High School Athletes Prioritize Academics
• Peninsula and Palos Verdes high schools lead CIF Academic Awards.
Hundreds of athletes compete in the South Bay each year, not only going head-to-head physically, but also academically, with sports teams vying for CIF Southern Section Academic Awards.
The awards are given to teams with a minimum of five student-athletes who have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or above in the first semester of the school year.
Peninsula High School had five teams that maintained that average: boys’ soccer (GPA of 3.62), softball (GPA of 3.79), boys’ track and field (GPA of 3.64), traditional competitive cheer (GPA of 3.52) and wrestling (GPA of 3.50, all winning first place in their categories.
At Palos Verdes High school, the baseball team placed first, with an overall GPA of 3.65, and the boys’ water polo team also placed first, with a GPA of 3.77.
With the academic rigor at these schools, it is difficult to maintain high grades when the days are filled with practices and games. However, all of these student-athletes have managed to keep their grades up while competing.
“In order to keep up and stay ahead in school, I really have to budget my time wisely,” said Peninsula senior varsity softball player Jasmine Nguyen.
“I have a schedule and calendar that I use, and it allows me to see all of my activities and events, making me plan a week or two ahead,” she said.
“I also spend my weekends wisely. If I am busy, I know I have to get things done beforehand, and if I have a weekend off, I use it to get ahead. I also try to stay organized, and whenever I have a little downtime, I try to knock out an assignment or two. As a student-athlete, I have to make time and get work done with every spare minute I can get.”
Practices are what take up most of an athletes’ time, since sports teams meet after school and practice until the evening. After practices, they are tired and worn out, yet still have to complete their homework and study for tests.
Time management is crucial for student-athletes, and if they fail to allocate sufficient time for their academics, they will inevitably fall behind.
“Prioritizing is key,” said Elijah Ding, senior and track and field member. “I like doing work before the meets so I do not have stay up late after a hard meet. For practice, it is about being on top of your work at home and not getting distracted.
But you have to be able to keep healthy,” Ding said. “Getting caught up in work sometimes messes eating schedules and hydration habits, and I have to remind myself constantly. Because I have less time to study and do homework.’’
Despite their busy schedules, these athletes have found ways to balance their workloads. Due to their determination and time management, they have been able to accomplish great things, earning their CIF Academic Awards.
Ana Willoughby, Peninsula junior and Cheer team member, said, “Over the past few years that I have been on the Cheer team I have done my best to figure out the best way to balance maintaining my grades and being active on Cheer, and while sometimes it requires extra effort, it is always worth it to me.’’