NDB students reflect on their most influential sports icons


The Catalyst / Sofia Panagrossi

Senior Sofia Panagrossi met collegiate basketball star, Sedona Prince, while visiting the University of Oregon.

Everyone has a hero. Someone who inspires them and makes them want to achieve more. Many successful athletes’ inspiration is sparked from watching their favorite sports teams on television. As children, many envision themselves achieving their dreams in hopes of becoming just like their favorite athlete. They often begin as avid sports fans and can pin-point a hero they have looked up to since their childhood.

There are several student-athletes at NDB who hope to one day pursue their sport in the next level. NDB is known for its student-athletes working hard to earn a scholarship for the college of their dreams. For Melanie Castelli, a senior at NDB, her dreams are beginning right now. Castelli recently signed with California State Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo to run Division One (D1) Track.

Castelli grew up in a household where basketball was on the television at all times. Her basketball hero has always been Stephen Curry and was lucky enough to meet her hero in person.

“When I was 12, I had the amazing opportunity to meet him at a graduation party. He was extremely well spoken, humble and kind. As soon as I found that he was not just blessed with athletic skills and actually had to work for it, I began looking into how he trained,” she said.

The chance of meeting with Curry changed Castelli’s perspective on hard work.

“It made me want to work harder at anything that I had ever done. I have carried this mindset with me through high school track and field,” Castelli reflected. “I am now signing to Cal Poly Slo to be a D1 athlete on their track team and I will of course be bringing the mentality that Steph Curry gave me.”

Helena Morell, junior at NDB, is an avid cross country and track runner. In college, she hopes to continue this passion. She has been on both teams for the past three years. Her athletic hero is Amber Schulz, a popular social media influencer and cross country runner.

“Shulz is a D1 cross country runner at High Point University, and is popular on social media. She talks about the struggles that come with running, and is a very positive person,” Morell said. “I look up to her because of her open mind and her ability to change her perspective on challenging situations.”

Senior Sofia Panagrossi also looks up to a collegiate athlete, Sedona Prince. Prince is a basketball player who currently plays for the Oregon Ducks in the Pac 12 conference. While visiting the University of Oregon, Panagrossi had the opportunity to meet Prince after one of her games.

“I have always admired her perseverance, strength and kindness. She has always been a strong advocate for equality, especially within college sports between the men and women teams, which is something I want to fight for,” explained Panagrossi. “Additionally, Sedona openly talks about the importance of mental health on her platforms which is another thing that I want to stand up for and make a priority for athletes and students in general.”

NDB student-athletes are trained to maintain a strong mentality when it comes to their respective sports, many being fueled by their most influential sports icon.