BHS underclassmen learn, grow, and develop on varsity 


With a substantial number of student-athletes at Berkeley High School, athletes trying out for school sports often must compete for a spot on a team. Varsity teams usually consist of upperclassmen, who generally have the most experience with a sport, with limited spots for underclassmen. However, some underclassmen are exceptions to this norm, one being Akasha Manandhar. 

Manandhar is a freshman on the BHS women’s varsity basketball team. She stated, “(When I got on varsity), I was nervous because I’m the only freshman on varsity, and I was just nervous that I wasn’t going to perform at the level that other people were.” This feeling was a trend within many other underclassmen playing with older and more experienced players. 

Kavi Jivan, a sophomore on the men’s varsity basketball team, also got on varsity when he was a freshman last year. He shared that his experience this year different than when he was first starting out. Jivan said, “Last year, I didn’t play as much because I was just a freshman, and I was still getting used to it, but this year I’ve been playing way more … and I’ve even started some games.” 

Alongside these experiences, comes learning for athletes, both from within the sport and from older teammates. Freshman on the women’s varsity soccer team, Sylva Roubinian, is grateful for the support she has received from the upperclassmen on her team. She stated, “I was having a really bad practice one day and I was able to talk to people in different grades on the team about it. Everyone had similar experiences as me and they were able to help me with that.” 

Jivan felt that he had also learned a lot from his older teammates. “Ollie and Samir, our leaders and best players: I’ve learned a lot from their work ethic on the court and how they lead the team off the court and take responsibility,” he said.

Being one of the youngest on a team can also lead to self-doubt and questioning of one’s achievements. Manandhar said that she has felt these thoughts at times this season. “Definitely, at the beginning of the season, I was really questioning, ‘Am I good enough?’ and just beating that mental part … if I made a mistake in a game, for example, I would be like ‘Oh my god, why did I do that, I should be on JV,” she said. Throughout the season, Manandhar has overcome these obstacles by reminding herself that there’s a reason she has a spot on varsity and that no matter the rough patch she’s going through, there’s always going to be a positive outcome.