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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From First-Downs to Touchdowns

Varsity Football Team To Bounce Back After Vandy Loss
Tylie Biggs
Leaving his opponent on the ground after a quick and precise maneuver, sophomore running back Trae Hill sprints toward the end zone. The varsity football team will play against Round Rock High School tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Gupton Stadium. “[Being on varsity] made me work a lot harder,” Hill said. “It’s a lot more mental, [too]. People don’t understand that if you’re not in the right headspace, then you won’t be at your best. I hope we make a lot of memories [this season]. We’re confident and we practice hard for sure. We realize that we have a good team this year, [that] we have potential.”

It sounds more like white noise under their helmets, all the crowds’ cheers, boos, and clapping. With feet already sore, eyes already dry, and faces already sweating, they send team captains to the coin toss and line up to honor the National Anthem. The bright white bulbs surrounding the field don’t seem very bright now, but by the third quarter they will leave spots in spectators’ vision. The air is clear, the outside temperature reads too hot, and the team is ready to play. With one last look at the setting sun, the referee pulls out his whistle and blows, signaling it’s time for some good ole’ Friday night football.

The varsity football team plays against Round Rock High School tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Gupton Stadium, where students are encouraged to wear gold for the Gold Out spirit theme. The team is currently 1-1 in non-district play after beating Cedar Ridge on Aug. 25 and losing to Vandegrift last Friday. Head football coach and athletic coordinator Michael Quintero, who has over two decades experience in coaching high school football, will continue to work with the team through both wins and losses.

“I think [the season] is going good; we’re not going to hang our heads on one [lost] game,” Quintero said. “We have eight more games to play [this season]. Our kids were resilient [when playing against Vandegrift]. They played hard for four quarters and we’re going to watch film, get things corrected and we’re moving on. They’re a great group of kids, they work hard, they’re tough. We’ve got experience on the field, and we’ve got guys that are bought into what we’re doing. They want to play in December.”

Tonight’s game ends non-district play, followed by a bye week. On Sept. 22, the team will open district play against 1-1 East View. District 25-5A includes local teams, like Pflugerville and Leander, as well as teams like College Station, the 5A-D1 state runner-up. Even with heavy competition in district play, captain and three year starter, senior Isaiah King said he and the team have big expectations for the season.

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“The whole team [has] pretty high hopes right now,” King said. “We have a tough district every year, [but] we fully believe we can win district. Our team has bought into the system and trusts our coaches. We were a little discouraged last year because of our record, but our hopes are district champs this year; we think that’s pretty attainable. And then state, of course. Our team is small depth-wise, [even though] everyone on the field is really solid. We can’t have many injuries this year.”

After a junior-heavy team last season, the team this year has much more experience working together and learning the ins and outs of the game.

“Last year we had a really young team,” King said. “The senior class was small, so most of us were juniors on the team. Now we have a whole year under our belt of experience and we know what’s coming. We’ve had a whole off-season to get bigger, faster, stronger. Our relationships are really close. Our team chemistry is also way better; team chemistry is big in football. Our defense was good last year, but our offense was struggling. Now our offense is really good this year. Overall, there’s [been] more time to mature.”

The work varsity players put into the team can take up 20-25 hours each week, with that time being split up between 5 a.m. morning workouts, period practice, and after school film.

“Varsity football is like a job,” King said. “I’m with the football team way more than I am with my family during the school year. I spend so much time with these football guys day in and day out, some of my closest friends are on the football team. [But our coaches] are here all day and all night. They put in so many hours watching film, looking at the scouts, looking at the other team for the next week. They get here at 3:30 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m. each night. They never get to see their families. It’s huge to have coaches like that, sacrificing their time and their family time to help us get to where we want to be.”

As one of the five varsity football captains, King is expected to display leadership and grit among the rest of the team, as well as be a role model for the younger players.

“[As a captain], you have more responsibility because you have to be at more team functions,” King said. “You have to coach up the younger guys because they’re the future [of the team]. It’s more thinking about others instead of yourself. I hate to say it, but I think I would be the mom of the group. I keep all the players pretty accountable. We’re all brothers, though. We don’t look down on each other. There’s a few big voices on our team like Reid Vines, Ayden Arp, all the captains, but our team is full of leaders. We look at each other as peers. But I guess my role would be mom-ish. I’ve got to keep them on track, you know?”

Senior outside linebacker Isaiah King meets junior cornerback Garrett Nichols on the field as Nichols stands up with the ball after a play. Nichols is currently talking to several smaller universities in hopes of playing college football. “I really want to use football to play at a good academic school,” Nichols said. “That’s the ultimate goal. Right now I’m talking to mainly smaller schools, like University of Chicago. If I were to play Division III I would probably go there. I would prefer [to play Division I], though. I think that’s what everyone dreams to do.” Photo by Tylie Biggs

Holding each other accountable isn’t confined to practices or team meetings for the group. Players hold one another to their responsibilities on and off the field.

“We’re really hard on each other to get good grades,” King said. “It’s the most important thing. Also working hard in practice. It’s just the little things, [too], like having our lockers clean, not jacking around while a coach is talking, and putting in our full effort when we have practice. We keep each other accountable in all aspects.”

Being an underclassman on varsity can put a lot of pressure on a player, junior cornerback Garrett Nichols said. Nichols earned all-district cornerback recognition as a sophomore last year, and was surprised when he was welcomed onto the team by the upperclassmen.

“The seniors were really good leaders for me,” Nichols said. “I was kind of expecting to not be included very much or treated very well because I was way younger than them, but they treated me like I was one of them. I never felt any less valuable on the team than they were. They were my big brothers. We have a decent amount of underclassmen this year on varsity, and I think the upperclassmen are doing a good job of how they treated me when I was an underclassmen. Bringing them in and treating them like they’re one of us. We all like to play for each other.”

Sophomore running back Trae Hill is currently in the position Nichols was in as a starting sophomore on varsity. Hill deals with the pressure he feels to succeed by relating back to the training he has done.

“[Being on varsity] made me work a lot harder,” Hill said. “It’s a lot more mental, [too]. People don’t understand that if you’re not in the right headspace, then you won’t be at your best. I hope we make a lot of memories [this season]. We’re confident and we practice hard for sure. We realize that we have a good team this year, [that] we have potential.”

Hill and Nichols both want to pursue playing football after high school, and Nichols is already looking into schools he is interested in.

“I really want to use football to play at a good academic school,” Nichols said. “That’s the ultimate goal. Right now I’m talking to mainly smaller schools, like University of Chicago. If I were to play Division III, I would probably go there. I would prefer [to play Division I], though. I think that’s what everyone dreams to do.”

King, who has applied to Texas A&M University and a few other schools, is not planning on playing college football, but has an offer from Hendrix College to play for them next year. He said currently he foresees his football career ending along with his high school one.

“It’s going to be tough, for sure,” King said. “It’s not really anything I’ve known, not having a football in my hands. I’ve been playing football since I was four. It’s definitely going to be a change, but I’m pretty content with how my high school career’s been going. The team has been really fun but my identity is outside of football; just a good, nice person that cares about others. I don’t determine how I feel based on my performance in football. I have loving parents and family and friends. I’m still Isaiah after football. I’ll fall back into YoungLife, into my family, and spend more time with family, [since] college is coming up; I’m hoping to be an Aggie in the fall. High school is probably going to be the end of the football ride. If I really do miss playing football in the spring, [though], then I might go play at Hendrix.”

With the majority of the team graduating in the spring, juniors and sophomores will have leadership roles to fill next year. King said the most important thing for next season’s young team to remember is that each player should be there for one another.

“Those sophomores that are on varsity now are going to have big roles next year,” King said. “[My advice is to] keep people accountable and love on others. Love your teammates, because you’re going to be with them for the next few years. Work hard, trust your coaches, lead.”

As for advice for the middle schoolers looking forward to playing football in high school, King said to keep working hard and know that every varsity player has been in their position. He was a ball boy his freshman year of high school, when the team went to state.

“We may seem pretty big now, but you’ll be there in no time,” King said. “It goes by quick. Make sure football isn’t your whole life, because it can be. And a lot of it is for us, because we spend so much time here, but you’ve got to have a personal life too. Do your own thing as well. Have relationships with other people, with your family. Get involved. Football is really fun, but it doesn’t last forever. Connect with people, make memories in high school. We were all there before.”

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About the Contributor
Kacey Miller, Editor-in-Chief
Kacey is a junior and third year reporter. She loves learning about her fellow students and writing about their stories. In addition to being a staff member for The Wolfpack, she is a UIL journalism competitor, the Cedar Park FFA Vice President and has a show lamb named Winnie. If she’s not at the barn or practicing for her FFA contests, she’s probably doing homework. You can find her at every football game, either in the stands or on the sidelines taking pictures. Some of her favorite memories are from reading the Bible with her little sisters. She plans to attend college somewhere cold, but also doesn’t want to be too far away from her family. Her favorite animal is a bear and sometimes she wishes she could hibernate like one.

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