After serving as captain of the MSJ Boys Tennis Team for two years and committing to playing D1 tennis at Yale, Homecoming Knight candidate Krish Gupta hopes to continue representing the MSJ community. Throughout his years at MSJ, including his 11 years playing tennis, he has volunteered and helped coach the girls’ tennis team, achieved a spot as a Top 30 recruit in the country, and won the Northern California Sectionals twice. Aside from his athletic career, he spends his time with interests such as astronomy, playing the piano, and spending time with his older brother. As Knight, Gupta wants to encourage the student body to pursue their athletic aspirations courageously.
“Even if you haven’t played the sport much, go try out for the team. If you make the team, I’ll say, at least for boys tennis, that of my best friends in the school, most of them are from the tennis team. It is awesome. You guys have a lot of friends there, and it is just a fun experience to be on a team,” Gupta said.
As a committed athlete participating in three sports and co-officer for six clubs during her time at MSJ, Homecoming Knight candidate Sophie Menon is familiar with working with the student body. In school, she is currently involved in MSJ Young Mentors and MSJ Biotechnology club, captain of the cross-country team, and a member of track and field dedicated to helping her peers. Outside of school, she is a gymnast on the regional team who won first nationals in her age category and an advocate for reintroducing MSJ’s athletics department to gymnastics. As Knight, Menon hopes to leave behind her impact of meeting and supporting many students in school who have an interest in sports.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to try new things and experiment even if they know they’re not good at something or they don’t know how good they will be at something because of the characters and the values. You’re bound to improve and you’re bound to gain a lot from the experience either way, so everybody should get in and try,” Menon said.
Homecoming Knight candidate Walter Chang aspires to continue spreading joy as an advocate for the sports he plays. During his time at MSJ, he has been a member of both cross-country and track as well as an exemplary peer to his fellow classmates by assisting them with anything they need, whether athletics or homework-related. As a junior, Chang won the coveted title of athlete of the season last year. Now that he is a senior, he is an active supporter of bringing multiple energetic sports to the school, some of which include, teqball, World Chase Tag, and football, as well as encouraging students to help others and to join cross country.
“Run cross country. There are no tryouts; for everything else, you need to try out, and it’s difficult. You’ll still get faster and that’s good for any sport because everybody needs cardio,” Chang said.
As a devoted volleyball player and a member of a variety of different clubs throughout his years at MSJ, Homecoming Knight candidate Naren Jegan hopes to continue helping and representing the students at school. In the course of his time, he’s acted as JV captain for the MSJ Boys Volleyball Team, is a current member of the varsity team, and has trained with national-level players in India alongside an overseas coach. His other passions include serving as president of MSJ Acoustics, where he strives to help students receive a five on their AP Music Theory and AP Physics 1 exams. As Knight, Jegan hopes to support people in overcoming their fears just as he did during his own high school career.
“It doesn’t hurt to try things out. You might find something that you really like and you might stick with it for a really long time. As long as you show interest, only the best things happen for you,” Jegan said.
With a black belt third degree and 10 years of experience in Kung Fu, Homecoming Knight Candidate Elyse Nguyen is a big fan of raccoons for their ninja-like appearance, resourceful nature, and resilience in the wild. Similarly, Nguyen gives her all no matter the circumstances, as channeled through her commitments and motivations. One of her proudest moments was being seen as a role model in her studio after winning a Kung Fu competition with a grand prize of $600 and a huge trophy while injured. “Since I was the highest belt in my studio, which is black belt third degree, I really wanted to win because I was seen as a role model for the other kids … but I was injured because it was during track season as well,” Nguyen said. Nguyen is the track captain for girls hurdles, multicultural leader for Kung Fu, and has been the fight scene airband leader in Homecoming for the past four years. Having experience in soccer, volleyball, taekwondo, kung fu, and track, Nguyen is fueled with school spirit and a love for trying new things. If given the chance, she would like to add boxing as a new sport at MSJ due to the potential resourcefulness of many self-defense skills that students can learn.
“I think [playing sports] is a really good experience – you meet tons of people and it’s like a really nice community in the school. Like, for example, I really didn’t like running but I joined track anyway, and I found events that I learned to love … You also just learn a bunch about yourself by pushing your limits and just getting out of your comfort zone,” Nguyen said.
By Staff Writers Hannah Bi, Tanvi Deshmukh, Jeffrey Li, Brittany Lu & Trisha Parikh