This fall season, The Barefoot Times highlights four athletes who have love for their sport and are leaders on their team.
Beth Huggins is a junior who has led the volleyball team to victory and is a role model to many people on the team. “She is fun and positive, she tries to help us improve,” says Huggins’ teammate, Amelie Barajas ’27.
Huggins is star setter, passer, and leader on the Sequoyah volleyball team whose goals are growing mentally and as a person, improving her skills, and helping her teammates to better their skills as well. Inspired by the older kids at her former school, Huggins began playing volleyball in fifth grade; she was on the JV team for two years before eventually moving up to varsity in seventh and eighth grade; she is now in her third season at Sequoyah. She began as a libero, which is the back row position of passing, and eventually switched to setting, following the suggestion of her club coach. Though that isn’t her favorite position, Huggins pushed through and has set for Sequoyah the past two years. She is happy to be able to pass for the team this year because, although she’s skillful at setting, ultimately, passing is her favorite.
Since the beginning, Huggins has felt drawn towards volleyball because of its positive energy and fun spirit. “It’s fun; I feel like that’s the number one thing,” she observes. “There’s those times when I’m playing in a game and I don’t feel stress, I don’t feel worried about losing, and just don’t worry about what’s happening, which I feel is what draws me back.” She describes how, in a way, volleyball is a positive emotional outlet for her—it helps her tap into a fun and positive spirit when she plays.
Huggins is a prominent leader on the volleyball team and a role model for many of the younger players, sharing her volleyball knowledge, offering a helping hand to those who need it, and modeling leadership values for her teammates. “She’s always there and she showed us the ropes,” says Barajas.
“There’s a very diverse range of levels [on the team],” says Huggins. “I feel like everyone just loves volleyball and they come there to play it, so I like working with people who are just starting out and want to learn. I feel like, when there are so many different levels, I can give the most because I can learn and teach.” Huggins wants to be a leader to others, cares about their growth, and is always there for them, which is the best thing teammates can do for one another.
Sophomore Shanti Moran has had an intense passion for the sport since he was only a toddler.
Moran is one of the star players on the Sequoyah soccer team, averaging around 1-3 goals per game. He began playing soccer when he was around 3 or 4 years old and was inspired by his older brothers. “My older brothers would always play soccer and I’d watch them and want to play with them,” he says. “I’ve always been inspired by them.” He picked up this passion over the years and has gained much skill through his experiences with school soccer and outside of school clubs.
On the team, he shifts from forward, the player at the top of the field who scores, and midfielder, who passes to the other teammates. He enjoys these positions very much and finds playing both fun and exhilarating.
Besides the active soccer aspect, Moran enjoys the team community and sharing his excitement for the sport with his teammates. “It’s just fun; it’s fun hanging out with the people on the team and making connections with younger students,” he notes. Other teammates agree he is a very skilled and driven player who has a deep connection to soccer, which shines through in his playing and his interactions with the other team members.
Freshmen Arty and Yoshi Peretti are fast to the finish line even though they are new to running competitively.
Arty and Yoshi are two very strong and valuable runners on the Sequoyah cross country team, each owning two wins for their races. They only began running competitively this year but were inspired by their parents, who have a strong dedication to running. “I’ve always known I was an athletic specimen,” says Arty, “but my parents started running again recently. They said ‘you should join cross country’ and I did, just like Yoshi.” Both are happy they have discovered their love for competitive running through their parents. They say it has opened up a new interest for them that helps their stamina as well as their physical health. Yoshi adds, “I really like it, and I’m continuing to do it, and it’s fun. I want to extend how long cross country goes on for… It’s pretty cool.”
Although they find cross country fun and invigorating, it is also a very tough sport and they experience the physical effects of it. Yoshi mentions that “It’s not chill at all, it makes me feel terrible, but only momentarily. Then I feel great afterwards and I feel great forever when I’m doing it.” Cross country is a very tiring and taxing sport, and it’s impressive they have the vitality to push through.
Though there isn’t a huge team aspect in this sport, Arty and Yoshi really appreciate the support, positivity, and lively energy woven throughout the team. “There’s a whole atmosphere of people there to motivate you and get you ready to do it,” says Arty. “Really, it’s just amazing.”
Without these talented athletes, our Sequoyah sports teams would not be where they are today. Beth Huggins, Shanti Moran, and Arty and Yoshi Peretti are all valuable team members who bring their skill, spirit, and passion to their sports and help improve the way their teams function emotionally and technically.