligns perfectly with these dual passions of the girls basketball players. “We are building a robot that can shoot balls into a high goal off the ground,” Tara shared.

“Robotics is a key piece of our pursuit to increase women’s engagement in STEM,” said John Feland, I-Lab engineer. “When women take on leadership roles, it inspires other women to do the same.” 

Said Assistant Girls Basketball Coach Laurel Donnenwirth, “The girls have handled their schedules better than any of us could have hoped for. I have coached at quite a few high schools, none of which would entertain the idea of [students participating in] two such large activities [during the same season]. Nueva then takes it a step further and provides the backing and support to make it happen.” 

“Balancing basketball and robotics requires a lot of commitment and passion,” Tara added. “I love both so I really didn’t want to have to choose between them, and I’m glad that I can find a way to be highly involved in both.”

It’s Nueva’s culture of discovery and choice that has provided the foundation for these opportunities. “We found intentional and creative ways to support our student-athletes’ commitments, and that really is the Nueva way,” Chris said. 

Come out and cheer on our Mavericks as they compete in home games next week:

  • Tuesday, February 4 at 5:30 p.m. vs. Design Tech
  • Thursday, February 6 at 5:30 p.m. vs. Summit Shasta
  • Friday, February 7 at 5:30 p.m. vs. Pacific Bay (Senior Night)

(Photos by Joy Feng)



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