Gig Harbor High School
It’s not always easy to balance academics and athletics, especially when one is a multi-sport athlete. But for Gig Harbor High School senior Zachary Batanian, he seems to do it well. He has been on the GHHS football team for four years, three of which were varsity, and has been a varsity wrestler for all four years, qualifying for regionals the past two years and serving two years as captain.
“This year I received the Tide Pride Award for the senior class,” said Zachary, who also maintains a 3.529 cumulative GPA.
Zachary said he enjoys the simple physical nature of wrestling and the challenges it presents. “There is no one else to depend on out there.”
The most difficult challenge in all his sports has been to learn to push himself beyond what he thinks his body can do. “Wrestling has tested my limits physically and mentally,” said Zachary.
As an Eagle Scout, Zachary gained an interest in blacksmithing and welding, something he plans to pursue a degree in when he attends Peninsula Community College.
“I enjoy knife making and creative welding and would like to make that part of my career. I have also considered pursuing a career in underwater welding,” he said.
There are many things that Zachary has learned through wrestling, but he said one thing that stands out is to never make excuses.
“Wrestling teaches discipline like no other sport. In the one-on-one competition of a match, it is all you out there. …You either performed or you didn’t. Wrestling has taught me lessons that I will carry with me into whatever I do.”
Peninsula High School
Peninsula High School junior Belle Frazier is in her third year on varsity basketball and has played on an AAU team, NW Magic, since the fourth grade. She enjoys how fast paced and competitive the sport is and loves being part of a team. “They are a second family,” said Belle. “When you step on the court, you go to war together and you know they have your back.”
Belle, who has a 4.0 GPA, has also played soccer, softball and participated in track and field events. “I’m grateful for my God-given abilities and the people in in my life who help me succeed,” she said.
Although she has yet to decide on where she will attend college, Belle said she definitely would like to continue her basketball career at the collegiate level where she plans to pursue a career in orthodontics.
“It is almost like you are given a new problem with each person and asked to figure out the best way of solving it. It just seems like it would not get boring,” said Belle of her desired profession. “My orthodontist, Dr. Quinn, let me do a shadow day at his office.”
Belle said there are many life lessons that can be learned from playing sports and being part of a team. “One lesson I have learned is that hard work pays off. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can go far in both sports and life. …I also think learning to be coachable and be part of a team will help me in life if I work for or with other people.”