PLSouthside Scroll

The Student News Site of Papillion-La Vista South High School

53° Papillion, NE

PLSouthside Scroll

PLSouthside Scroll

Growth is the name of the game

Cole Sievers, 12th, Braeden Brickner, 11th, push hard in the final stretch. (courtesy photo: Nicole Hochstein)

Embodying the school slogan “Getting Better Never Stops,” several fall athletes have been recognized by peers and coaches for their pursuit of constant improvement: tennis player Jed Sunde, cross country runners Marissa Garcia and Braeden Bricker, and golfer Megan Sianez.

Jed Sunde, 12th, catches his breath between points. (photo: Avery Brasfield)

Sunde, who as a senior is experiencing his first year as the tennis team’s top singles player, describes what he believed set him apart from his peers.

Story continues below advertisement

“It really is just determination. I am just determined to get better,” he said. “And I am an extremely competitive person. If I do something, I want to grow and be better at it.”

Sunde’s main approach to getting better was simple: practice.

“I want to succeed in tournaments, and practice is where you improve,” Sunde said. “I know if I don’t strive to work hard in practice, I won’t succeed in tournaments.”

Sunde also credited coaching. 

“Coach Palensky has helped a lot,” Sunde said. “He has always been there for me and given me a lot of advice, and I can tell he really wants me to improve.”

Marissa Garcia, 11th, eyes the finish line ahead. (courtesy photo: Prep Running Nerd)

     Garcia, a junior cross country runner, provided a different perspective on how someone might grow as an athlete. She was a top JV runner last year who returned this season as the No. 2  varsity runner.

“Most people think to be a good runner all you have to be is fast, and that is really not the case,” Garcia said. “I have focused on the mental side of things, more than physically. On the physical side, the coach has taken care of us. It is the mental side that is important to practice as an individual.” 

Garcia said her grind is fueled by future goals.

“I think what has motivated me to see growth in running is just the want and desire to reach the next level…,” Garcia said.. “Instead of settling for where I’m at, … I always want more out of myself.”

If she continues to progress, Garcia is on track to be the girls’ leading runner heading into next season.

Brickner, also a junior cross country runner, shared what helped put his best foot forward to becoming faster. He previously was the slowest runner among all three teams before making a yearlong jump to being JV’s fastest runner. 

“After every meet, I would see my name at the bottom of the meet sheet with everyone’s times, and I would be disappointed in myself,” Brickner said. “Even though I did my best, I was still the worst. That motivated me to dedicate the time in practice to getting better.” 

Brickner found inspiration in David Goggins – a retired Air Force and Navy veteran who is an ultramarathon runner and author of motivational books and videos – and said working through his own struggles was part of what made cross country so important to him.

“It is a time when I can really test myself and my mentality. I don’t see a point in doing a sport or anything at all if you don’t give your all. When I go to practice every day, it’s important to me that I push through the hurt so that I can improve,” Brickner said. 

Megan Sianez, 12th, focuses while using her driver. (photo: Ellie Ervin)

Sianez, a senior golfer, credited her time in Leadership Academy last year with helping her grow as an athlete. 

“After taking Leadership Academy, I have grown in the mental aspect of my golf game,” Sianez said. “I’ve changed how I look at the game after having a bad hole, and how I picture the rest of the round going – and I have learned to ‘take my medicine’ and quickly recover for the next hole. Leadership Academy has just helped me grow a stronger mindset.”

Sianez said she wanted to make the most of what will probably be her last year as a competitive golfer. 

“What has driven me to work hard is the fact that it is my senior season, and I don’t plan to play in college, so these are my last few times competing. [I’m] just trying to do well in the last few tournaments and doing well for the team,” Sianez said, “because it makes everyone happy when we are playing well.” 


Leave a Comment
Donate to PLSouthside Scroll

Your donation will support the student journalists of Papillion-La Vista South High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Parker Hylok, Staff Reporter
Hello! I am Parker Hylok. This is my first year on staff, and I am senior. I have been on the Varsity Soccer team since Freshman year. If I am not in school, you are likely to see me playing soccer, fishing, lifting, or taking a nap. I am super excited to be a part of journalism.
Avery Brasfield, Photographer
I feel like my biggest strength as a photographer is passion. I am constantly wanting to learn more and have more experience. I love to spend my time taking photos. I love the feeling of going home and seeing what I captured. Seeing my growth makes me want to strive harder to be better every day. I love being on the sidelines taking everything in. I also love to capture people that don't normally get the recognition they deserve. Showing people someone's personality and who they really are is my favorite.
Donate to PLSouthside Scroll

Comments (0)

All PLSouthside Scroll Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *