By Meagan Newsom
With her twisted bun beginning to unravel, the sweat glistening on every inch of visible skin, and a newly-healed scar under her right eye, Crystal Valero approaches. As the only senior on the varsity basketball squad, Valero’s dedication not only to the sport, but also to her coach, team, school, and self has been tested both on and off the court.
Senior year for most high school students is what their whole schooling career has built towards. The leaders of the school, the ultimate top dogs, are supposed to have a “chill” year, because the end of the finish line is near. However, for Valero this year has been a statement of her commitment to the girls’ basketball program. Being the only senior to most would sound pretty stressful with so many of your teammates looking to you for advice, but Valero welcomes it with open arms.
“I feel like a lot of them look up to me on and off the court,” Valero said. “So I try to motivate them, and give them advice on and off the court.”
As a third year letterman and first year captain, Crystal is a seasoned player, who knows what the district race is all about. Having such a young team can put the team at a disadvantage; Valero admits that a couple more seniors would help to guide the youthful team in the district challenge, but the fact is that she is the only one. Adding her own wisdom to the youthfulness of the team, Valero drives the team to do the best they can.
“She is the only senior, and provides for the team well; she is a good leader,” varsity Coach Tracy Hastings said.
Hastings described Valero’s leadership abilities and the role she plays on the team. The fact that she is the only senior is not a bad thing. Her assets help the teal in a different way.Coach Hastings admits that it can get tough for Valero to juggle all the responsibilities, but says that Valero is doing great, and that a lot of the girls on the team look to her for advice.
As Valero closes out the first semester of her senior year in high school, and opens the door to the second, she plans on playing club basketball with the Amateur Athletic Union and if she gets no offers, she will move forth with her career of becoming a nurse. Planning on getting her basics done close to home at either San Antonio College or Northeast Lakeview, she wants to eventually end up at the University of Texas in Arlington.
With a smirk on her face Valero runs back on to the court, not looking back, but forward: to the rest of her season, her senior year, and her future.