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WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

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May 17 Daily Update
May 17 Daily Update
Karina Grokhovskaya, WTV Executive Producer • May 17, 2024

WTV's Ryan Shapiro, Karina Grokhovskaya, and Sadie Johnson bring you a few last words

Top sports moments of 2023-24: #6 Forgoing freshman team, underclassmen put on fast track in football

With+football+numbers+hitting+a+low%2C+freshman+have+found+themselves+on+JV+for+the+2023-2024+season.+With+not+enough+available+players+the+freshman+team+was+cut+this+season.
Jason Helmick, JHelmickphotography
With football numbers hitting a low, freshman have found themselves on JV for the 2023-2024 season. With not enough available players the freshman team was cut this season.

With the school year coming to a close on May 17, Wingspan is counting down the top sports moments from 2023-2024. 

Coming in at #6, for their 2023 season the Redhawks football program made the decision to forgo a freshman team, leaving them with only Varsity and JV teams.

Frisco ISD high schools typically have three football teams – freshmen, JV, and varsity – but things are different for the Redhawks during the 2023 season as the program made the decision to forgo a freshman team.

“We had too few [players] to have both a JV team and a freshman team, so ultimately it just made more sense to combine them,” head coach Matt Swinnea said. “We waited as long as we could to make that decision. At the start of school, we were looking at adding a few more freshmen to the roster, but we had known at the start of fall camp at the end of July that it would be pretty close as far as the number that we needed, and it just didn’t work out.” 

Pullquote Photo

The freshmen are going up against people older than them, but more importantly is the fact that they do get to play, and that’s pretty important down the line,

— head football coach Matt Swinnea

Freshmen might be nervous about being around and playing with and against older students, but Swinnea believes the experience they’re getting is important.

“The freshmen are going up against people older than them, but more importantly is the fact that they do get to play, and that’s pretty important down the line,” Swinnea said. “JFK once said that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’, so everybody has to kind of step up their game. The better the competition you play, then potentially the better you can become.”

Freshman Ali Ameer sees his position on the JV team as a way to accelerate his development.

“I feel like it is an opportunity to have higher competition,” Ameer said. “I’m not really upset that I don’t get to play with just [other] freshmen because my goal is to play varsity as soon as possible. My experience with the older guys has been seeing people who are bigger and more mature. Sometimes it is harder to go against them, but it just helps me as an athlete get better.”

With freshmen making up most of the JV team, some sophomores find themselves on varsity. Coming from last year’s freshman team, sophomore Tanay Karapurkar enjoys every moment of the varsity games that he spends with the juniors and seniors.

“Varsity is a lot more physical and competitive,” Karapurkar said. “I love it, and I have a lot of fun playing because of the band, the stadiums and support. Age isn’t that great of a factor since the upperclassmen are inclusive and good mentors.”

As one of those upperclassmen, senior Sam Sherman knows he needs to set the example.

“Staying positive is key,” Sherman said. “If I’m not positive, my teammates won’t be either, so being positive is really important. As long as everyone does their job, win or lose, we move on and don’t let the score affect us.”

Swinnea hopes playing with older students is beneficial to the freshmen, but notes that he wants to have as many teams as possible.

Pullquote Photo

My experience with the older guys has been seeing people who are bigger and more mature. Sometimes it is harder to go against them, but it just helps me as an athlete get better,

— freshman Ali Ameer

“It’s always going to be priority number one to have three teams,” Swinnea said. “We spend a lot of time down at the middle schools, trying to make sure we have enough [players] coming up.”

These changes don’t just affect the football players as the Redhawk cheer team is also being impacted. With two football teams and three cheer teams- freshman, JV, and varsity- head cheer coach Kandy Stevens decided to let her JV team cheer at varsity level games alongside varsity cheer for varsity football games at Toyota Stadium and The Ford Center.

“I just didn’t think it was fair for JV girls to cheer down,” Stevens said. “That way, they don’t have to cheer for ninth graders. But I still want the varsity to have their autonomy and to feel like that’s their goal and purpose and all of that, so I picked two stadiums.” 

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About the Contributor
Zachary Moland
Zachary Moland, Sports Reporter
Zachary Moland is a sophomore in his second year on Wingspan as a sports reporter. He is also a member of Academic Decathlon. Outside of school, Zachary is a Boy Scout working on his Eagle rank. He can also be found listening to music, reading, watching movies and TV shows, and car/plane-spotting. Contact Zachary: zachary.moland.698@k12.friscoisd.org

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