Influx of Underclassmen

With the talent gap between under & upperclassmen narrowing in high school sports, some of the younger players get more leading roles.


Matthew Osmundson

Underclassmen helped JD boys basketball to the semifinals this season.

High school sports are changing. The days of the savvy senior-led team are over. Yeah, there might be a few reliable and good seniors here and there, mixed in with a few juniors, but the time of the “underclassmen age” has come. High school sports is becoming a ground for more and more younger guys and girls to showcase their skills on the varsity level.

“To be able to participate in varsity football was a whole new level of the game,” sophomore Tyler Easter says, “ the game moves much faster, and it’s going ‘go’ all the time, and it’s kickass to be under the lights with your brothers playing,” Easter concluded. With more than 22 seniors on the football team this past year, Tyler along with many other sophomores and freshmen looks to have big impacts on the team next year. “It was a great opportunity for me to develop as a player,” says sophomore Michael Hulverson.

Even in other sports, we can see the trend of youth taking over. “I think playing with older kids really challenges me, I think that when I play with them I really push myself, and see what I can really do,” said freshman Melissa Osmundson. Melissa is one of the very few underclassmen participating on the JV and Varsity levels of the girl’s basketball team. “The JV and varsity girls are so nice and encouraging, so I really enjoy it.” Osmundson says. The untapped potential that Melissa has, is being tamed earlier than usual, which can lead to bigger and better things come next season. Switching the boys’ side of basketball, sophomore Evan Wigton gives his input, “… it’s a fun experience getting to play with the JV and varsity level this year it’s given me a lot of opportunities to develop as a player and a person.” Evan is a perfect example of what hard work and dedication underclassmen have. After not seeing the floor for varsity or JV at all last year, Evan has started most of the JV games this year prior to a leg injury and has even managed to get some varsity minutes.

Even in girls’ soccer, we can see the landscape changing. “Being on the varsity team as a freshman made me work harder and see what it’s like to play with the older girls,” says freshman Hailey Mezenen, “my favorite moment was just becoming closer with the upperclassmen, and hitting the game-winning point against Granger.” It’s not like Hailey was just there, she was actually scoring goals and being a big part of the team.

With this much talent in the class of 2022 and 2023, who knows what could happen in the future? Could we potentially see a varsity girls basketball team that starts up to 3 sophomores next year? Or even a varsity football team that has 7 starters on a defense that don’t have a driver’s license? Only time will tell, but the future bodes well for underclassmen.