The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Kickin’ it in class: WCHS soccer teams score success

Both+the+Girls+and+Boys+Varsity+Soccer+teams+were+featured+on+the+Churchill+Athletics+website+in+honor+of+their+being+awarded+the+High+School+Team+Academic+Award+by+the+United+Soccer+Coaches+%28USC%29+organization.
Photo courtesy of Churchill Athletics Website
Both the Girls and Boys Varsity Soccer teams were featured on the Churchill Athletics website in honor of their being awarded the High School Team Academic Award by the United Soccer Coaches (USC) organization.

Everyone knows the stereotype: the jock with the letterman jacket. The one who doesn’t do well in school, who blows off studying in favor of extra sports practice and the one who somehow manages to move onto the next grade despite barely passing their classes. At WCHS, the girls and boys Varsity Soccer teams are breaking these stereotypes by being among the 321 teams recognized as Academic Award winners by the United Soccer Coaches (USC) organization.

The USC is the largest soccer coaches organization in the world, offering both training for coaches of all experience levels and a wide range of award programs for youth, high school and college levels. In order to celebrate the academic achievements of high school soccer teams, the USC annually awards the High School Team Academic Award to the school soccer teams with the highest composite GPAs.

“WCHS is such an academically competitive school,” Girls Varsity Soccer coach Haroot Hakopian said. “As a student athlete… [it is] hard to balance the academic pressures with the expectations of a varsity sport. I think when players excel at both, they should be recognized for both.”

Among the programs that won this year’s award, only 34 received honors for both girls and boys teams, with WCHS being the only school in Maryland to do so.

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“For both teams to have been recognized from one school is not common,” Boys Varsity Soccer coach Arnold Tarzy said. “I think it says something for our school that we have so many that excel both in the class[room] and on the field.”

Furthermore, the WCHS Girls Varsity Soccer team is once again defying expected norms because beyond the award and double honors for the WCHS soccer program, there are only 20 schools in the whole country that had a higher composite GPA than the Bulldog’s 4.20.

“The girls team (and student athletes as a whole) tend to be self-motivated to do well in their classes,” Hakopian said. “I don’t really have to encourage them to do well. I just try to support them as much as possible.”

Balancing athletics and academics can sometimes be a challenging task that leaves little room for free time. With tests, quizzes, assignments and more during the school days, students must leave the stress behind and focus on soccer during their time on the field.

“[Being a student athlete] has taught me time management because although the school work is really heavy, you can’t sacrifice soccer for it,” WCHS junior Sarah Galbraith, a Girls Varsity Soccer player, said.

However difficult it may be, being both an athlete and a student teaches student athletes skills that often help them excel at both. A study conducted by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a peer-reviewed magazine that focuses on research in the field of sports medicine, found that student-athletes “performed 10% better in core subjects like math, science, social studies and language arts.”

“I’ve found over the years that achievements on the field and in the classroom are related,” Tarzy said. “If things are going well in class, they tend to go well on the field. This goes both ways.”

Athletics are a great way for people of all ages to get out their angst and enjoy themselves, especially because various studies have shown that exercise releases various hormones that help one focus and improves concentration.

“I find that playing soccer helps clear my mind and makes it easier to focus on schoolwork,” WCHS senior Ilan Corona Shturman, a Boys Varsity Soccer player, said. “By playing soccer, I get to do something that I enjoy with my team that is also overall really good for my health.”

Being a student athlete is hard. It takes time, energy and a lot of effort but the joy of sports and the achievements both on and off the field deserve recognition by coaches and fellow athletes which is why the Team Academic Award is such an honor.

“Long after a student’s playing days are over it is what they achieve in the classroom that will guide them and make a difference for the rest of their lives,” Tarzy said.

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About the Contributor
Leah Kreisler, Sports Editor
Leah Kreisler is a junior at WCHS and the Sports Editor for the Observer. In her free time, Leah enjoys playing volleyball, going to the gym, reading and writing and spending time with her friends and family.

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