As fall sports in the 2022-23 school year come to a close, Naples High School students voted for the Athlete of the Fall Season.
The coaches for each fall sport first nominated an athlete who they felt had the most qualifying qualities of leadership, outstanding performance in their respected sport and team contribution.
Junior Hector Toro, a runner for the NHS cross country team, won the nomination for the boy’s division. Toro is a devoted athlete who is frequently on the top of the leaderboard at the meets.
“I believe what helped me become a good athlete is having the discipline and not giving up when things get tough,” Toro said.
Toro is not only a dedicated athlete during school hours, but he also shares some athletic and exercise-centered hobbies outside of school. He loves staying active and keeping himself healthy and happy.
“Pickleball, biking, surfing, going to the beach, hanging out with friends and just really staying active are hobbies of mine,” Toro said.
This season was important to Hector, as last season wasn’t ideal for him. His performance and health last year were a disappointment to him, so this year he wanted to focus on getting back to a spot where he is comfortable.
“The greatest challenge I faced was my sophomore season when I didn’t take care of my body,” Toro said. “[I was] going to bed late, not having the right nutrition and hanging out with the wrong crowd.”
Cross country has taken Toro to heights he has only dreamed of. He was able to run at the state level and excel amongst the best runners in the state.
“My biggest accomplishment was placing at states and being on the podium with the other top runners in cross country,” Toro said. “I hope to get top ten in the future for cross country, and I just really want to win a race.”
Many successful athletes accredit their successes to their coaches and teammates. The same goes for Toro. His coaches have helped him get where he is now and will help him get to where he wants to be.
“My coach has given me the advice to take care of my body and to not focus on the negativity when I have a bad race,” Toro said.
Sophomore Tara Watkins, a runner for the cross country team, won the nomination for the girl’s division because of her efforts and contributions to the team.
“My greatest accomplishment was last year during the track and field states,” Watkins said. “Our 4×400 team set the school record, while I placed 8th in the 4×800 with a personal best.”
When not playing sports, Watkins enjoys social activities, rather than artistic ones that some may enjoy.
“Outside of sports, I like to spend time with friends, I’m not very much into music or art,” Watkins said.
While Watkins is at the top of her team, she excels in her academics as well. There are many qualities that she has depended on to have reached these success in her career.
“I believe that I am hard working and show leadership in my sports,” Watkins said. “I am motivated with the desire to set goals and also be there for my teammates. Having confidence and showing self belief are also what make me a great athlete.”
Much like Toro’s coach, Watkins has also received the same lessons and advice from mentors throughout her years as a student athlete.
“My coach always says ‘one brick at a time’, which is similar to ‘one day at a time’,” Watkins said. “This stays in my head because as long as you practice every day, it will come together in the end.”