The Warren Athletic Department is proud to announce the next installment of winter athletes of the week–Juan Hernandez (Boys’ Soccer), Halle Sii (Girls’ Basketball), and Frances Potts (Girls’ Basketball). These athletes have recently concluded their regular seasons, and the girls are preparing to enter into playoffs and defend their 2018 CIF title! All three of these athletes had phenomenal regular seasons, and we are thrilled to honor them as our Bears’ Athletes of the Week!
Juan Hernandez is a four-year member of the Warren Boys’ Soccer Team. He was moved up to varsity during his sophomore year, as the Bears began their playoff run. He has been a fixture on the varsity field since, serving as the team’s captain in his senior year. For Hernandez, there is nothing more rewarding than donning his Warren jersey and representing the Bears on the pitch. His love for soccer began well before his playing days at Warren. When he was only 4 years-old, his dad gave him a ball. “It felt natural!” Hernandez has been inseparable from the game ever since that introduction to the sport. Hernandez is going to remember his senior season fondly. He recalls the trip to Arizona for the showcase because it brought the team together as one. More than the score on the board at the end of the game, Hernandez places the most value in his time with his teammates. “I wouldn’t want anything else–just to be with my team.” He takes immense pride in representing Warren and showing their cohesion as a unit. “Every day, I just love going to soccer. 6th period is a happy place for me!” As his time at Warren comes tantalizingly close to an end, he recounts some of his favorite memories from within the program. One highlight occurred last season (2018) when the Bears knocked off the #1-ranked team in CIF Division I (Servite High School). He reminisces, “Looking in my teammates’ eyes and knowing that we were not going to lose this game then celebrating the win; it just felt so good.” It’s not just the big games that leave a lasting impression; rather, it’s also the smaller moments that have a deep influence, like practicing in the rain with his teammates and watching his team match the intensity of the pouring rain. He sincerely loves being with his teammates when everything falls into rhythm. All this joy also comes with its fair share of obstacles. Hernandez recognizes that it was a challenge playing with younger players and teaching the underclassmen the ways of varsity. As the captain, he took a lot of ownership of the team, trying to help his young teammates understand the pace and intensity at the high school level. Every year, Hernandez had to adapt to playing with different personnel. Regardless of the obstacles faced, Hernandez is going to miss waking up and knowing it’s game day! Nothing will match the feeling of “knowing that you’re going to play for Warren High School.” He only has the best memories of “putting on that jersey and knowing that [he’s’] going to play for Warren Soccer!” It’s hard for him to wrap his mind around the fact that his time is over. His soccer days will not end with the bears though. He has goals to continue to play soccer at the next level. He wants to continue to improve every day. Hernandez plans to play at a community college in hopes that he will receive a good scholarship to play at the 4-year university/college level. “No matter what, soccer is going to be my pain reliever. Playing soccer, I can forget about everything and just have fun!” His time with the Bears’ program has enhanced his high school experience. Being able to play in the stadium and on a big stage has been a privilege for him. Hernandez recognizes that not everyone has these same opportunities; he knows how fortunate he is to have trainers, a stadium, a weight room, and more. These are just more contributing factors for why he is so proud to represent the Bears. “I wouldn’t want to change it for any other school; it felt good being here!” As he prepares for his next steps, he leaves the future Bears with some advice: “Work hard, every day! Don’t take criticism the wrong way; coaches want to see you get better! Be a helpful person on the field; don’t be scared to help your teammates.” He knows he could not have done this without his teammates. He also knows that there were other major contributors to his success. Hernandez specifically wants to thank his parents (mom and dad), his brothers, and his coach–Miguel. “They’ve pushed me to my limits; they’ve pushed me to be the best that I can be every single day, and I just can’t thank them enough!”
Frances Potts (junior) and Halle Sii (freshman) play together on the Girls Varsity Basketball Team. Their chemistry on the court is electric, but their chemistry off the court is equally dynamic. They feed off of each other’s energy and enthusiasm. Potts has been seriously committed to basketball for the past five years. She was an integral member of the 2018 CIF Championship team, and she earned 1st Team All-CIF honors. She has a storied tradition of winning, as she fondly recalls winning rec ball championships under her father’s direction. Sii has been playing for 11 years and flourishing with her travel team, most recently playing at the travel ball Junior NBA World Championship. Both girls relish the opportunities to put up big numbers and assist their teammates in dominating the game as well. Potts and Sii are both averaging high numbers, with high-point totals of 22 and 27, respectively. When you’re playing at such a high level, the details matter. Potts fondly remembers knocking down a step-back three against Gahr, and Sii proudly reminisces about nailing a buzzer-beater against Orange Lutheran. The girls take immense pride in these details because they know that each moment contributes to the total success of the program. Potts has amassed three years’ worth of incredible memories with Bears’ Basketball. She speaks proudly of winning the 2018 CIF Championship. That being said, she cares about the relationships as much as she does the titles. Her memories are based on meeting new people and better players; she has loved getting to know sincerely nice people who genuinely care about her. Returning to Warren this year helped her remember how much pride she takes in representing the Bears with her teammates. Sii has not had as much time to build those memories, but she also appreciates the bonds that have formed. She recalls team bonding opportunities, such as the Big Bear trip and the Arizona tournament. “Every day is an adventure with my teammates.” That adventure has definitely included its fair share of obstacles as well. Potts has had to deal with injuries. When she is not dealing with personal setbacks, she has to adjust to the new personalities each year. Sii similarly has to adapt to the personnel on the court. As a freshmen, she recognizes that it is imperative that she build trust with her coaches and teammates. Both girls admit that it is difficult finding a balance among all of the different players and personalities, but this year’s team is extremely tight-knit off the court and dynamic on the court. Their season is not over yet, but they are already aware that they will soon have to say goodbye to their favorite seniors. They know that they are going to miss being so close with their teammates because everyone cares about one another so much. They’ve grown so close and they’ve matured as a team. The dynamic will simply never be the same. Before they can face the prospect of the season’s conclusion, they must first achieve some of the goals that remain outstanding. Potts and Sii both want to win a CIF Championship (#2 for Potts). They both want to win league and earn a playoff berth every season. They also want to ensure that everyone stays healthy, trains hard, lifts with intensity, and continues to better themselves every season. They understand the value of basketball that goes well beyond the court. For both girls, basketball has enhanced their relationships. They’ve met new people and established friendships that otherwise would not be afforded to them. As they think of their younger teammates who will be looking up to them as role models, they also offer some sound words of wisdom. Potts help strengthen others through adversity as she affirms, “Never give up in tough situations. Always see the light in the dark tunnel.” Sii celebrates the joy of sport as she attests, “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; play–don’t worry about trying to make everyone happy, you play for your team…just ball!” The girls know that their success is their team’s success. They give a special shout-out to their teammates and their coaching staff. They also have to extend the gratitude to the boys’ team and send a little love to Coach Z!
Again, congratulations to our Athletes of the Week–Juan Hernandez, Frances Potts, and Halle Sii.