The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

Starting his second lap of the race, senior Sanil Desai continues through the course at the Vista Ridge cross country invitational on Aug. 25. This was the second meet of the season and Desai finished in 19th place. “I was thinking about the team placements,” Desai said. “A lot of the schools at the Vista meet will be at districts so I was trying to pass as many people as I could, I’m mostly worried about Leander because they have an all around strong team.”
In It For the Long Run
Mai Cachila, Reporter • September 21, 2023

Getting into...

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In the weight room, Coach K directs her basketball athletes as they get a lift in during their athletic period. According to Coach K, she hopes to not only continue the success of the program but also make them better players and people. “I feel like one of my biggest roles is to be a mentor and a person they can look up to,” Coach K said. “Someone who will be there for them long after they’re gone from the program.”
Born to Ball
Penny Moreno, Reporter • September 20, 2023

Two minutes remain...

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Handing a towel to a coach, freshman Norah Goett  fulfills her duties as an athletic trainer at the JV game against Vandegrift on August 31. As a part of being a student trainer, Goett is required to go to every football practice and game. I enjoy the fun of helping people,” Goett said. “Being able to go to the games and be on the field and have that experience is really cool.”
Photo by Alyssa Fox
The Anatomy of Sports Medicine
Jane Yermakov, Reporter • September 19, 2023

In the gleam...

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“Barbie” was released July 21 in theaters, accumulating $155 million over opening weekend. What looks to be a happy introduction with the pink Warner Bros. logo, it soon turns into a movie discussing the serious topic of feminism. “I didn’t realize that it was going to be as in-depth as it was,” biology teacher Adam Babich said. “I thought it was just a fun, campy movie and when I went and saw it I just instantly fell in love.”

Photo by Caroline Howard
I'm a Barbie Girl, In a Non-Barbie World
Caroline Howard, Reporter • September 18, 2023

The lights dim...

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Starting the early morning practice, new swim and dive coach Kyla Gargiulo informs her student-athletes of their next set, giving them tips to help along the way. Gargiulo looks forward to keeping the swim team competitive and improving throughout the year. “The thing I love most about coaching is getting to be a part of the sport that I fell in love with,” Gargiulo said. “[I also love getting to] help the current team achieve and surpass their goals while having fun.”  Photo by Kaydence Wilkinson
Rookies of the Year
Kaydence Wilkinson, Reporter • September 15, 2023

Volleyball, basketball,...

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Leaning back on her right, varsity tennis member junior Mia Petty prepares to receive the ball with the traditional racket swing. For student athletes, the heat has caused many changes to previously created habits involved in sport practices, but it can also be a tool, according to Petty. The heat is definitely annoying, Petty said. There are so many things that you have to do to avoid exhaustion and it feels excessive at times. [However], I think the heat further encourages me to get outside. [I want to] be exposed to the heat as much as possible so I can better acclimate to being hot and tired.
A Love-Heat Relationship With Texas
Kassidy Wilkinson, Reporter • September 14, 2023

As the thin red...

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A Different Kind of Art

Junior Shares Journey With Taekwondo
Brooklyn Collinsworth
Striking a pose in front of the Tiger-Rock Martial Arts National Championship banner, junior Brooklyn Collinsworth shows off her flexibility and blue belt. The tournament was held at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio from July 20-23. “I end[ed] up getting bronze in the overall board breaking competition,” Collinsworth said. “My opponents were much older and had a lot more experience.”

Time seems to move slower once she straps the headgear on and walks onto the mat. She flips a switch in her mind, putting all her focus on her next move. Staring at her opponent, aggressiveness begins to build and in the next second her foot is at her opponent’s face. Two points. Her mood and rhythm have settled in and now she’s ready to win.

Junior Brooklyn Collinsworth, operations manager for the Wolfcast News, has recently developed a new hobby. While trying to get out of the on-campus P.E. credit sophomore year, Collinsworth decided to join Tiger-Rock Martial Arts and learn taekwondo. Since then, Collinsworth has found a passion in the art and hit her one year mark this August.

“I was not originally interested in martial arts,” Collinsworth said. “All of the options for [the P.E. credit] were either kickboxing or taekwondo or karate. I didn’t know the difference at the time, so I just chose the top one on the list and that was Tiger-Rock Martial Arts. [From there] it’s been my Batman origin story.”

Every martial arts company has their own belt rank system. For Tiger-Rock, there are 15 different belt levels. Starting out at white belts, students rank up to yellow, advance through three levels each of green, blue, brown, red and end at the highest rank of black belt.  Collinsworth is currently a level two blue belt and plans to continue leveling up.

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“There are six [belt-ranking] tests a year; one every couple months,” Collinsworth said. “[To improve in taekwondo] you have to show up every day and display the fact that you can do everything they teach you. Most people won’t show up for [testings] because they have other commitments and stuff; I don’t have a life so I’ve showed up to all of them. That’s how I’ve progressed so far. I have friends that should be red belts in theory, but they’re still blue belts because they haven’t tested or because they’ve failed testing.”

Taekwondo sparring consists of all types of strikes, including punches and kicking in the head. After one competitor gets a clean hit on their opponent, the two reset, and the referee reviews the point. The match consists of three rounds that are two minutes each. Collinsworth’s strategy to winning is her aggressiveness. 

“I’m always aggressive [when I compete] and people don’t like that about me because I don’t really ‘chill out,’ or go into a defensive mode,” Collinsworth said. “I’m always attacking the other person. Because I’m constantly moving, I don’t have to worry about where they’re kicking [or] blocking. If I’m constantly moving at them, comboing different stuff, it’s very hard for them to block me and then I’m the one who gets the first point.”

Collinsworth became a certified instructor in January. To become an instructor, you must be at least 16 years old and pass a test. Collinsworth  passed the test, which consisted of small details about taekwondo, with a perfect score. After passing her test, the other instructors handed her a black jacket which marked her new position as an instructor.

“[Tiger-Rock] asked me to become an instructor,” Collinsworth said. “I didn’t ask to be certified, I just love helping out and [my instructors] needed me to take over a little bit. I [started] helping out with classes because I enjoy teaching others something that makes me happy.”

My instructors are like my second parents. They look out for me the same way. You [have to] become close or else you can’t learn martial arts. It’s a very family-like setting. I know them so well and we’re having fun, we’re learning self defense and we’re sparring which are all things I love to do, like I take all my mask off because I’m allowed to be myself around them.

— Brooklyn Collinsworth

Instructing five to thirteen year olds martial arts felt like church, Collinsworth said. Not getting paid, but having fun and dedicating five hours a day to instructing made her happy. Tiger-Rock has offered a job to her after she graduates high school, but she isn’t sure if that’s the route for her yet.

“[It’s] a big age group to work with and teaching them and seeing the realization on their face when they kick and say ‘oh, that’s how it’s supposed to be,’ that gives me a lot of joy,” Collinsworth said. “I’ve seen changes in kids in 3 months and that’s the coolest thing to see. To see them walk in and be kind of shy and not talk to anybody and then [after some time] they’re open and they’re honest and they’re fully themselves. That change makes me super happy.”

Third degree black belt and instructor Grace Hudgens has helped Collinsworth with her taekwondo journey. Hudgens has been doing martial arts since she was 16 and has always had teaching as an option in her career path since she comes from a long line of teachers. Wanting to become an elementary school teacher, she decided that taekwondo would give her experience with kids, as well as some that had disabilities or mental problems. 

“The best part [of my job] for me is the kids,” Hudgens said. “I love teaching and seeing their eyes light up. [Martial arts] really helps with different types of behavioral issues. If someone has anger issues, if someone lashes out in class, at school, or if somebody just has a hard time focusing, martial arts is a great outlet for them. They can hit and smash any equipment. We never teach them to do that to students themselves, only for self defense if they’re in a real life [dangerous] situation. It’s a great [way] for them to get all that aggression and energy out while still having fun and learning how to defend themselves.”

So far, Collinsworth has been to two district competitions and competed in the Tiger-Rock Martial Arts National Championships Season 40 2023. Tiger-Rock only competes against other Tiger-Rock schools in Central Texas for their district competitions. For one district competition, she placed in all three events, and for the other competition, she placed in two events. For the most part, she earned gold. Since she won her districts, she was able to earn a spot in Nationals, with the title of an Allstar

“Nationals [was] much harder [than districts],” Collinsworth said. “I was the youngest person there. I competed against adult women that were in their thirties and that have been doing other martial arts on top of [taekwondo]. That was very intimidating and it was extremely difficult because they saw all my weak spots immediately. When you’re sparring, people continuously are learning as they’re watching you for your weak spots. If I’m using one kick, they’ll learn how to block that one kick. If I use the same kind of spin kick and I overturn my shoulder, they’re going to know that I’m going to do a spin kick because I’m turning my shoulder. They pay attention to stuff that I don’t really pay attention to. [That] helped me learn because I need to start doing that too if I’m able to get ahead.”

While at the championship, Collinsworth would face bigger and taller opponents. Being used to sparring against male opponents who were shorter than her at the studio made her height advantage nonexistent. 

“[My opponents] were 6ft tall,” Collinsworth said. “I didn’t know the girls could be bigger than me. Height and weight makes a huge difference, even if you have skill. If you keep sparring your same body weight then you’ll learn everything they do and you don’t have a diverse area of [opponents] to practice [with]. You [need to] learn how to kick lower, kick higher.”

When matching up against opponents who are defensive, Collinsworth uses her angles. Constantly moving and circling each other, her best option is usually to corner them. 

“My friend Reeve, who is also a blue belt, is extremely defensive so it’s very frustrating to spar him because he’s blocking everything I do and not kicking me,” Collinsworth said. “If I can go to the side, if I can corner him somehow, or if I can keep doing moves at him to the point where he can’t back up; that’s what you want to do.”

Besides sparring, the tournaments also hold board-breaking competitions. Martial artists will strike one or more boards, using special forms and if the board breaks, one point is awarded.  At the board-breaking event during Nationals, Collinsworth was able to place third out of 16 competitors.

“[The tournament] used new boards for the board breaking, so when I hit them, they went down and straight back up,” Collinsworth said. “So it basically didn’t break, which [was] weird. I did end up getting bronze in the overall board breaking competition. My opponents were much older and had a lot more experience.”

Alongside taekwondo, Collinsworth has a white belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and plans to improve more in that skill once she gets to college. Collinsworth has shown up for a couple of classes, but wants to keep her focus on taekwondo right now.

“When I get to college I think that I’m going to do Brazilian jiu-jitsu for real and not just show up for three classes and then not show up again,” Collinsworth said. “I haven’t been consistent enough to call myself a white belt, and the rules are a little bit different. I’ve been going to taekwondo five days a week since last year. I have not stopped going five days a week even during the school year or during the summer.”

Being able to go to the studio five times a week and learn new techniques and forms helped Collinsworth mentally. 

“I was not happy with myself before I joined,” Collinsworth said. “Taekwondo is something that I can put my stress [into]. I had to watch myself a little bit [in the beginning] because [my instructors] were like ‘you hit too hard, stop it.’ That’s what lets all my stress out either from Broadcast or from what’s happening at home or homework or AP classes.”

While competing at Nationals, Collinsworth injured her opponent while sparring. During nationals, if your opponent is injured to the point where they have to get wheeled out, the one who injured them is disqualified.

“That was the one that I really wanted to do well in because I suck at forms,” Collinsworth said. “[Disqualifying] took a lot of my ego away. ‘Oh I’m so good, look at all my district [wins];’ it puts it in perspective that I do need to work a lot harder towards sparring especially and learning how to watch other people. Even though I don’t like point sparring, it’s playing the game. It’s figuring out how to get past your opponent, how to get the point. I still need to improve for [the] next nationals. I expect to kick butt next nationals.”

 Because of the long hours she spends at the studio each week, Collinsworth is able to know everyone there very well. Whether it be practicing on her own skills or teaching younger students, the people involved quickly become close friends. 

“It kind of builds a family and I know that’s super cliche, but you have to have a family if you’re kicking somebody in the head; there can’t be any beef between you,” Collinsworth said. “There can’t be any animosity, there has to be a family connection of like, ‘oh sorry man, sorry about that, that wasn’t intentional.’ I’ve become best friends with everybody in that studio very easily. My instructors are like my second parents. They look out for me the same way. You [have to] become close or else you can’t learn martial arts. It’s a very family-like setting. I know them so well and we’re having fun, we’re learning self defense and we’re sparring which are all things I love to do, like I take all my mask off because I’m allowed to be myself around them.”

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About the Contributor
Heidi Williams, Reporter
Heidi is a junior and a second year reporter. Along with newspaper, Heidi races her Ninja 400 with CMRA and plans to do so all throughout high school. Her free time is always dedicated to anything motorcycle related. She tends to write mostly about sports and hopes to be either a Sports Reporter or racer in the future. Heidi enjoys doing the most exciting things and lives for going on long rides with her boyfriend and family on the weekends.

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  • A

    Alyssa FoxSep 7, 2023 at 1:31 pm


  • B

    Brooklyn CollinsworthSep 6, 2023 at 2:15 pm

    Love this, thanks for the feature!

  • K

    Kacey MillerSep 6, 2023 at 1:39 pm