Star on the Field, Star in the Classroom- Ashley Tapia

Krystal Orehek, Reporter

A popularly debated topic is whether or not school athletes are truly able to have a balance school-sport life, and many would say no; however, junior Ashley Tapia is the exception.

Ashley has taken four AP classes ranging from AP bio to calculus, all while participating in back-to-back sports seasons. Throughout her high school career, she has played both soccer and ran track for Sahuaro while also playing in club soccer. With about 6-7 hours spent on homework per week and averaging 8 hours per week in sports depending on the season, and when you factor in school days themselves, it’s almost like she’s working full-time!

Sahuaro’s soccer team! (Ashley Tapia)

Our very own Cougar soccer team has won Tapia’s heart as her favorite sport thus far, “It’s always really fun and the team gets along so well. I always look forward to it and have such a great season every year.” Her club soccer team was the state champs her freshman year and even got to travel to Idaho for regionals. She explains, “It was a really big accomplishment for my team and we worked really hard to get there.” Since Ashley is a junior, college is right around the corner and she is currently on the hunt for a soccer program fit for her. “I have been looking into playing soccer in college. I haven’t made any final decisions yet…but hopefully, I can find a school with a soccer program I really like.”

Being the star student that she is, it’s only fitting that she is currently considering being a nurse. “I would like to be a nurse or pursue some profession in the medical field. I’ve wanted to do this since I was in middle school and I obviously don’t know for sure yet, but nursing is what I’m aiming for.” A pro to come from COVID? For Ashley, the hybrid schedule has allowed her to have more time to keep up with homework that she never had before!

Ashley’s club soccer team after making regionals! (Ashley Tapia)

Of course, being a student-athlete comes with its own set of challenges. Despite the widely held opinion that sports distract kids from school, Ashley uses sports as a way to motivate her in school. “To manage being a student-athlete I just try to spend my free time being productive. I usually just set aside an hour or two each day to get my homework done for the day and then once I’m done with that, I can relax and not worry about it. I have to do my homework around my sports schedule, which kind of helps because it makes it easier to not put it off until later when I know I have other things to do. Sports helps balance out the homework because I can get out and be active.” Overwhelming moments are almost impossible to avoid no matter your situation, especially for those with a packed schedule. “When I’m overwhelmed, I usually just make a list of everything I need to do and just try to get through one thing at a time because that’s all I can do. Sometimes I’ll step away from my homework and take a break so I can get away from it for a second,” are a couple of ways Ashley distresses.

Outside of school and sports, in her well-deserved free time she likes to hang out with her family, watch TV, and of course, take naps.

If you’re struggling to find a balance between school and athletics, Ashley has some advice! “I’d say to really enjoy yourself when playing sports and see it as time to have fun and be active. Don’t stress out about it because it should be an escape from school.”