October 3, 2008

Lopez a Leader for the Eagles

By John Philip Wyllie

Establishing a new sport at any high school is never easy. During their first few years programs are subject to growing pains. Typically there are a lot more Ls than there are Ws in the won/lost column. Such is the case at Granite Hills High with its new field hockey program, but at least coach, Amber Studer has team captain Yesenia Lopez to help get the team over the rough spots.

“I picked Yesenia as a captain because of her great leadership skills. She’s a constant motivator, always at practice and always positive when taking that leadership role. She is definitely a go-getter and we are very fortunate to have had her these last two years. Skill-wise, she is great at passing and going after the ball and winning it.”

Lopez’s trail to the field hockey team was not a direct one. Prior to her ever playing the sport she competed in lacrosse and water polo. With a seemingly endless amount of energy and terrific stamina she thought field hockey might also be a great fit. It has been.

“I like field hockey a lot. It is very competitive. I have made a lot of new friends through this team and it’s now my favorite sport,” said the senior midfielder. “I play behind the forwards as a middie. From there, you can play both offense and defense and you do a lot of running back and forth. Casey Lewis and I are the captains and we help everybody figure out what they should be doing.”

The Eagles are winless thus far in the early going, but Lopez and her teammates are not discouraged. She has seen steady improvement.

“We haven’t won yet, but this is only our second season. We’ve really improved since last year. We’ve scored two goals and we have been able to keep the other teams from scoring a lot of goals on us. People know we are trying really hard. At this point, we are still learning the rules so hopefully we won’t be judged too much.”

Lopez would like to continue playing field hockey in college, but she is not sure where that will be at this point. San Diego State seems like a strong possibility. The fact that she is a stellar student will no doubt increase her college options.

Part of her academic success is due no doubt to her participation in the AVID program. Through AVID, students learn organizational and study skills, work on critical thinking, learn to ask probing questions, get academic help from peers and college tutors, and participate in enrichment and motivational activities that make college seem attainable.

Lopez has been one many AVID success stories. She in turn is helping her younger peers to follow in her path.

“One of the things I enjoy being involved in is Eagle Link. It helps freshman get more involved in high school. We offer them tutoring and other help.”

Having experienced success on many levels, Lopez wants to help those who are now where she was a few years ago.

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