Seniors spring out of the sports season
By Catherine Brown, Photo & Business Editor
As the school year draws to a close, many seniors have wrapped up their final sports seasons of their high school careers. However, those who participated in spring sports are not leaving quietly, but rather going out with a bang, with softball, boys soccer, and girls track and field all winning at league championships.
Senior Tamsen Henry has been playing softball for 10 years, playing this year as pitcher. Henry plans to continue playing at Willamette University in Oregon.
“[Playing softball] has given me a purpose and a way to push myself and improve. It has kept me motivated to do well in school and given me a family,” she said.
This was the first time in Vashon High School history that the softball team won league championships.
“Winning championships honestly felt like a movie. … It was the last time we were all playing together and we have grown up playing together. … It was a perfect way to end the season. Everyone contributed to the win and the whole season was honestly majestic.” she said.
Henry encourages anyone interested in sports to pursue it, as it could change your life.
“If there are any people reading this who are thinking about getting involved in sports, do it! You will not regret it, you will learn so much about sports, working with other people, and other important life skills,” she said.
Alongside Henry, Senior Rachael Freebourn plays outfield and shortstop. Since beginning softball on Vashon 12 years ago, she is determined to continue playing at San Francisco State University.
Unlike Henry, Freebourn was unsure of how the game would play out. But she knew she wanted to win badly.
“When leaving my house I honestly didn’t know what the outcome was going to be. I just knew that by the time I get home tonight, I’ll know. I felt like my adrenaline was pumping through the roof of the field,” she said.
“Throughout the game my thought process was to keep the same energy the whole game for our team. I wanted to spread positivity throughout the whole game and let everyone know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that we will be okay. It was important to me that none of our players were sad or upset about anything because when you start to throw a pity party all goes bad. We needed to stay up,” she said.
Freebourn was unsure of the outcome of the league championships, with Bellevue Christian being ahead the whole game . Vashon’s team had been undefeated in the league.
“I was scared, but I was determined to never give up nor let my teammates give up,” she said.
After a quick pep talk given by Freebourn, the team felt encouragement as they walked up to bat.
“Ivy came up to bat and had 1 strike on her. She hit the ball to left field and brought everyone in. That was it. We won the game 10-9. In that moment I was so ecstatic. Everyone burst into tears of joy. Jumping around, hugging each other, and sobbing. I was so proud of every single person. They all played a part in that win.”
Freebourn’s goal to win a “Softball League Champions” banner to hang in the gym had finally been achieved.
“I wanted us to make history and we did. It was everything we worked toward this season.” she said. “I’m going to miss VHS softball and all the girls I grew up playing with. I’m so thankful for the coaches that took time out of their day to come coach. I’m thankful for all the new girls that decided to play. Lastly, I’m so thankful that I could be a part of it.”
Senior Payton Venturi has been a part of the track and field team since her sophomore year, participating in many events. Venturi does not plan to continue track in the future, but will stay connected to the VHS team.
“My favorite track memory was winning first in [the] league this year for triple jump and going to state sophomore year for triple jump… Being a part of the track team this year especially was very fun, and everyone had good energy despite the Covid situation,” she said.
Senior Kay Peters has been a part of the track team for the past four years alongside Venturi, and participated in middle school as well. Peters is a long jumper, and does not plan on continuing track when she attends the University of Oregon.
“It was such a cool experience. We haven’t had a league win for our track team in over 20 years, so this was a huge deal! Watching Vashon girls place first on the podium in almost every event was so exciting to watch. I just know that next year we’ll have multiple girls heading to state, and I’m so excited to see what they are going to accomplish,” Peters said.
Senior Bassam Almustafa grew up playing soccer, playing this season as a right wing. He plans to continue playing soccer after high school.
“My favorite memory [of] playing soccer is when I was in fourth grade. I was playing as a keeper, and the ball hit my face hard and I lost a tooth,” he said.
Almustafa felt from the start of the game the team would win.
“I had faith that we [would] win the league this season, but I knew that it was going to be challenging. As a senior, I knew that this was going to be my last game playing for the high school, so I was very excited to end it with a win,” he said.
Fellow soccer player Jakob Heuschert has been playing soccer since he was four back in Switzerland. While he has played many positions over the years, he is unsure of what he will play after high school.
“At the moment, it is uncertain how things will play out, but my goal is to spend the next four years playing soccer in college and then see how to continue after that,” he said.
This is not the first year Heuschert has been a part of the team while winning league championships at the high school.
“Winning the state championship in 2019 [always stuck with me] because it felt like we were winning something for the whole island rather than just for our soccer program at the high school because so many community members came out to support us all season long,” he said.
Going into the championship game, the team was prepared to go against Bellevue Christian, a team they were confident they could defeat.
“When the game ended and we had won 4-0, there was a lot of joy and accomplishment among my teammates and coaches as we celebrated a decisive victory against our season rivals at their home field.” Heuschert said. “I couldn’t have pictured a better ending to my senior season than getting to celebrate a league title with my such an unforgettable team, and getting to end my time at VHS soccer with a win.”