When you think about a three-season athlete, the first thing that comes to mind is Track, Track and TRACK… more specifically Cross-Country, Indoor and Outdoor. But this article is not about track. Paulina Mendez is a three-season athlete who plays soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and softball in the spring. I sat down with her to see how she manages to play these three, diverse sports.
Adam Chrysostomou: Take me through it, how do you manage to play all three sports and still manage to do school work?
Paulina Mendez: Well some days I get more sleep than others. It’s a lot of work competing in three different sports. It’s non-stop conditioning and working out to stay in shape. The sports are all in different seasons, so it’s more or less two to three hours a day. It has to do a lot with managing time. I have a free ninth, so I try to do a lot of my homework then.
AC: What are some of you highlights from the soccer season?
PM: The Petrides game was probably the best game of the season, even though it was a tie. The whole season was full of ups and downs and we didn’t really find our rhythm until that game. I also had a nice goal-line clearance on a corner kick that kept us level. Lemon (Emily Murray) also had an amazing save on an open-net opportunity which would’ve lost us the game if the scored.
AC: How did it feel being captain as a junior?
PM: Yea, so coach told me and Emily Zavilowitz towards the beginning of the season. It was a big step in leadership. I was honored that coach has noticed the hard work that I’ve been putting in since freshman year. It’s the captain’s job to help out the freshmen and the rookies on the team to get used to playing on the team.
AC: How did you get into playing soccer?
PM: I started playing from when I was in Kindergarten. I played on my old school’s team and got better. As I got older, I joined travel and I just grew to love the sport. I knew coming into high school that I wanted to be on the team.
AC: Okay, let’s move on to your winter sport: Basketball: Any insights on the basketball season?
PM: Well, the “word on the street” is that Tech is down this year and the other schools think that we won’t be as good. They think that we are the underdogs because a lot of our key players graduated last year. We are coming into the year to prove everybody wrong. I also want to congratulate Steph on hitting 1000 points. It’s an impressive stat and it just goes to show how much time and effort she puts into the sport.
AC: Tell me about the annual trip the basketball team takes to Disney.
PM: Well we go down to Disney for three days and there’s a basketball tournament. Teams from all over the country come and we compete for a trophy. After the tournament we head to the parks and have a great time. It’s a great way to grow the team chemistry and just get to know the rest of the team.
AC: How did you get into?
PM: I started playing for my parish, which is near my house. I played with my brothers and grew to love the sport. I love the setting and atmosphere that basketball brings. The fans get more into it and the intensity is raised to a whole new level.
AC: Nice. Let’s get down to your spring sport: softball. What is the early outlook on the team?
PM: Well, the early news is that Amanda Demeo might come back to help coach. Just like basketball, we lost some key players, but a lot of the girls looking to step up in their place. One of the newcomers that I think is going to make an impact is Jade Cartillio. She is probably going to take her sister’s spot at catcher. We are hoping she can make an impact early.
AC: How did you get into softball?
PM: I used to play on my brothers’ baseball team when I was really young. When I got too old, my dad signed me up for softball. As I grew up and joined travel soccer and basketball, which are year-round, I phased softball out because the workload was too much. Eventually, when I came to Tech, Julia Demola convinced me to join, and I’m glad I did.
AC: Which one of the sports is your favorite and why?
PM: It’s really a tie between soccer and basketball. I love softball, but growing up, I picked up soccer and basketball quicker. They kind of, just clicked. It’s between soccer and basketball because I’ve dedicated so much time and I’ve gotten so involved with them over the years. They’re also extremely fast-paced, as opposed to softball that’s more of a waiting game.
AC: Who is you inspiration?
PM: I look up to my mom. She is always such a kind person and is always there to support me. She also manages to deal with me and my three brothers, and does an amazing job with it. I try to be like her every day.
AC: Would you like to give anybody a shout out?
PM: Being on three teams, it’s hard to name everybody I want to shout out. I want to shout out everybody, all the teams I’m on, all my teammates and all my coaches. Without you I wouldn’t be where I am today. Also, to Emily Zavilowitz “Dry is no bueno.”
Despite soccer season being cut short, MSIT Basketball has kicked off with a strong start sitting at 2 wins 0 losses. Next week the girls travel to Disney to play in a national tournament, looking to capture the trophy. I’d like the thank Paulina for sitting down with me to have this interview and I wish you luck with basketball and softball season. And this is Adam Chrysostomou signing off.