Freshmen athletes featured on varsity

Freshman Michael Kvas, who scored 68 points this season blocks the ball from the opposing team.


            Throughout the winter sports season, multiple freshmen excelled in their respective sports at the varsity level. Hard work and dedication have led to these individuals dominating the competition even while competing with and against players older than them.  

            Danielle Boateng contributed on the basketball court, scoring 57 points and bringing in 59 rebounds. Her devotion to the sport has led her to such success. “Over the summer I would try my best to go to the park every day and attend summer practices,” Boateng said. “I would also try to go to the gym as often as I could.” 

            Boateng credited her success to the support system that motivated her to achieve greatness every day. “I am grateful that I have had a chance to experience playing at a higher level at a younger age, and it is also so great to have a supportive team and coaching staff surrounding me to help me become a better version of myself,” Boateng shared. 

            Freshman track star Victoria Botte finished first in the 1600 at the Midwinter Classic and contributed to the team’s first place finish at the GMC Championships in the 4×800 relay, working alongside three senior teammates. “I have always wanted to get to this level where I would be able to run against seniors and girls that can push me to do my best, and I have finally come to this point,” Botte said.  

Freshman Savannah Funk who rolled the second highest high game of 223, follows through on her roll.

            Botte put in the hours to become the best she can, and dedication to her sport paid off. “I think putting the work in everyday and always being at practice and always running helps me a lot to become a better runner,” explained Botte. “It feels great to know that I am doing good as a freshman at varsity.” 

            Savanna Funk played a key role in helping the girls bowling team win the GMC Championship for the first time in program history.  Funk, who rolled a 233 high game, the second highest on the team this season, stated “I tried, and I practiced a lot to get where I’m going now, and I feel like that really helps with my improvement.” 

            The rest of the team adds fire to Funk’s drive. “Watching my teammates play really inspires me to do better,” Funk shared. “When they play well, motivates me” 

            Nicholas Gallo, a standout performer on the ice hockey team, admitted “At first, I was incredibly nervous. I remember before every game I was always a little shaky and I started off the season to a slow start. However, once I gained my confidence, I felt so much better, and I did not let the competition get to me.” Gallo scored 11 of his 12 goals and added 19 of his 20 assists in the second half of the season. 

Freshman Danielle Boateng who assisted defense on the team by catching 59 rebounds this season, sets herself up to shoot a free throw.

            Gallo’s success resulted from his growth throughout the season and all of the hard work he invests.  “I think my success at this level has been because of my work off the ice as well as my practicing on the ice,” Gallo said. “I try to train my body off ice and workout occasionally, and I attend every on-ice practice to try to improve my skills as a player.” 

            Jaylen Jones stepped right into a starting role on the varsity basketball team and scored 143 points, including hitting 25 three-pointers, tied for second on the team. “It feels good knowing that all the hard work I have put in towards basketball is starting to show,” Jones said. 

            Concerning taking the court with more experienced athletes, Jones divulged, “It was a challenge, especially towards the beginning of the year, but it is something that I have been doing my whole life, so it was not hard to adapt.” In one of the final games of the season, on February 18 against Woodbridge, Jones set a career high with four three-pointers and tied his career high with 14 points. 

Freshman Nicholas Gallo, who was second on the team with 20 assists, takes controls the puck to maintain possession as he looks to pass to an open teammate.

            Michael Kvas established himself as a key defensive player and rebounder on the varsity basketball team. “I think my work ethic paid off in our games because in practice we work hard and that just shows in the games,” Kvas stated. 

            Kvas scored 68 points during the season as he settled into the varsity environment. Kvas shared, “My teammates are harder on me but to my coach to him it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman; you’re on the team he’s still going to yell at you as much as he does to the seniors.” 

            Joseph Nalewajko played a key role by finishing fourth in his class on a wrestling team that took second place in the GMC Tournament and reached a top-twenty ranking in the State. “Being a freshman and earning a spot on the varsity level, is an honor and is due to hard work and dedication,” Joseph explained. 

Freshman guard Jaylen Jones, who scored 143 point, including 25 three-pointers, brings the ball up the court.

            Nalewajko earned GMC Wrestler of the Week by getting a key pin for the team’s win against South Plainfield in January. “I just would get into a zone at matches and try not to worry about what age the other wrestler was,” Joseph commented. “I believe I was as successful as I was because of dedication, practice, Coach Post and especially my teammates.” 

            The elite performances by these young stars only hint at their potential while pointing to bright futures for them and their respective programs. 

Posted on 3/15/23 

Photos by Lors Photography and the Knight Life staff 

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