Feature / Sports

Transfer athletes welcome change in school, teammates

From the basketball court and soccer field of Reynolds High School, senior Brandon Williams and junior Kara Ikebe have experienced the intense process of becoming an athlete here.

According to the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), students are not allowed to play a sport unless they legally live within the school district lines and have been approved by their previous school to start playing there.

Athletic director Todd Nagel is bound by that specific rule, so his first question to new potential players is usually, “Where do you live?” If a student lives in the school district, it is commonly just a matter of receiving approval, which seems to be the easiest part, according to Nagel. However, false addresses can be an issue at times.

“I have kids come in here all of the time that probably lie about where they live. I don’t have the right to actually follow that student home and see if that is the truth, but if they win [a] title [in their sport], it can mean the difference between being granted it or not,” Nagel said.

This was not an issue for either Williams or Ikebe, as they have both confirmed that they live in the school district.

For Williams, switching his basketball shorts from green to blue in August was not a difficult adjustment on a personal level.

“When I got here, I knew I wanted to spend my senior year with this team because they work hard and don’t mess around. There, the team had a bunch of underclassmen who weren’t as experienced in playing the game. Here, we have a senior dominate team, meaning more experience and better communication,” Williams said.

However, the transfer process was like trying to sail through rough waters for Williams. He had to go back to the counseling office to sign more and more papers, allowing him to play here.

Not only did he have to fill out several forms from the counseling office, but he had to recover from an eye injury he had at the end of the previous school year. Williams was told by his doctor that it would heal between four and six weeks. It has now been around six months since the accident, but Williams’ eye still has the faint imprint of a darkened bruise.

“I wanted to play football when I first got [here], but because of my eye, I couldn’t pass my physical. I had to wait the whole football season until I could play anything,” Williams said.

Now, Williams enjoys playing the sport he loves with people he is happy to compete with.

Zooming onto the soccer field, Ikebe also left her green shorts behind this year for a varsity letter with the Lady Gophs.

“It feels pretty great when you’re new and you make it on the school varsity team. It really gets your name out,” Ikebe said.

Although Ikebe did not have a serious injury halting her way, the mounds of paperwork to sign filled much of her time at first.

“Usually when you transfer you have to wait a year until you can play, but since I live in the district, I could start earlier. [The process] was tedious, making me come back to the school many times to figure stuff out,” Ikebe said.

Compared to her past, Ikebe finds the talent level of players to be a little different. According to Ikebe, one can tell that the soccer athletes are serious because of their consistent appearances to the practice session.

“I don’t want to be mean, but the girls [there] weren’t as good individually. The girls were playing for fun, not to compete. Here, you can tell the team is serious about [the sport],” Ikebe said.

Even as transfer athletes, it is clear that both Ikebe and Williams have much dedication to their current teams. Their past has been an arch of support for them, allowing them to shine brightly among the fans in the present.

 

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