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Faith Hawkins, Willowridge
WILLOWRIDGE GOT OFF TO A STRONG START TO THIS SEASON WITH FIVE WINS WITHIN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS, A NOTABLE FEAT FOR A PROGRAM THAT TOTALED 13 WINS IN THE PREVIOUS THREE SEASONS.
A big reason for the Eagles' upstart play was junior Faith Hawkins, a middle who has helped solidify Willowridge's defense.
Though undersized at 5-foot-6, Hawkins is quickly adapting to the varsity game, and thriving.
"I know I have to play and move faster," Hawkins said of the transition to varsity volleyball from JV last year. "It's tough. It's not smooth. JV was a pretty slow game, and on varsity the game moves fast. You have to play as a team more if you want to win."
Blocking is a strength of Hawkins'. During the offseason, she trained with club coaches and played in spring and summer leagues.
That's a lot of volleyball, but it paid off.
"My swing is better. I've learned different types of sets," said Hawkins, who was more of an all-around player on JV. "This is a new position for me this year. I keep learning more and more."
Hawkins spoke more with VYPE.
VYPE: When did you start playing volleyball and what was it about the game you fell in love with?'
HAWKINS: I started in seventh grade. When I got to middle school, I didn't even know volleyball was a sport. After I played it, though, I just loved it.
VYPE: The middle is a position you have to be strong offensive and defensively. Which comes easier to you?
HAWKINS: Defense. I cover pretty well, and I block well. My coach has really helped me get my vertical up, so I'm working on my jumping.
VYPE: What motivates or inspires you?
HAWKINS: My family. I'm actually the first person to play volleyball in my family. They support me a lot and keep me going.
VYPE: What is something people don't know about you?
HAWKINS: I think people see all of me. In order to play volleyball, you have to have fun, or it's not going to be right. Celebrating points with teammates ... it's fun to win. Nobody likes losing.
VYPE: What are your expectations for yourself and your team this season?
HAWKINS: As a team, I want to make it to the playoffs. It has been a while. For myself, I just want to continue getting better. There's always room for improvement.
This story appeared in the Inaugural VYPE Fort Bend ISD Fall Edition, which is now available to pick up at your local Fort Bend ISD High Schools.
Javin Chatman, Willowridge
WILLOWRIDGE SENIOR RUNNING BACK JAVIN CHATMAN'S FOOTBALL CAREER WAS REVIVED UNDER FIRST-YEAR COACH RAMON CHINYOUNG LAST SEASON.
Prior to Chinyoung's arrival, Chatman hardly played. As a result, he got down on himself. His passion for the game waned.
But once Chinyoung got on board, Chatman was awarded a shot at redemption.
"Our student-athletes need to be motivated and encouraged," Chinyoung said. "They need to be loved. That trickles over to Chat. He wasn't as receptive to the love through our words, but more our actions. And that carried over to the football field.
"From his work ethic and his visibility and commitment, we found a way to get him on the field."
Chatman hasn't looked back since.
"Coach made me feel like I was good," Chatman said. "Coach puts me out there last year in our first practice, best on best, and I just went crazy. That's when it clicked.
"Coach taught me how to be a leader. He taught me how to believe."
Chatman rewarded his coach's faith, rushing for 423 yards and three touchdowns as the No. 2 back for the 7-3 Eagles. This season, Chatman has compiled 410 rushing yards and four touchdowns through five games, averaging 6.21 yards per carry.
"The awesome thing about him is his cool, calm and collected composure," Chinyoung said. "There's no moment too high or too low for him. He attacks every play the same way. Because of that, it allows him to stay focused and stay engaged and not be flustered when we go through some type of adversity."
Chatman put in a lot of time and work in the weight room and on the field ruing the summer to prepare for a bigger role. He got faster. He know runs a 4.6 4-yard dash, shaving two-tenths of a second off his time.
"Everything I do, my team is going to do," Chatman Said. "So, I make sure everything I do is the right way. I know they'll follow me. My coaches inspire me. Now I want to go to Southern (University). Both my head coach and OC (Javid Milton) went to Southern, and because of them that's what I want. I look up to them."