For sophomore athletes at Cosumnes River College, the last season as a member of the Hawks can mean a lot of things.
From a chance to step into a leadership role to being a part of a program for two years, it provides a plethora of memories and experiences for players.
Now as they look back on their time with the Hawks, there are a lot of positives that have made the experience great.
“The thing I’ll take from being a part of the Hawks program is the friendships I have made,” said sophomore middle hitter Hannah Norris.
“I have made some great friends from last year’s team, as well as grown so close to our small team this year,” she said.
Norris, who has played volleyball at CRC for two years, has gone through the ups and down.
Being on a team that in two seasons went 13-40, including an extensive conference losing streak, it has taught her how to stick with things through the down times.
“I learned to persevere through the tough times,” Norris said. “It would have been easy to give up during our losing streak, but pulling out that win showed that never giving up helps you to succeed.”
That perseverance and continuing to work towards success led to it all finally paying off.
In her final home game, where she and other sophomore volleyball players were recognized on sophomore night, the team snapped its 66-game conference losing streak.
It was a special moment for her and her teammates that will go down as one of her greatest memories in her time with the volleyball team.
“Sophomore night was amazing, we finally took a win and it was the best feeling I’ve experienced,” Norris said. “It’s like we all clicked at that exact moment, and we dominated Modesto in three winning sets.”
Being an experiened player also means players often are asked to step into more of a leadership role.
It’s something sophomore midfielder Anna Ottley said she took on this season by providing positive examples for her teammates.
“I really tried to lead by my actions of working hard no matter what and showing dedication by making every practice and game,” Ottley said.
The women’s soccer forward enjoyed her time with the Hawks and the things she took away from it.
“My biggest takeaway would be the confidence I’ve gained in my game,” she said.
While the storybook victory in a player’s final game with the team is ideal, it doesn’t often turn out that way.
For Ottley and sophomore forward Andrea Story, a playoff loss was a tough way to go out, but they’ll always be appreciative of their teammates and coaches.
“It was hard knowing that this was it for me and the team,” Story said. “I had great respect for everyone on the team including the coaching staff.”
That moment when an athlete realizes their time with the team is over can come in different moments, like for Norris, who didn’t have that feeling until, “I didn’t have to show up for practice the next day. I didn’t really know what to do with myself now that I have a lot more free time.”
As sophomore athletes move on to the next chapter of their lives, they provide some positivity for the future of their respective teams.
“Our new coach, Kari Post, will definitely help this program succeed. With her coaching skills and the assistants she chose, I have grown to be such a better player,” Norris said.
“I can only imagine what having more time with the coaching staff will do for other players,” she said.
They usher in the next wave of sophomores with words of advice.
“There’s no reason to never give less than 100 percent in practices or games,” Norris said. “Because it will only make you a better player and person in the long run.
For Ottley, the message centered on taking in each moment and never losing focus.
“Embrace it all and enjoy every moment, don’t let the little things get in the way of your goals and the teams goals,” she said.