Senior Athlete Spotlight: Spring sports leaders discuss respective sports, expectations for season

Bridget Howard, Staff Writer

TRACK: Jeff Jacobs
Q: How long have you been doing track, and how did you get started?
A: “I have been doing it since seventh grade. I started because I enjoyed running and wanted to try it.”
Q: What are your hopes for this season as a team and as an individual?
A: “As a team, I think we can do something really special this year. We can hopefully place pretty highly at State. Personally, I hope to get my times lower, so I can have the opportunity to get more scholarships in college.”
Q: Are you doing track in college?
A: “I am running at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., next year.”
Q: What has been your favorite memory in track so far?
A: “My favorite memory was being able to spend so much time with the team and grow closer with them every day.”
Q: What is the bond like among your teammates?
A: “The bond between the team is amazing. We have really become a family because of all the time we spend together.”

BOYS GOLF: Josh Krestine
Q: How long have you been golfing, and how did you get started?
A: “I’ve been playing ever since I could pick up a club, but I didn’t start playing competitive or really working at it until seventh grade. My dad has taught me everything I know.”
Q: What are your hopes for this season as a team and as an individual?
A: “My hopes are just like any athlete — I want our team to make it to State this year and hopefully place. We have a lot of good talent, and, individually, I’d like to lead our team and just do everything I can to help us get past regionals.”
Q: Are you golfing in college?
A: “I’m attending Pittsburg State University, and I haven’t decided if I will try and walk on [for golf] or not.”
Q: What has been your favorite golf memory so far?
A: “That’s hard. Every day with these guys is awesome. We laugh, we mess around almost too much, but my favorite memory is just being with my team and beating our coach in the Rider Cup last year. My favorite memory is playing at Deer Creek with [Blue Valley graduates] Austin Johnson and Whit Buckler sophomore year when [senior] Zack Williams had to hit a shot on his knees and fell into the bunker.”
Q: What is the bond like among your teammates?
A: “Most of us have played together through JV and know how we react on the course. We can tell if we did good or bad — we don’t have to ask. We always see each other in the halls and talk during the offseason, but during the season, we are always with each other. We are all good friends and always have good stories.”

BASEBALL: Mitch Rogers 
Q: How long have you been playing baseball, and how did you get started?
A: “I have been playing baseball for as long as I can remember — on a team from kindergarten. I got started by just hitting a ball in my backyard with a plastic bat and ball.”
Q: What are your hopes for this season as a team and as an individual?
A: “For the team, my hopes are to win a State championship, and as an individual, my goal is to be First Team All-State.”
Q: Are you playing baseball in college?
A: “I am playing baseball in college at Johnson County Community College next year and then hopefully moving on after a year or two to a Division-I school.”
Q: What has been your favorite memory in baseball so far?
A: “My favorite memory in BV baseball is going to the State tournament the last two years when we took second and third [place].”
Q: What is the bond like among your teammates?
A: “Our bond as a team is very close. We all love each other and want the best for each other and the team.”

GIRLS SWIMMING: Katya Vakshteyn
Q: How long have you been doing swim, and how did you get started?
A: “I started swimming for the Kansas City Blazers when I was 8 years old. I started swimming because my mom swam when she was my age for 15 years. I decided I wanted to try it, and when I did, I fell in love with the sport.”
Q: What are your hopes for this season as a team and as an individual?
A: “My hopes for the team this year are to have more girls qualify for State. Individually, I want to break some more school records. I’m going for the 200 freestyle record and 100 backstroke. I also think it would be cool to break my own records from last year.”
Q: Are you swimming in college?
A: “I am planning on swimming in college, but I haven’t decided where I want to go yet. I’ve got it narrowed down to South Dakota State and Eastern Illinois University.”
Q: What has been your favorite memory in swim so far?
A: “My favorite memory would have to be winning State my freshman and sophomore years. We had a really strong team both years, and we worked so hard all season. It was so rewarding to see it all pay off.”
Q: What is the bond like among your teammates?
A: “The bond between the girls on our team is pretty strong. We are like one big family, and we support each other all the time.”

SOFTBALL: Zoe Krump
Q: How long have you been playing softball, and how did you get started?
A: “I have been playing softball since kindergarten. At first, I started by playing recreational softball. Then, in fifth grade, I joined a competitive team and have played competitive softball ever since.”
Q: What are your hopes for this season as a team and as an individual?
A: “My hopes for the team this year are to go out and play as a unit and have a winning record. For myself, I want to be a team leader and show the younger girls how to play the game. I do also want to be a leader on the field and at the plate.”
Q: Are you playing softball in college?
A: “I do not plan on playing varsity softball in college, but I might play on a rec or club team.”
Q: What has been your favorite softball memory so far?
A: “My favorite memory of BV softball was my freshman year when we went to State. We were a great team that year, and, although we got second in State, we had a really great time and played really hard.”
Q: What is the bond like among your teammates?
A: “I think we have a good bond, especially with the seniors who have been on varsity a long time. I think because we like playing together and have a good time when we are out on the field, it transfers into our games. I am going to really miss playing with all the girls next year, but I am going to enjoy this last season.”

GIRLS SOCCER: Brooke Zimmerman
Q: How long have you been playing soccer, and how did you get started?
A: “I have been playing ever since I was a little girl. I got started when my parents signed me up to play for Blue Valley Recreation [Soccer] team.”
Q: What are your hopes for this season as a team and as an individual?
A: “My hopes are to improve as a player and as a team. I hope we play together and make it as far as we can.”
Q: Are you playing soccer in college?
A: “I am playing soccer at Missouri State University. I am excited to meet new people and have a new beginning in a new place. My process included recruiting visits and traveling to showcases.”
Q: What is the bond like among your teammates?
A: “The bond between the teammates is unreal. We are all best friends. We have our differences, but we fight through them and get along. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”