Underclassmen share the varsity experience

In high school athletics, athletes goals are surrounded by making it to the varsity team. It is rare to see underclassmen on the varsity roster, but when it happens, they are expected to step up. “Their expectations are the same as anyone’s; it doesn’t matter what grade I’m in. At the end of the day, we’re there to win a game” sophomore Logan Wuckovich said.
Underclassmen share the varsity experience
Good job. Megan Kelly shakes hands with her teammates after coming out of the game. This game they played Chambersburg where Kelly had six kills. Altoona ended up loosing 3-1 sets.
Megan Kelly

In the 2023-2024 girls’ volleyball season the varsity team had an overall record of 11-11 and 5-5 in the Mid-Penn conference. During the season, the team consisted of juniors and seniors but also a few underclassmen, one of them being sophomore Megan Kelly. Kelly is an outside and middle hitter. During the season, Kelly had 74 total varsity kills and hoped for many more in her career. 

Q: Name?

A: Megan Kelly 10

Q: What makes your position important ?

A: My position is  important because the kills and the points I get to receive wins. Also because it encourages others to get after the ball.

Q: How long have you been playing volleyball?

A: I have been playing volleyball for almost five years now. I played in junior high and now high school. 

Q: What are your goals for your future with volleyball?

A: My biggest goal is to play at the college level, and I want to keep pushing my other teammates to pursue what they want to do in the future too. 

Q:What do you think was the cause of your personal success this year?

A: The push I got from my coaches as well as from me. I think absorbing a lot of feedback is really important. 

Q:How do you train in the off season to prepare for a good season?

A: To train, I need to be on and off on the court with lifting and conditioning. I have to stay in shape as well. I also do track and field which helps. 

Q:What are your goals for the team next year?

A: My goals are to get better as a player and to help others as well. It’s also always nice to win more games.

Q: Do you ever feel pressure from the coaches or the upperclassmen, if so how do you manage it?

A: I get more pressure from my coach than anyone else. That gives me the little hope to not give up and to keep pushing because I would not want to let anyone down.

Q: What lessons do you think the team can learn from this season to improve in the future?

A: The team can look back and see what they need to improve physically and mentally on the court. Like being a leader, fixing your mistakes, helping a team out.

Q: What do you do to come back after under performing?

A: I see what I need to fix and then come back to get better and impress the people around me.

Q: What are the coaches expectations like for you as an underclassmen?

A: The coaches expect me to step up and be the leader on the court and to keep pushing myself to be the best I can.

Q: Are there any upperclassmen (last year or this year) that you look up to or have a connection to and why?

A: I would have a connection with my libero (Aunye Counsman) . She is a great person to follow as a younger teammate like I am. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about playing at the varsity level?

A: I love the competition and the fun I get to have while I play at the varsity level. It’s a lot more fun than JV because the games are so much faster paced. 

Good job. Megan Kelly shakes hands with her teammates after coming out of the game. This game they played Chambersburg where Kelly had six kills. Altoona ended up loosing 3-1 sets. (Brandon Auker)
D Up! Sophomore Josh Lowery pays defense against Harrisburg opponent. This is the teams first and only win of the season with the final score being 58-44 Altoona.
Josh Lowery

The boys’ basketball team is currently in season with a record of 1-17 overall. The team has a lot of young potential. One of these young stars is sophomore Josh Lowery. Lowery has had a lot of attention on him recently as he averages 15 points a game this season after coming off a hip injury. 

Q:Name?

A: Josh Lowery.

Q:What sport do you play and what is your position?

A: I play basketball. I’m power forward. 

Q:What makes your position important?

A: I have to get a lot of rebounds. You have to put the ball back up on offense. You also have to make sure you go up strong and try to get an and-1 (getting fouled while making a shot)

Q: How long have you been playing basketball?

A: It’s been a really long time. I started in fourth grade in the Rec Leagues. Then thorough elementary and junior high. 

Q: What are your goals for your future with basketball?

A: I definitely want to go to college for basketball. My biggest goal is to go to the NBA. 

Q: What do you think was the cause of your personal success this year?

A: My physical therapist worked with me throughout my injury. Early this season, I had a hip injury which took me out for a long time. I just got into the varsity rotation a few weeks ago, but it’s going good. 

Q: How do you train in the off season to prepare for a good season?

A: I play AAU (travel ball). There’s a lot of  tournaments, so it’s a good way to just keep in shape.  I try to get shots up everyday wherever I can. 

Q: What are your goals for the team next year?

A: Win more than one game. There’s a lot we can take away from this season. If everyone works hard we can come out strong next year. 

Q: Do you ever feel pressure from the coaches or the upperclassmen, if so how do you manage it?

A: Not really. The coaches are just really supportive of my season so far because it has been good. 

Q: How do you feel about the attention you’ve been getting from the community recently?

A: It’s all right. I’m cyber, so I don’t see a lot of people in school. When the newspaper asked me for an interview after the game we won a few weeks ago that was cool. 

Q: What lessons do you think the team can learn from this season to improve in the future?

A: Dedication for the upcoming season. 

Q: What do you do to come back after under performing?

A: Try harder in the next game. I watch film and try to see what I could do better. 

Q: What are the coaches expectations for you as an underclassmen?

A: They hold me to a high standard. I don’t think it really makes a difference about my grade. I just have to play the best I can. 

Q: Are there any upperclassmen (last year or this year) that you look up to or have a connection to and why?

A: I had a connection to all the seniors last year. I looked up to a lot of them. Some of them are playing in college, so I definitely look up to them 

D Up! Sophomore Josh Lowery pays defense against Harrisburg opponent. This is the teams first and only win of the season with the final score being 58-44 Altoona.
Freshman Sam Harpster looks for someone to catch her pass. The girls basketball team advanced to the State playoffs.
Samantha Harpster

The girls’ basketball team is currently in season. Their overall record is 17-4 and in conference they are 12-1. The team is a younger team as they only have one senior in the starting five. In the starting five, two of the players are sophomores. Samantha Harster began starting this year after she had a successful season last year. 

Q: Name?

A: Samantha Harpster. 

Q: What sport do you play and what is your position?

A: Basketball. I’m a shooting guard.

Q: What makes your position important?

A: I contribute points by making my shots. I have to make sure I’m on point with them. 

Q: How long have you been playing basketball?

A: Eight years. I’ve been playing since elementary school. 

Q: What are your goals for your future with basketball?

A: Just to keep playing high school basketball. I want us to be District 6 champs every year. 

Q: How do you train in the off season to prepare for a good season?

A: I go out and shoot and practice dribbling whenever I can. 

Q: What are your goals for the team next year?

A: Win Districts, be first in the conference and go to States. 

Q: Do you ever feel pressure from the coaches or the upperclassmen, if so how do you manage it?

A: I do feel pressured from my coaches when I make mistakes or I don’t make my shots. I try to block them out when they yell at me, but sometimes I will listen when I know they are trying to help me get better.

Q: How do you feel about the attention the team has been getting from the community recently?

A: It is great that we have people giving us attention because it really motivates us to know we have people supporting us to win our games.

Q: What lessons do you think the team can learn to have an even better season next year?

A: Our team needs to learn to be less selfish in games that are close and against better teams because having a whole team helping contribute is better than one person just doing all the work.

Q: What do you do to come back after under performing?

A: I just block out the game before that I did bad at.

Q: What are the coaches expectations like for you as an underclassmen?

A: They want me to work hard and keep pace with the upperclassmen and shoot more in games.

Q: Are there any upperclassmen (last year or this year) that you look up to or have a connection to and why?

A: Last year, Taylor Lane was the senior I talked to the most. She was a good senior and really funny. This year I have a connection with all the seniors because I talked to them all last year, and all my teammates get along and there is no drama.

Freshman Sam Harpster looks for someone to catch her pass. The girl’s basketball team advanced to the State playoffs. (Madalyn Miller )
Sophomore Zaelinh Nguyen-Moore dribbles down the baseline to look to score. In their game against Central Dauphin Altoona won in a close game of 38-36.
Zaelinh Nguyen-Moore

Zaelinh Nguyen- Moore is also a sophomore in the starting five for girls’ basketball. She is a two year starter and has had successful seasons both years as getting a Division 1 scholarship from the University of Delaware. 

Q: Name?

A: Zaelinh Nguyen-Moore 

Q: What sport do you play and what is your position?

A: Basketball. I’m a shooting guard. 

Q: What makes your position important?

A: It gives the point guard an option when getting rid of the ball. It helps add to the scoring of the game. The shooting guard is seen as an essential piece of the game of basketball but so are  the other positions.

Q: How long have you been playing basketball?

A: I have been playing since kindergarten.

Q: What are your goals for your future with basketball?

A: I want to get a D1 scholarship that is a full ride.

Q: How do you train in the off season to prepare for a good season?

A: I workout many times a week with my dad. We work on things that mimic the game and try to improve my skill when training. We do things such as ball handling, shooting, conditioning, etc.

Q: What are your goals for the team next year?

A: I hope our team makes it to States.

Q: Do you ever feel pressure from the coaches or the upperclassmen, if so how do you manage it?

A: Sometimes I feel pressured by coaches as well as other outside forces. I try to manage this by being more confident and turning to my teammates for positive feedback/a boost of self esteem.  

Q: How do you feel about the attention the team has been getting from the community recently?

A: It feels really good, especially in part because it is bringing attention to female sports as a whole which definitely need more attention.

Q: What lessons do you think the team can learn to have an even better season next year ?

A: Considering the season isn’t over yet, I feel like we still have time to better our team this year. One thing we could get better at is communicating all the time.

Q: What do you do to come back after under performing?

A: I try to forget about my previous performance and move onto the next one. Never dwell on the past because it can’t be changed.

Q: What are the coaches expectations like for you as an underclassmen?

A: I feel the coaches expectations for me are to be a leader and just try my hardest to help contribute to the team.

Q: Are there any upperclassmen (last year or this year) that you look up to or have a connection to and why?

A: I have had a major connection with all the upperclassmen this year and last year. I think this is because they are great role models and even better friends.

Sophomore Zaelinh Nguyen-Moore dribbles down the baseline to look to score. In their game against Central Dauphin Altoona won in a close game of 38-36.
Sophomore Logan Wuckovich congratulates teammate, Senior Derron Jones after he gets a tackle in their game against Taylor Allderdice where Altoona won 35-21
Logan Wuckovich

The football team ended their season with an overall record of 5-7. In the conference they had a record of 2-6. After losing many valuable players last year, they were also left with a young team with many young starters. Logan Wuckovich is a two year starter who has many hopes for the next few years. Wuckovich is also a team leader in stats averaging 4.5 tackles per game and two interceptions per game. 

Q:Name?

A: Logan Wuckovich 

Q: What sport do you play and what is your position?

A: I play football, and I’m a middle linebacker.

Q: How long have you been playing football?

A: It felt like my whole life. Ever since I could play competitively I have. 

Q: What are your goals for your future with football?

A: My goals for the future is to become an All State Linebacker and play Division 1 football in College. 

Q: What do you think was the cause of your personal success this year?

A: The reason I am so successful in football is all the work I put into it. I work off season and work really hard in season. 

Q: How do you train in the off season to prepare for a good season?

A: I train a lot of footwork during the off -season. I’m in the weight room a lot and just make sure I’m in shape. 

Q: What are your goals for the team next year?

A: The team goal is to win a Division 6 championship. 

Q: Do you ever feel pressure from the coaches or the upperclassmen, if so how do you manage it?

A: I feel no pressure from the upperclassmen; they treat me like family. I don’t get a lot of pressure from the coaches; they just want to make sure I’m playing as hard as I can. 

Q: What is your most memorable moment from your high school career so far?

A: The most memorable moment of my high school career was when we beat Mifflin County, and we sang “West Virginia Take me Home” on the bus ride home. 

Q: What lessons do you think the team can learn from this season to improve in the future?

A: We all need to be more prepared in the offseason and do more footwork. 

Q: What do you do to come back after under performing?

A: I watch film and look at what I could have done better. Then I just try to focus on it in the next game.  

Q: What are the coaches expectations like for you as an underclassmen?

A: Their expectations are the same as anyone’s; it doesn’t matter what grade I’m in. At the end of the day, we’re there to win a game. 

Q: Are there any upperclassmen (last year or this year) that you look up to or have a connection to and why?

A: One upperclassman that I have a special connection to is MJ Harrington. We both want the same thing and that is to win a Division 6 championship. We push each other to be the best we can. That’s why we have such a special connection.

Sophomore Logan Wuckovich congratulates teammate, Senior Derron Jones after he gets a tackle in their game against Taylor Allderdice where Altoona won 35-21
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