Twice-Told Tale

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Twice-Told Tale

Twice-Told Tale

Lake Highland Goes Global

Camila De Pool Maisonet
(Above) Camila De Pool Maisonet, grade 12, celebrates winning the last tournament of the season with team Puerto Rico. Camila hopes to continue her career with this team.

As high school sports get more competitive, coaches are always looking to improve their team. Recently, coaches have begun to recruit international talent more frequently, bringing new aspects and advantages to their teams. However, while many students begin their passion for their sport on campus, others come to Lake Highland to cultivate it. Recently Lake Highland has gained multiple international student-athletes like Ethan Riveria, grade 12, Camila De Pool Maisonet, grade 12, and Robert Oskarsson, grade 10. But how is it different playing internationally compared to a high school team and how have these athletes adjusted to different atmospheres?

One of Lake Highland’s best programs is wrestling as it is constantly being ranked in the top ten teams nationally. One of the best wrestlers to come through the program is Ethan Rivera. Ethan first started wrestling when his, “Dad was looking for a sport to put me in that would allow me to exert all my energy, but still [have] fun at the same time. Wrestling was a perfect fit. I started wrestling at the age of six, and ever since then, I have been hooked.” Ever since Rivera started wrestling he has had multiple teams who wanted him to wrestle for them but, “Could have represented team Italy as well. But I felt team Puerto Rico would be the best fit. I love the culture and have many friends and family living there. The coaches are giving and are willing to help me with whatever I need such as coaching me, translating, giving me directions, really anything.” 

Over the summer, Rivera signed with the University of Princeton to continue his wrestling and academic career, using not only his LHP wrestling experience but also, “…It will help with college wrestling. It will allow me to get a feel of what wrestling older people is like and forces me to adapt to a different style of wrestling,” Rivera explained. Rivera has loved his time wrestling with Team Puerto Rico and said, “Overall wrestling for Team Puerto Rico is one of the best experiences I have had, and I can’t wait to continue representing my home team in the future.” 

A returning star for the women’s basketball team is Camila De Pool Maisonet. Camila plays for team Puerto Rico’s u20 team, although she had the choice to play for other countries. (Start here) She thought, “I had the choice of playing for the Dominican Republic team. However, I decided to play for the Puerto Rican national team because, even as a little child, I had always wanted to be a member of a team this incredible, and I knew it would be a life-changing experience. Representing my island was going to be such a proud moment for me. That’s where I live. It’s just a different type of feeling, and I thank the Lord for letting me experience it.” However, Camila was not the first in her family to be interested in basketball, but is thankful for how she got into it. “My big sister inspired me to pick up basketball. She motivated me to play basketball because I could see how much joy and passion she had while playing, and I will always be grateful that God has given me the opportunity to do so,” Camila noted. 

Camila has been a star player ever since, and has constantly brought home trophies for her country and Lake Highland. However, it was difficult for her to adapt to the different styles of play. She explained, “Basketball is so much different than international basketball because the pace of the international game is way different, and it’s harder to adapt to because you’re playing against other countries. They all learn how to play basketball in different ways, which is so beautiful because everyone gets to show off the way they learned how to play. It’s challenging but an amazing experience to go out there and represent where you are from. High school ball is also an amazing experience.” While Camila had to get used to the different styles of play, she is thankful for her international experience. “My international experience has helped me play at Lake Highland because I learned different ways how to play basketball, and I can bring something to the game, in that can help my team and me succeed. Playing international basketball has helped me see the game in such other different ways, and that’s a blessing,” she added.

A rising star for Lake Highland’s basketball team is the u16 Icelandic star, Robert Oskarsson. He plays for team Iceland and he explained that he, “Chose them because that is my heritage and where my whole family is from.” Basketball is very different in each country with different styles of play. However, Oskarsson had to make a different adjustment than what he was expecting as, “High school basketball is different because I play with kids my age over there. Whereas over here you play against kids from all ages.” Aside from the age difference, Oskarsson believes that, “Basketball players here are definitely faster and more athletic than overseas, but players overseas definitely are more physical and read the game better.” 

Along with balancing the new team, Robert had to find a way to manage his new academics. Robert explained that he tries to, “Balance school and practice every day by being organized and hard-working,” as well as, “Only play[ing] with my country during the summer so I don’t have to worry about balancing school alongside that.” In addition to balancing school work and practice, consistently improving in both areas is important to Oskarsson. Recently, he moved up from the u15 team to the u16, increasing the competition. This is a testament to Oskarsson’s constant growth.  

Oskarsson brings this competitiveness to LHP’s team saying that his international experience, “Has helped me improve my game and see and play the game differently in a positive way” particularly through, “Game awareness and shooting.” However, the basketball team has largely supported him too, especially when it came to adjusting to the new community.  Oskarsson elaborated, “The basketball team has been amazing. All of my teammates and coaches have welcomed me with open arms, believed in me, and encouraged me to be better every day, and I am very grateful for all of them.”

Lake Highland has done an incredible job cultivating students’ individual talents and improving their weaknesses in both academics and athletics, reaching past Central Florida and all across the globe. Lake Highland continues to strive for excellence, pushing through boundaries to get to the top of every ranking. With the help of these international student-athletes, Lake Highland’s athletic future becomes more promising, making the Lake Highland community stronger. The constant support from alumni, students, and staff will help these incredible athletes grow more and perform better with not only their international teams but throughout the rest of their athletic careers. 

(Above) Ethan Rivera, grade 12, represents his country. (Ethan Rivera)
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About the Contributor
Hayden Roberts
Hayden Roberts, Co-Editor
Hayden Roberts is a sports writer for Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale. Hayden has been writing for the newspaper since January 2023. Roberts loves to cover and write about all different sports and hopes one day to study sports journalism. When not writing, Roberts enjoys playing volleyball.

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