Cougar Seventh Grade Teams Continue to Improve
The transition from elementary school to junior high is a pivotal period in the life of a young student. This rite of passage typically requires students to work harder and accept more personal responsibilities, while their individual identities and personalities emerge more through maturation.
The transition from peewee athletics to junior high sports requires similar trials. In addition to more frequent, year-round practices which demand more physically, seventh grade athletes tend to exist on an island to themselves, training with older, more experienced teammates who typically have years of knowledge the younger students are in the process of acquiring.
Another challenge lies in the lack of dedicated seventh grade programs populating 2A basketball. Seventh grade games are often scheduled on a moment's notice, dependent upon the availability of participants at another school.
With all these factors in place, the effort put forth by seventh grade athletes in the Rector basketball programs is worthy of praise, as both the boys and girls programs and their respective coaches have worked to introduce their youngest players to higher levels of competition throughout the current season.
In boys' basketball, the Seventh Grade Cougars have thus far posted a 7-2 record off of a 7-0 start. Team members Parker Bucy, Shannon Patterson, Max Ford, Adam Romine, Lastin Lindsey, Fernando Guerrero and Zane McNeely have proven to be an entertaining group of athletes, according to coach Matt Mills.
"This is a very talented group with several great athletes," Mills said. "This group is extremely athletic and they're coachable; they want to learn and improve when they're out there. With this group, they're typically more athletic than the team they're playing, and that has helped them make the transition to more of a junior high style."
While the young team is still learning the game, Mills sees much promise in the Seventh Grade Cougars.
"If this group can stay together and they keep working as hard as they have been, they have a real good chance to become a very good basketball team; a real good chance."
On the girls' side, the young Seventh Grade Lady Cougars have an overall record of 1-5. Coach Matt Dean notes his team has shown some natural athleticism and is working hard to attain a better grasp of the fundamentals.
"These seventh graders have improved tremendously through the year," Dean said. "It's kind of amazing to see them now and then remember back to the beginning of the year. This group is long and lanky, and I think they're going to get better and better through practice and getting acclimated to being on the court. What they're learning as seventh graders will help them later on, and I can see this group of kids becoming a good team in the future, especially by working with the older kids on the team and battling with them on a daily basis. These seventh graders will be battling for spots next year in junior high and on in to high school. They're going to help the program going forward, and that's all you can ask of anyone."
Members of the team are Rileigh Laden, Kossie Huggins, Grason Robinson, Makalia Rients and Jessica Moguel.
The seventh grade girls were slated to take part in a tournament hosted at Rector this Saturday, but the event has been cancelled due to a lack of available teams.