Hawkeye Fall Players of the Season

Yesenia Ruiz Garcia, Sports Editor

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This year, the Hawkeye Sports Staff would like to present the very first group of student-athletes to be recognized as Hawkeye Players of the Season. The following students have been nominated by their Coach for their outstanding attributes on the field, as well as in the classroom. With a short written autobiography and a few words of advice to fellow student-athletes, here are the Hawkeye Fall Players of the Season!


Aaron J. Gomez

Sport: Boys Soccer      Grade: 9

“I used to hate doing anything that involved running because I was an overweight child that would get tired by doing any athletic activity, but my Dad and Mom made me start playing soccer because I needed to do something productive with myself. I hated the sport at first and I would be the kid sitting on the bench because I was honestly horrible at the sport. But over time, my passion for the sport grew and soccer just became a huge part of my life. I don’t know what I would like to do for my future career, but I do know that I want to specialize in something that has to do with psychology. The whole soccer season overall was important because we became more than a team – we became family. More than anything, my Dad and Mom are my biggest motivation. But I also go by the quote,  “I never lose. I either win or learn.” – Nelson Mandela

“As the words ‘student-athlete’ imply, you’re a student before you’re an athlete – so don’t slack as a student.”


Kaitlyn Rouse 

Sport: Cross Country     Grade: 11

“I started running as a hobby. A lot of people hate to run, but once you get used to it, it can be pretty relaxing. I joined the cross-country team because I like running. It was really hard, but I stayed on the team, and this year I made it to state. Catching up to people always motivates me.”

“Sleep more, drink more, eat more. Take care of yourself.”


Alexa Zuniga de Alba

Sport: Girls Tennis     Grade: 12

“My name is Alexa Zuniga and I’m a senior here at Hug High School. I started playing tennis my junior year alongside my friends for fun. It seemed like a cool sport to try out. As I continued playing tennis, within the two years I participated I became more and more competitive and actually good at playing tennis. I hope to continue the sport as a hobby in the future. For the first time in decades, our team won our first game this season. We created many memories and created a family bond. I plan to attend UNR and hopefully later on in my career go to my dream school – the University of Oregon. I plan to major in political science under foreign affairs and minor in Spanish or journalism! Through my ambition, I push myself to be the best I can be, so I can satisfy my goals in life.”

“Put your education first and take advantage of the different resources offered here at Hug. Acknowledge that education is a privilege and should be taken seriously.”


Ana Cortes

Sport: Cheer     Grade: 12

“What led me to participate in cheer began in 2014 when my grandparents put me into the sport. I was cheering in a program called the Sierra Youth Football League. I was in SYFL for about 5 years and I began to love the sport, so I continued the sport throughout high school. I plan to get into a 4-year university, major in biology and pursue a career in optometry. Some memorable moments within the football season was being able to bond with all my teammates and seeing everyone improve on new skills. I love being able to have fun, but also being able to work hard. My grandparents, teachers, Coach, and friends have always been there to support and motivate me.”

“Don’t give up on your passion and always strive for bigger and better.”


Eddy Ramirez 

Sport: Boys Tennis    Grade: 11

“I was born and raised in Reno and I come from a Hispanic family. I first started to play tennis my freshman year, after my brother asked me to try it out. My favorite experience I had playing tennis was when my doubles partner accidentally hit me on the back while serving. ‘It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort’ – Jillian Michaels.”

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Master Yoda


Miriam Pippin

Sport: Girls Golf     Grade: 10

“I joined golf because Mr. Altenburg came to my English class to recruit and I decided to give it a try. After a few practices, I decided to stick with it because it was fun. This was my second year playing and I plan to continue throughout the rest of high school. My coach, Mr. Altenburg, motivates me by encouraging me to try my best.”

“Just have fun.”


Destiny Zepeda

Sport: Volleyball     Grade: 12

“My name is Destiny Zepeda and I am a senior here at Hug. Ever since I was little I’ve played sports. Softball, volleyball, basketball, track, and cross country are all kinds of sports I’ve participated in. I love playing sports because I’m a competitive person and love working as a team to reach the goal of a victory. Though my senior year is coming to an end, I hope to play either softball, volleyball, or basketball in college. It’s been an amazing athletic journey that I don’t want to end! When it comes to an inspirational quote, I live by “don’t let success go to your head and don’t let failure get to your heart.”

“If you want to be a true student-athlete, you have to be 110% invested in academics and 110% invested on the field/court.”


Tevin Grant 

Sport: Football     Grade: 12

“I played football because it was very fun. Also, if you’re good enough it can pay for your college. Although I don’t know where yet, I plan to continue to play football in college. I always try to be the best I can be.”

“If you start something make sure you put 100% effort into it.”


Mitzi Gabriela Talavera 

Sport: Girls Soccer     Grade: 11

“I started playing when I was 11-and-a-half and then played for about four-and-a-half years. I always enjoyed watching soccer and decided to start learning myself. I fell in love with the game and joined my first team. I’m in HSA and HOSA as well as taking jumpstart classes for hospitality and tourism. My dream is to play for UNLV. Throughout the season, my favorite moments were where we bonded as a team on the bus. I am motivated by these two quotes: 1) ”Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” and 2) “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

“If you truly believe that not even the sky is the limit, strive for your goals. Don’t worry about what others think. Do everything for yourself.” 


Congratulations to all of our Hawkeye Fall Players of the Season!