Winter captains lead the charge


Matthew Dimaandal

HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES!: Senior Devon Huang readies himself to shoot a free throw at an away game against University High School.

Rita Lai and Annie Lee

Winter sports might be a bit of a misnomer when the weather feels eternally unchanging, but for Northwood’s winter sports captains, the season brings about greater responsibilities and opportunities for growth. Although postponed events and quarantines are no longer a shock, keeping up the team morale and their own ambitions alive is an everlasting challenge.

Inspired by Brazilian players such as Ronaldinho Gaúcho and their “joga bonito” playing style, co-captain senior Matthew Kim emulates the spirit of “playing beautifully” in club and school soccer. His philosophy applies to both himself and his teammates, whom he leads to success with the goal of playing their best game and winning constantly in mind. 

“I am a relatively vocal player so I’ll yell at my teammates regardless if I’m congratulating them or telling them to be better,” Kim said. “It keeps them on their toes and allows us to maintain a high level of energy when on the field.”

Aiming for accomplishments with a fierce leadership style is a theme consistent in all of Northwood’s winter sports, and as such is both demonstrated and emphasized by the captains. Wrestling co-captain junior Aiden Tak is also working hard to foster team spirit despite safety restrictions placed upon the sport. 

Although he started out in his sport with few expectations, Tak is now a team leader with high aspirations. Before practice, he jokes around with his teammates, but when it comes down to it, he is firm about the work they do to achieve their goals, as individuals and as a team. 

“Since I started taking wrestling seriously in freshman year, I’ve made big improvements like getting into better shape and not getting tired after a minute,” Tak said. “But it’s all in the small ones. Like when you know what to do at a certain time and when you zig instead of zagging and zag instead zigging.”

Achieving this balance is something student-athletes know all too well. As for girls varsity basketball co-captain junior Abby Chu, she’s found that although basketball can be stressful with the pressure of competitions and long practices, it provides her with the chance to wind down and bond with teammates. 

While she looks forward to improving her endurance and shooting, it’s also the team’s camaraderie that encourages her to play year after year.

“I’ve played with a lot of different people and teams, which has helped me become better with my game,” Chu said. “I am most proud that I am able to defend the better offensive players in our league and my free throw percentages have improved from before.”

Although the canceled competitions denied opportunities to create a complete win-loss record, their own experiences of practicing, playing and working together are enough to confirm their persevering strength and foster a strong sense of community. 

“After one of our losses, I took it pretty personally so Devon, one of our captains, texted me after the game, rallied me up and got me back to reality,” boys basketball player sophomore Tj Navarro said. “He was like it’s going to be okay and just look forward to the next one. I really appreciate that our captains talk with us when we’re going through something, whether it’s on the court or off the court.”