The Rising Star
The Rising Star
Hannah Barczak

The Rising Star

Glimpse into the life of Hailey Caya

In the competitive world of high school basketball, only a few individuals stand out to the crowd; those who have dedication, commitment and a remarkable internal drive. One of the star players on the Antioch Community High Schools girls varsity basketball team, senior Hailey Caya, is a remarkable athlete. From her many achievements, such as becoming captain of the basketball and tennis team, to receiving all academic awards, as well as the coaches award, she is the face of sequoit basketball. Caya has proven multiple times that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Caya spent the majority of her younger years with her older brother, who showed her the ropes to the basketball world. Since fifth grade Caya has been at the courts practicing everything basketball. Coming from a very small elementary and middle school, it was very easy for her to try every sport she wanted. Caya competed in a multitude of sports for her middle school, while also playing year-round travel softball, and seasonal club basketball. Throughout her high school years, she has stuck with her three main sports: tennis, basketball and softball. Caya has found a safe and comfortable environment that her sports provide, making it an easy decision to continue playing. In fifth grade, Caya joined the Antioch feeder basketball program, and through that she created friendships that are still strong today. 

Caya’s athletic mindset differs from others because her team’s interest is her biggest concern. She is not a selfish player and always does what she thinks is best for the team as a whole. Being captain, Caya has the ability to take control of her team and help them in any way needed. While she is a team player, Caya knows when it’s time to step up into her leadership role and take action. She has an astounding internal drive to win, not only for her, but for her team. 

“[My biggest motivators are] my coaches and my teammates, I just want to be good for them,” Caya said. “I want to do my best and try my hardest to not disappoint them. I want to always be on their good side and impress them.”

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One of the things that stands out most about Caya is her athletic determination and leadership skills. She not only leads with her words, but by example through her actions as well. She does not ask people to do things she wouldn’t do herself. If she wants her team to start playing stronger defense, she will be the first one down the court to stop a drive. Caya received the nickname ‘unicorn’ because of all the occasions when she would sink a miracle three pointer shot when needed.

Caya received a captain role this year, along with seniors Hannah Schaufele and Nicole Kutcher. The team votes on who they think should be captain, and with the opinion of the girls, the coaches make the final say. People recognize that these players are natural born leaders who have a drive that is unteachable. Being a captain is a huge accomplishment that no one should take for granted. When the circumstances of a practice or game get tough, teammates will look to these leaders to guide them through difficult times. While these ladies take charge on the court, winning is not the only thing on their mind. While being a three sport athlete, Caya has big dreams for her future as well, as she is aspiring to be an environmental engineer. While balancing several AP and honors classes and multiple sports, Caya found a good rhythm. 

“I have the greatest respect for [Hailey’s] dedication to all of her commitments,” Kutcher said. “She truly is a well-rounded athlete, as well as a dedicated student, and her ability to balance her priorities is something that not many people are capable of.” 

Another different aspect Caya holds is her strong relationship with the head basketball coach, Jamie D’Andrea. D’Andrea has known Caya for her whole high school career, coaching her in basketball as well as tennis. If anyone knows about Caya as an athlete, it’s her. Coaching Caya in two sports has allowed for D’Andrea to get to know her as an athlete as well as a person. With this being said, D’Andrea has been coaching the basketball team for 23 years, and has seen many athletes walk on and off the court; she knows what it takes to be a captain and acknowledges that Caya has it. She agrees that Caya is a very impactful player, and always does what is required of her, no matter what sport. 

“[Caya’s] competitive nature doesn’t change from sport to sport, and her desire to be the best she can be doesn’t change either, I think she’s confident and successful at both,” D’Andrea said. 

For Caya, basketball is not just about winning. It is about the amazing community she is  surrounded by after school, providing an escape from her homework and life. Caya is very thankful for all the amazing memories basketball has given her, and would not trade them for anything. Though Caya is not certain what the future holds yet, she is taking advantage of every opportunity life offers her. She knows she does not want to be recruited for basketball, however she plans to join a basketball club at the university she ends up attending. Caya is a very passionate and committed person, so no matter what she decides to pursue, it is certain that she will succeed.

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About the Contributors
Vera Fogel, Sports Writing Editor
Vera Fogel is a senior and is in her third year of staff. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, playing sports, and going shopping.
Hannah Barczak, Visual Director
Hannah Barczak is a senior this is her fourth year on staff as well as her second year as the Visual Director on the Executive Board of the Tom Tom.  Along with her interest in media, this will be her fourth year as an ACHS cheerleader. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, taking pictures, and traveling during her free time. Barczak is excited to make the most of her senior year.

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