Valor Athletic Stories

Playing for Valor means a lot to me because I can play the game I love and represent God while doing it. When I put on our jersey, it means more than just the word “Valor,” and even more than the school I am playing for.

Playing for Valor means a lot to me because I can play the game I love and represent God while doing it. When I put on our jersey, it means more than just the word “Valor,” and even more than the school I am playing for.

As I went through middle school, basketball became a huge part of my decision on where to go to high school. I could either go to Ralston Valley and play high school ball with all of my club teammates, Faith Christian and play with all of my middle school teammates, or Valor Christian, and start brand new, not knowing anyone. God called me to come to Valor and it is the best decision I have ever made.

I can’t say that I completely chose swimming, I believe God chose it for me. I have been told that since birth I have always been a happy, full of life and energy type of girl. I tried many different sports and activities such as soccer, dance, and gymnastics, just to name a few. However, I wasn’t particularly in love with any of them.

About halfway through my senior season I realized that I was called to be part of a bigger picture, and how I live my life reflects who I am. I greatly desire for anyone who comes in contact with me to see Christ in me, and so I decided that I want to play tennis, and live my life on and off the court for Christ to greater glorify Him through my life.

Some of you might be reading this thinking, cheer isn’t even a sport.  Don’t be fooled by the constant smiles you see on our faces, that’s just part of the job.  Behind the perfect ponytail and short skirt is an athlete who works very hard to be the best at what she does.  I bet most of you can throw a football, make a free throw shot or hit a baseball.  Question, how many of you can do a standing back flip? And that right there, is why I cheer.

Hey me, it’s Me. I’m writing you to tell you there’s a lot that I’ve learned these past 30+ years that I sure wish I could pass onto you, because let’s face it, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes.

I grew up in a small town near the border of Kansas, where athletic opportunities were insufficient. Besides softball, team sports were not an option, so I took up gymnastics and swimming instead. Swimming, however, was only summer league due to the lack of indoor facilities, and for gymnastics, me and a few others carpooled an hour away, to Colby, Kansas, multiple times a week because there were no closer options. Even though I grew up not being able to play sports like volleyball and basketball, there was always a drive to compete, since my family is very sports-oriented and both my parents were multiple sports athletes.

The brotherhood that we have built over the last four years is irreplaceable. Walking out of the locker room and tunnel before every game gives me chills, because I know that my teammates have my back, and will give everything they can for me. The chance to be able to glorify God everytime I step foot on the field, and use the talents and abilities He has blessed me with, is an honor.

Meet Peyton and Preston Rose

The game of football has taught me a lot. I am glad that I will continue to play football throughout my college career. It has been a blessing to play with my twin brother. It’s amazing to know that every time I suit up, he is right next to me at tackle.

Meet Ryan & Bubba

Our first memories of the sport occurred before the age of five against Cody and his friends. We played touch football in the front yard and knee football in the basement. However, these little “games” were much more than a just friendly touch football experience, it was domination. Our brother, and his friends would show no mercy when playing us. They would beat us so badly, often ending in someone crying and/or blood being shed. This, at the time, didn’t feel beneficial to our football career, or our health in general. But it did teach us to be tough and physical at a young age.

Meet Noah Kuzma

A lot of people ask me, “What do you like better, baseball or football?” This question is much easier for me to answer now than it was when I was younger. The simple response for me is, “Whatever season I am playing in!” Before the age of 12, I played hockey, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and because of the competitive nature of my family, ping pong, tennis, golf, as well as skiing and snowboarding. I’ve been a multi-sport athlete for the majority of my life, and that has helped shaped who I am today. Now that I am older and have narrowed it down to only two sports; I have realized three things about myself. I love to compete, I love to win, and I absolutely hate to lose. Being beat individually or as a team motivates me to a level unlike any other. But above all, from all of my athletic experiences, I now understand that nothing is more important than my relationships with players, coaches, teachers, and family. I have learned a myriad of life lessons on and off the field through the opportunities that Valor has provided me.

Meet Blake Stenstrom

Throughout my life, the situations where I have always felt most comfortable have been when I have had a football in my hands. I love every single aspect of the game of football. I love watching the ball soar right over the heads of defenders and into the hands of my receivers. I love that each play is like a blank canvas, ready to be created and set into motion. I love the mental challenge of having to know exactly what the offense needs to do, but also having to react to the unpredictable defense.  Most of all, I love this game because it is one of my favorite forms of worship to my Creator.

Meet Alexis Chavez-Salinas

I’ve been playing football for as long as I can remember. I don’t know how it started, but I am sure it had something to do with the love my dad had for the game. Rather than teaching me how to play soccer, like any other Mexican dad would, my dad taught me how to play “American football.” That is when my love for the game began. I have been playing football for 15 years and I have gone through different phases in my life. In each phase, the reasons why I continued to play this amazing game were different and changed over the years as I got older, faced new challenges, and learned new things.

Meet Christian McCaffrey

I’m not the same player I was last year. I’m better. And now I’m ready to become more of a leader. I’m not expecting everything to be perfect. I know there will be a lot of challenges, but now I have a better understanding of how to handle them, whether it’s on the football field or in a nuclear energy class. So this year, if I see a freshman or a sophomore struggling, I’ll be the one to let them know that everything’s going to be fine.

Meet Mary Newland

I played tons of sports as a kid. Soccer, swimming, golf, tennis, ice skating, and basketball of course. I loved being on a team, being coached, and competing. I liked every sport I played, even if it just wasn’t my thing. Through trying all these sports, basketball is the only one that really captured me. Maybe it’s because my height was so valued, maybe it’s because my dad was the coach, maybe it’s because there weren’t 6 AM practices like swimming (yet) or because I didn’t have to be outside in the heat all day. Even though it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I continued to play, there have been steps along this journey that have kept me in love with the game and constantly reminded me why I play.

Meet Karsten Michael

Growing up, I tried out multiple sports to test out which one I was the best at and/or liked the most. I played football and tee-ball to name a few, but it didn’t end well. I hated football and didn’t understand the rules of tee-ball (I usually ran to third base instead of first). The first time I ever played basketball though, was when I was 5. I played in the Upward rec league in Dothan, Alabama. I really loved the sport but didn’t have a clue how to play. I would usually chase the ball and forget to defend my man just like any other young kid playing basketball. One time I got the rebound and scored for the other team! Even though I wasn’t the greatest, I still loved to play with my friends and my family. These were some of the main reasons why I played basketball.

Meet Madison Hoehn

From the time I was an infant I was in swim lessons at the rec center next door with my Dad. What’s funny is that I was practically thrown into the water by my parents simply because they wanted me to be able to survive in a swimming pool or a lake. No one thought that I would continue competing in this sport as a young adult or that I would be going to college for competitive swimming next year, least of all me. When I was six or seven, I was actually invested in figure skating. However, the sport was cold for me in many ways, and not just because I was a little girl who was literally freezing on the ice all the time. I came to realize that practicing and competing in a sport all by myself was lonely and I simply wasn’t motivated. I was actually swimming summer club at the same time, but I thought that I was going to be a figure skater for sure. However, my family moved to Calgary, Canada when I was 9 years old and at that time I had to make a choice: figure skating or swimming. I couldn’t tell you what made me choose swimming, except that I knew that it was an exciting, thrilling environment and I wanted to pursue it.