The Circle Voice

Athlete of the Issue: Alyna Baharozian

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Photo: Russ Carney

Photo: Russ Carney

Photo: Russ Carney

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The day was February 27, 2016: St. Mark’s Day, one of the most important days for a Groton athlete. All Groton students who play sports pit themselves against St. Mark’s students in a battle that comes down to pure athletic prowess. The team was girls varsity basketball, and things weren’t looking good. The team was down 45-46 with only a few seconds left on the clock. Time was running out, and hope for a victory seemed lost. That was, until Alyna Baharozian ’18 got her hands on the ball. Sinking a buzzer-beater to win the game, Alyna propelled the entire team to a victory. Alyna has been an integral member of the Groton’s girls basketball program for all five of her years at the school, and the team functions better with her at its helm.

 

Alyna’s basketball career started around first grade, when she was only six or seven. All of the basketball programs in her hometown – Westford, MA – didn’t start until third grade, but she was dying to get into the sport. “Athletics have always been big in my family,” she says. So, she had her mom sign her up for a church league called Upward. After that, she continued with basketball, improving on her skills well through arriving to Groton. She has played basketball for her entire Groton career, even making varsity in her second form year, and now captains the team and is a crucial part of the team’s successes. Alyna currently plays as a point guard and shooting guard for the school, averaging 14 points per game. Her other statistics are equally impeccable: over her career, she has made 74 percent of her free throws and 31 percent of her field goals.

 

Alyna’s dedication to the sport is thorough. When asked why she loves the sport, her answer is simple: that she loves being on a team. She also attributes her success to working with, rather than against, the team, saying that she is “willing to share the ball and get everyone involved.” She firmly believes that the team’s wins come from cohesion on everyone’s part, and doesn’t take sole responsibility for any success. Thus, it makes sense that her favorite parts of basketball are the “physicality and teamwork.” Besides this, she believes that the high level of competition involved in basketball makes it enjoyable.

 

As well as being a solid team player, Alyna also co-captains the team with Mary Sabatelle ’18 and Lyndsey Toce ’19. Alyna, Mary, and Lyndsey all do their best to bring the team together. They transitioned rather easily into leadership –  given that only one senior graduated last year, they had previously taken some responsibility for leading the team.

 

This year, though, almost half of the girls varsity basketball team is comprised of second and third formers, making leadership critical to inspire new talent. Alyna is a big fan of the younger kids on the team, saying, “The younger kids are awesome. They all work super hard to pressure the older kids in practice and it certainly helps the team. All of the lower schoolers are super fun to hang out with and be around.”

 

Alyna’s teammates and managers have beaming reviews of her skills both on and off the court. Mary Collins ’20 says that “Alyna has great team spirit and [has] been able to help us pull through in some of our toughest games. She is an amazing captain, player, and teammate.” Sunhoo Park ’18, co-manager of the team, thinks that Alyna has been leading the team ever since fourth form. “She constantly gives her all and leads her team through the ups and downs on both ends of the court.”

 

Coaches Stacey Spring and Kate Dennison also praise Alyna’s work ethic and talent. Mrs. Spring said that Alyna “is our most consistent scorer who can shoot the three or drive to the hoop.” Mrs. Dennison added that “her basketball IQ is very high, adding to her diligence and talent on the court.”

 

Alyna plans to continue with her athletic endeavors. Next year, she will join Middlebury College’s Class of 2022 and play basketball for the Panthers. In the nearer future, though, Groton’s girls basketball team will most likely be focusing on making the NEPSAC Class B playoffs, as they did last year. They also hope to improve before their next big match up against St. Mark’s, hoping to beat them for the third time in a row.

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