Freshman works her way up to varsity


Alina Tang

Freshman Alexis Cheatum spikes the ball over the net during the Midway tournament. “Playing on varsity is such a honor and a blessing,” Cheatum said. “It definitely is a faster-paced game.”

Sweat trickled down her face as the anticipation for the next team’s move pushed her body into action. The crowd’s cheers became a dull roar; her focus was purely on the ball. The ball is served. The libero digs the ball, then the setter hits. She takes a deep breath, races up and smacks the ball. Laughter and joy fill her ears. Cedar Park wins.

Alexis Cheatum is a freshman on the varsity volleyball team, playing right side and outside hitter. According to Cheatum, her “job” is to block the pins, pass and attack the ball.

“I play volleyball because I think I’m pretty good at it and it’s fun,” Cheatum said.

Cheatum started playing the game when she was only 12. She heard about it through her friends and her mom, who always talked about the sport.

Not only is Cheatum a freshman on varsity, she also plays on an Austin Juniors club volleyball team. Previously the team placed third at nationals.

While she is not competing in volleyball, Cheatum works aggressively to maintain her grades.

“I juggle both school and volleyball by staying organized and always working hard to excel at both,” Cheatum said.

While working with people that are well above their grade level can be challenging for some, Cheatum understands the importance of this opportunity.

“At first I was nervous,” Cheatum said. “But I have wonderful teammates that made me more confident. Plus, the team is not only filled with wonderful teammates but, wonderful girls.”

Cheatum prepares for games by listening to music and always praying before a game. The volleyball girls also practice at an intense, fast paced and high level speed, according to Cheatum.  Not only that, they practice six days a week and sometimes twice a day.

“Whenever I play, I truly focus on what comes next,” Cheatum said. “You might have had a bad pass, but you can’t let that get you down so you really have to bounce back in the game. Also I focus on how I can help my team win and to be selfless.”