Peninsula High School
It would have been very easy for Daniela Rodriguez to give up on soccer. She’s been committed to the sport since a young age, having played for Harbor Premier since she was just 12 years old. Early in her freshman season at Peninsula High School, she was injured, which lead to knee surgery. She decided not to give up, rehabbed after surgery and made it back for her sophomore season. All was looking well until her junior year when another injury forced a second knee surgery. Still, Daniela refused to quit, and despite the pain and frustration of rehab, she found herself back with her teammates to finish out her senior season.
“Coming back from these surgeries has taught me to fight for what I want and never give up on something I am passionate about,” she said.
Even more remarkable was Daniela’s selection to First Team All-League—a huge accomplishment for someone coming back from two major surgeries. While self motivated, she also took some advice from her coaches and teammates during the tough times.
“One life lesson I have learned from my coaches and teammates is to fight for what I want and strive to be the best, day in and day out!” she said. Daniela acknowledges both her teammates and coaches have made a tremendous impact on who she is as a player and a person, and truly enjoyed the completion that soccer brought her.
Daniela doesn’t only thrive on the field but in the classroom as well. She’s maintained her honor roll status throughout her time at Peninsula. She participates in several clubs including National Honor Society, Interact, and Environmental Club.
After graduation, Daniela intends on taking her focus away from the soccer field and toward earning a college degree. She is currently looking at four-year colleges with an interest in pre-med. “I’m very interested in radiology. Ever since I was little, I was injury prone, and this sparked an interest in X-rays and MRIs,” she said.
Daniela knows better than most that life doesn’t come easy, and having the right attitude and commitment to your goal will lead to great accomplishments in life.
Gig Harbor High School
For senior Tate McReynolds, competitive sports were a part of her life well before she ever stepped onto a playing field or court. From a very young age, Tate recalls family road trips from Gig Harbor to Eugene to go and watch the Oregon Ducks play. By first grade she was playing tee ball, basketball and soccer. Her family was also a big influence on building her competitive spirit. “I have a twin brother, and an older brother, who both made sure I could throw spirals and run routes by the age of 8. My dad coached my basketball team up until eighth grade, and I learned to love the game because of him,” she said.
Tate made the varsity team in both softball and basketball her freshman year and hasn’t looked back since, winning league, district and state titles in basketball and twice placing in the top 8 in softball. Like all competitive athletes, she’s faced adversity and the ups and downs of each season, but she also had to overcome the loss of a close friend, Cooper, who lost his battle with cancer at just 14 years old.
“I struggled a lot after Cooper passed away and turned to the one thing where I could escape from everything: basketball. I vowed to play every game and push myself every practice for Cooper. My junior year, I worked harder than I ever had and earned a starting spot, also being a solid facilitator in games,” said Tate.
Dealing with the grief of losing someone she considered a third brother is something Tate admits she still deals with today. “I wouldn’t necessarily say I overcame my challenge, but I’ve taken it and used it the best way possible—instead of playing for myself, I’m playing for Cooper,” she said.
With graduation fast approaching, Tate has her eyes set on her final season of softball before turning her attention to college and beyond. She’s challenged herself by taking Advanced Placement and Honors classes while also spending three years learning sign language. Her preference is to attend the University of Utah and study film. “My dream is to have a career where I can share how I see the world, with the help of a camera. I love the outdoors, so being a freelance photographer or videographer for outdoor companies would be the job of a lifetime,” she said.
Through athletics Tate has learned there’s always going to be highs and lows, things that work out and things that don’t, wins and losses—it’s just part of life. “I’ve learned how to celebrate the little things while keeping my eyes fixed on the bigger picture, and no matter what the scoreboard says, to always keep fighting,” she said.