Student athletes share perspectives


There are so many different traditions schools hold, but what is one of the biggest at Puyallup High School?  

Game days.  

But who are the players behind their scores? Who are they really? What are their goals? How do they plan to reach those goals? 

Football player Zi’ere Ford shares that the sport acts as a great outlet.  

 “Stress, anger, sadness, happiness, everything of the above,” Zi’ere said.  

One of the major things that motivates Ford, he says, is his family. His parents put him into football at an early age since he started in kindergarten and then on to tackle football in the first grade.  

While he has been playing football for many years, Ford says he still has things to learn.  

 “I think I am pretty great at football but there’s still stuff I can learn and be taught, and still do better myself,” Ford said. 

 Ford says he had been asked why he is playing the sport and his response comes back to family.  

 “For one, I want to give my mom a mansion and her dream car, which is a white Range Rover. And because I just want to play football,” Ford said.  

Cross-country captain and senior Cian Monaghan who says his relationship with his sport is also complex. 

 “Running and I have a complicated relationship; I’ll just put it like that.  I love the sport; I love the people,” Monaghan said. “It’s physically and mentally challenging, but as long as you know [to] just push through that you’re all set.”  

Monaghan says that his family was also an influential factor regarding why he took up the sport.  

  “It was a strong influence by my family because my mom did cross country when she was young and she’s the coach,” Monaghan said. “A lot of people think of cross-country as just a physical thing of how fast can you run, but it’s also a mental thing.”  

Sophomore cheerleader Madison Soper says that being involved in her sport provides her a way to connect with not only her team but Puyallup as well. 

 “I love doing cheer; it makes you feel really included with the community,” Soper said.  “I just moved here, and I thought that doing a sport would make it easier to transition to schools. And everyone on the team was super sweet so I decided to join cheer.” 

Soper says that that there are several misconceptions about her sport and the people in it. .  “People talk about how we look intimidating but a lot of people said once they talked to us that they realized [we are] pretty nice,” Soper said. “People don’t really think of [cheerleading] as a sport, but it’s actually a lot of work.” 

Sophomore golfer Ian Dikeman says that golf is actually an interactive teambuilding sport that he chose to play because he grew up with it.  

“I actually grew up playing golf very competitively,” Dikeman said.  

Just like Soper, Dikeman sees an involvement in his sport as a way to connect to his peers and the community.  

“I really like being a part of a team and to be a part of a community bigger than myself,” Dikeman said. 

Sophomore Chloe Allison says that being involved in volleyball has been a highlight but also a balancing act.  

 “I like [volleyball] a lot, but it’s really tiring with schoolwork and trying to balance,” Allison said.  

Allison started playing the sport recently, having started in junior high but has found a sport that she’s come to really like. 

“I was forced by a friend in like eighth grade but now I love the sport,” Allison said.  

Sophomore tennis player Joel Liu, like many other athletes, started playing because of his family.  

 “My parents kind of pressured me into going to a tennis camp last summer and after that I kind of got into it,” Liu said. “I’m pretty glad that I did because it’s good exercise and it’s pretty fun; I’ve made a lot of friends along the way too.”  

Senior Vanessa Caldwell has also been playing her sport, soccer, since she was young. Her parents started her playing soccer at four-years-old at the YMCA. 

“I really enjoy being on the team and I love playing the sport at PHS and just soccer in general I guess,” Caldwell said.  

While she started young, Caldwell wants to continue to play her sport in college.  

Junior water polo team member Luke Taylor started playing his sport because he was a swimmer in elementary school.  

 “My [older] brother when he got to high school started playing so then I decided I’d start playing also because it looked fun,” Taylor said.  

Taylor a used to play soccer but likes water polo more because there were aspects of soccer he didn’t enjoy. 

“I don’t like running but I liked to other aspects of soccer,” Taylor said. “That’s why I did water polo since it’s like soccer but swimming instead of running.”  

Sophomore Kamsi Anthony is a part of the girls’ swim team because she says she likes being part of a team.  

One of the main things that Anthony said she had to learn was an important component to her sport: swimming.  

 “I didn’t know how to swim when I first started,” Anthony said. “A month before it started, I learned how to swim, barely.”  

Now that she can swim, Anthony says it is all about learning and improving.  

“I really wanted to see how much I could improve, I also wanted to get really good endurance from it for track,” Anthony said.