Freshmen Girls Take on Varsity Winter Sports


Emma Haag

Freshman Moka Saiki shoots a two-point shot during practice to prepare for the upcoming winter season. The next varsity girls’ basketball game will be on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. against Capistrano Valley High.

Emma Haag, Staff Writer

Moka Saiki 

Freshman Moka Saiki has been playing basketball for eight years, and she will be competing at the varsity level for the 2019-2020 winter season. 

Saiki handles the pressure of being the youngest on the team extremely well but acknowledges it is quite challenging.

“As a freshman on the team, I handle the pressure by working extra hard and playing in the moment,”  Saiki said. Although I may be the youngest member on the team, in the end, we all cooperate and work off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to win.”

Her future goals include winning a league title and playing in CIF playoffs. She attributes her drive to her parents’ support and encouragement.


Lucia Friedberg

Freshman Lucia Friedberg has been playing soccer competitively for the past six years in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and San Antonio, Texas before moving to Irvine, which has prepared her for varsity level.

Teammates, coaches and friends provide Friedberg with ample guidance and support through the many challenges she faces as a young varsity player.

“My biggest physical challenge is that I’m a lot smaller and not as strong as other players,” Friedberg said. “One of my biggest mental challenges is getting over my nerves before games… I’m nervous about proving that I belong on the team and the physical challenge that will definitely give me a hard time.”

Although she believes it is tough for a freshman athlete to make an impact on a varsity team because they have had less time and experience with their sport compared to upperclassmen, she is ready to step up to the challenge


Emma Amakasu

Fourteen-year-old freshman Emma Amakasu has been playing water polo on and off for the past year and a half. She will play for the Portola’s girls’ varsity team this upcoming winter season.

Standing at only five feet tall, Amakasu is smaller than most water polo athletes, but it does not discourage her from striving to be the best.

“I’m kind of scared to be playing at a level where the other girls are older, bigger and have more experience than me, but overall I’m really excited [to get to know the other girls on the team and to play against my friends at other schools,” Amakasu said. “A piece of advice I have for other athletes to stay motivated is to think about how what you’re doing now is going to help you in the future, [rather than dwell on the difficulties you have now].”

In the future, Amakasu aspires to become an all American athlete and recieve a scholarship for water polo.