The academics of five Valley College Women’s Basketball players send them to the Academic All-State Team.
By Benjamin Royer, Staff Writer
The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the plans of student athletes across the country since last spring. However, five Valley College students have proven themselves in both academics and sports.
Sophia Hughes, Nhi Nguyen, Kathleen Phan, Yunuhen Plata and Taylor Vuong were all named to the 2020-2021 Academic All-State Team by the California Community College Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
To qualify for this achievement, student athletes must have competed for a year at their college, earn at least 24 credits and maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in their courses.
The Valley Star reported back in December that there was a postponement of spring sports at Valley, including the basketball season. It is unknown when the season will begin, but the drive to get better on and off the court is still there.
“Our coach, Coach [Monica] Hang, she really thrived on having the student-athlete life, so not only does she want us to succeed on the court, but she also wants us to succeed in school,” Phan said. “She really helped us and helped us help each other, so that we could succeed everywhere.”
Last season, facilities were available to the players on campus. After practice, school was always next to do.
Vuong chimed in, “After practices and having a long day with film and the weight room, I was physically tired … I would say that it is great to have supportive teammates around. We all push each other to do well.”
The four discussed how if they need help with a course, they would go to their teammate for guidance. Motivation and drive are large factors for academics as well.
“I think seeing how everyone is on their stuff motivated me to be on mine too,” Nguyen said. “Whether it was in basketball or in school. When you see people run harder or play defense harder, it makes you want to, too. You don’t want to disappoint your team.”
“I am a first-generation college student, so none of my older brothers or older cousins ever went to college,” Plata said. “I was like, I need to be the first one. I need to make sure that my younger brother sees me going to college so he’s like, wow I want to be like my sister.”
The team continues to have Zoom workouts and work on their craft without a guaranteed season ahead.
“Hopefully by the summer we can practice again, and by fall 2021, everything will be back to normal,” Phan said.
Corrections: The Valley Star editorial team clarified that the women's basketball team practiced, lifted weights and watched film at the college before campus was shut down. Since then, they've been practicing remotely.
The Valley Star editorial team corrected a photo caption due to an error made earlier today. The caption read, "Four of the five Valley College Women's basketball players in the Women's Basketball Academic All-State Team scholarship pictured left to right: Nihi Nguyen, Kathleen Phan, Taylor Vuong and Yunuhen Plata."
The Valley Star editorial team corrected the photo captions featuring Valley College Women's basketball players Kathleen Phan and Yunuhen Plata, respectively, due to an error made. Updated captions have been put in place.