Meet the Captains Fall 2019

Emmy Taranto

Cheer & Golf Captain

Q: “What are the duties of a cheer captain?”

A: “We usually pick out what we’re going to wear for the games, decide how we’re going to wear our hair, choose cheers, choose dances, and call out the cheers at games. It depends on the situation. We are who the coaches come to first.”

Q: “What does it take to be a captain?”

A: “You just have to have really good leadership skills and know how to take care of people and get a team together.”

Q: “What skills are important not only to be a captain, but to life?”
A: “Well, leadership, of course, and also dedication. If you’re passionate about something, you should put your all into it.”

Syneca Jones

Cheer Captain

Q: “Why do you think you were chosen to be a captain?”

A: “I think I was chosen because I’m pretty likeable. I am always the one that girls can go to. They know that they can trust me with anything. I think it’s just the fact that I’m there and that I always put the girls before myself.”

Q: “What skills are important not only to be a captain, but to life?”

A: “I think it’s important that you take the things you learned from being a captain into life because there are a lot of experiences that you can take. Especially going into college. Knowing how to be around people and interact and have those social experiences [is important]. [Being a captain] also allows you to focus on yourself and how you are as a person. You adapt to the way you are, a kind of shaped you, and you just kind of stick with it. It’s a really good thing because you’re not forced to be a good person, but it still really keeps you grounded. It keeps you doing that.”

Lauren Wilson

Dance Captain

Q: “What are the duties of a captain?”

A: “As a captain it’s really important to have the team’s best interests all the time, so doing what’s best for the team and making sure we have good team building, team bonding, improvement, and that we’re working hard. The captains usually lead. We count out the music, we lead stretching, and pretty much all the practices.”

Q: “What skills are important not only to be a captain, but to life?”
A: “I’m definitely going back to leadership abilities, because you need to be a leader for pretty much anything you want to do in the future. You’re looking out for your teammates, and being a team player as well. It’s not just what I want, but it’s what is best for the team. I think that’s really important in the future.”

Paige Smith

Dance Captain

Q: “What are the main challenges that you face as a captain?”

A: “I think it’s a lot of pressure because all younger girls are looking up to you. You always have to be positive, have a smile, good attitude, pay attention, know all the dancers in the team. But you always have to put the team’s best interests first and not think about yourself. You have to think about the team as a whole.”

Q: “Have you always wanted to become a captain?”

A: “Yeah. Ever since I made the team freshman year, I just wanted to be captain so bad. Every single time [the captains] were like ‘Captain’s meeting’, I was like ‘Oh, I want that to be me someday’, and so when I was finally told I was a captain, I was so happy. It’s been like a dream. I love it.”

Shawn Hendershot 

Football Captain

Q: “Why do you think you were chosen to be the captain?”

A: “I think others see me as a really hard worker who cares about my teammates on and off the field. And I’m always there for them [even if] they need a ride home or help with homework or something, I can always be there to help them out with whatever.”

Q: “What skills are important not only to be a captain but to life?”

A: “ I think I’d say hard work and being persistent is the most [important thing] because not everything in life or in a sport goes right all the time, so when things start to go wrong, you have to be able to adapt and keep going.”

Kahlil Allen 

Football Captain

Q: “What are the main challenges that you face as the captain?”

A: “You have a really big role in the team, so everything that’s wrong with the team falls on you.”

Q: “What does it take to be a captain?”

A: “Leadership and you have to put effort into things and most importantly, work hard.”

Q: “What are the duties of a team captain?”

A: “So, we pick out what we wear for the games, the accessories, and we have a thing called “Mustang of the Week” [where] we give an award to the teacher that we feel like has been doing the best job.”

Jennifer He 

Tennis Captain

Q: “What are the duties of a captain?”

A: “The captains together create a captain leadership. We plan out all the activities for the girls, so we’ll have a lot of team bonding things that we do. Recently, we had our “I-Hop kidnapping”, where we woke up all the new freshmen at 5 a.m. and went to have breakfast. We also help the coaches with determining who’s on the team or ranking everyone and preparing for other activities like the homecoming parade.”

Q: “What did you think it would be like to be a captain?”

A: “I thought being a captain was just a term that they gave you. There weren’t any major responsibilities that came with it. You were just called a captain and lead the team. I thought that was going to be it, but it’s actually a lot of work. You have to put in a lot of effort to coordinate all the activities and determine the rankings of everyone in the team.”

Tim Foster

Football Captain

Q: “What are the main challenges that you face as a captain?”

A: “I would say everyone’s looking to you for advice. Sometimes you have to admit that you don’t know what’s going on. That’s probably the hardest thing.”

Q: “Why do you think you were chosen to be captain?”

A: “I think I’m just good with talking to all different age groups and being there, and not just because someone’s younger than me. I’m not trying to disrespect them in that way, I’m trying to help them build them up to be the best they can.”

Emily Grice

Dance Captain

Q: “What is your favorite thing about being a captain?

A: “My favorite thing is honestly choreographing dances. Being a captain is fun, and getting with the team is fun, but the basics, actually choreographing dances and getting to dance is my favorite part about it.”

Q: “What did you think it would be like to be a captain?”

A: “Because I’m the only Junior Captain, I was expecting some backlash, or some people getting mad at me because of it. But it’s been so much fun, and there hasn’t been any drama or anything like that at all. But I also thought it would be a lot easier than it is. It’s needed a lot of hard work, determination and stuff like that, but I’ve made it work so far.”

Malayah Lancaster

Cheer Captain

Q: “What are the duties of a captain?”

A: “You help come up with all of the routines, like Homecoming and Sweetheart, and call cheers at games. You just have a leadership role.”

Q: “Why do you think you were chosen to be a captain?”

A: “I would say because I take the time to get to know everybody who’s on the cheer team and I like to be a good role model for younger children.”

Q: “What is important not only to be a captain, but to life?”

A: “I would say what’s important is to stay positive no matter what and to continue doing good stuff for others.”

Callie Flanagan

Tennis Captain

Q: “What did you think it would be like to be a captain?”

A: “I’ve always been super excited to be one of the captains because I really like all of the girls on the team. It’s really fun to know so many of the girls because sometimes you don’t know a lot of people but with tennis all the girls know each other and get along very well. It’s like having a ton of sisters.”

Q: “What are the main challenges that you face?”

A: “Trying to please everybody in the tennis team. At least the girls’ tennis team gets along really well, and everyone is there to have fun and try to play really good tennis. Everyone agrees all the time, which is really lucky.”

Nick Blackford

Soccer captain

Q: “What are the main challenges that you face?”

A: “With there only being two captains, sometimes we have to get everyone onboard. Not everyone will listen to us, but we try our best to work with everybody individually and make everyone better.”

Q: “What do you think the team could do better than last season?”

A: “I think we just need to have better effort on and off the field. Just learn to be better friends so we can work with each other and know each other better.”


Bailee Espinosa

Cheer Captain

Q: “What does it take to be a captain?”
A: “You have to have good leadership skills, for sure. You [can’t be] afraid to step up and take control and help the coaches.”

Q: “What is your favorite thing about being a cheerleader?”
A: “The atmosphere of it. I really love the games, the competitions and knowing that I’m part of something.”

Divya Gupta

Tennis Captain

Q: “What skills are important not only to being a captain but also to life?”
A: “Learning how to relate with everyone, because if you have common ground with everyone on the team it’s really easy to become friends with everyone who’s new.”

Q: “How do you feel about the ‘Tennis Legacy’?”

A: “I think it’s good. It’s motivating and it makes people really want to get into [the] top six. JV and C team are also working really hard to get a hold up there and it’s really good.”

Mandy Unterhalter 

Tennis Captain 

Q: “What does it take to be a captain?”

A: “It’s actually a lot of responsibilities, and you don’t run to be captain, you’re elected, so it definitely takes a lot of organization and communication skills because you have to communicate with other players, captains, coaches, parents and the school. It also takes a lot of spirit because everyone follows your lead, so if you’re not being happy and upbeat, then nobody else is either.”

Q: “How do you feel about the ‘Legacy’ ?”

A: “It’s a lot of pressure, but everyone works really hard to get where they are. Our team  has such good spirit and everybody is always together, so I hope we’ll do it again this year.”

Evan Kaiser

Soccer Captain

Q: “Why do you think you were chosen to be captain?”

A: “I think partially because I’ve been on varsity for four years, and I’m not afraid to show my leadership even if that means yelling at someone, I’m just guiding them. I’m just not afraid.”

Q: “What are the main challenges that you face?”

A: “Probably uniting the team, because there’s a lot of different grades. It’s hard to get some of the freshmen to interact as much as the seniors, and something me and Nick have been trying to work on is getting the whole team united.”

Ally Hoban 

Golf Captain

Q: “How has being a captain changed you?”

A: “It’s made me become a better leader and put others before myself.”

Q: “What are the main challenges that you face? How do you overcome them?”

A: “ The main challenge we face is keeping calm when things don’t go our way or something unexpected happens. I overcome those challenges by always thinking about the next shot and staying positive.”

Nick Hafford

Football Captain

Q: “What are the duties of a football captain?”

A: “The main duty is leading the team and being known as the leader, but another important duty is the coin flip before the game. We also do Leadership Council, which is a group of people, not just captains, who the coach sends to address any questions with the team.”

Q: “Have you always wanted to become the captain?”

A: “It wasn’t a goal for myself personally, because I liked to put the team in front of myself. So a State Championship would have mattered more than me being a captain. But it’s nice to be known as the person who leads the team.”

Kyra Larson

Golf Captain

Q: “What are your duties as a captain?”

A: “Making sure everyone shows up to practice and that they are confident.”

Q: “What are the main challenges that you face?”

A: “If someone doesn’t show up to practice, we have to keep reminding them.”

Q: “What are your expectations for this season?”

A: “Making it to state, definitely.”

Reid Spachman

Football captain

Q: “What does it take to be a captain?”
A: “It takes a lot of drive and determination to be there for your teammates and always be that guy that’s got everyone’s back. And when everyone else is down, you just have to be that person that starts a fire and keeps going.”

Q: “What is your favorite thing about being a captain?”

A: “I like being a leader and being the person that people can turn to, but I also like how when we’re doing good, it reflects upon me as being a good leader. I get to walk out and represent the team on Friday nights at the Coin Club.”

Hailey Byrne 

Cheer Captain

Q: “What are your duties as a captain?”

A: “I do a lot more of the community service aspect than the other captains. This weekend we’re going to the St. Jude’s walk [that] benefits pediatric cancer research. We’re having cheerleaders there, some walking and some cheering on the sidelines at the end and at the beginning. I put that together. There was also Speak Up last week. We do a lot of community based [programs]. We also do ribbons and bows for the Gold Out and Pink Out games.”

Q: “How do you manage your time being the store’s CEO and board member of Team up for St. Jude KC, besides being cheer captain?”

A: “I always told myself I’m kind of a “doer”. I’m constantly doing something, and I don’t like just sitting down and doing nothing and relaxing because I feel like I could be doing something. So, I really like having a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes it does get really busy, but we’ve got good staff in the store. All the girls on cheer are willing to put in so much work and with the other captains’ help [it gets easier]. Organizing team up for St. Jude’s is something I’m passionate about, so I always cut out time for it.”

Olivia Sarris

Cheer & Golf Captain

Q: “What were your expectations and how is reality different?”

A: “I expected not to have a say in as many things as I do now. Our coach gives us a lot of responsibility that I didn’t think we would have.”

Q: “What are the duties of a captain?”

A: “To lead the team and make some decisions not everyone else would have to make all the time.”

Caitlyn Moore

Golf Captain

Q: “What are the differences you’ve experienced being a captain?”

A: “By being a captain you have to talk to the school and organize team dinners. We usually have one team dinner per week, and each week it’s [in a different house and we have different food].” 

Q: “ Do you face any challenges by being captain?”

A: “Not really. There’s really no challenges because you have everyone else around you to help you out.” 

Olivia Peterson

Dance Captain

Q: “How do you strengthen team bonding?”

A:  “We [have] a team dinner or we go somewhere fun. For example, we had three team sleepovers [during the summer]. [We do anything to get] the team talking to each other.”

Q: “Why do you think the team voted for you to be a captain?”

A: “I’m really outgoing, and I’m always positive. They definitely voted for me not because I’m the best dancer. but because I’m the most positive and they knew they could count on me.”

Rory Swenson 

Cross Country Captain

Q: “What is your favorite part of being a captain?”

A: “Definitely getting people organized to celebrate the other runners. [We] do tunnels or giant circles to get people excited. It’s really fun to make sure that people are having a good time.”

Q: “What skills are important not only to be a captain but to life?”

A: “Confidence. As long as you’re confident people will  trust you and believe in you. So, just be confident when you do [anything] and don’t second guess yourself.”

Pranav Pagadala 

Cross Country Captain

Q: “What were your expectations?”

A: “I wasn’t thinking I was going to be doing certain things because normally everybody does the same thing. We’re all stepping up and leading during practice and things like that.”

Q: “What do you do when you lead the kids’ practice in middle school?”

A: “We lead their practice the same way we do our practice. [We lead] their warm ups and then play the game.”

Sophie Jones

Cross Country captain

Q: “Have you always to be a captain?”

A: “I’ve always wanted to be considered a leader, but I haven’t cared too much about the title of captain.”

Q: What does it take to be considered a leader?”

A: “Being able to step up and take action for the team.”

Q: “What is your favorite part of being captain?”

A: “Our team voted for who they thought represented a leader on our team so my favorite part would be that people look up to me and think I fit that role.”

Charlotte Ganter

Cross Country Captain

Q: “What is your favorite thing about Cross Country?”

A: “My favorite thing about cross country is just the community, you meet a lot of different people from other grades, people who are older [and] younger than you. Some of my best friends have come from cross country. There’s something about running with people and bonding with them through the struggles of racing and pushing yourself really hard during workouts.”

Q: “What is the main challenge that you face?”

A: “Something that I face is motivating the team, especially during hard workout, it can get kind of bleak feeling, and people have negative attitudes. So I think one of the things that I have to try to focus on is staying positive and motivating the team when everybody else is feeling negative or when the weather’s not great, or when we’re all really sore.”

Kara Olander

Cross Country Captain

Q: “What is the main difference between cross country in middle school and in high school?”

A: “Besides running further because in high school, it’s also a lot more fun and has a lot more of a community aspect, because after practice we do team dinners and other things outside of school, so it’s an actual team instead of just a group that runs a mile together after school.”

Q: “What have you learned by being a captain?”

A:  “[Since] cross country it’s a pretty big individual [sport], I’ve learned how to help.Make that individual aspect of it more of a team thing. You try to beat your personal record but at the same time you want to work together as a team. And not only to get points but just to help motivate each other.”

Charlotte Raley

Cross Country Captain

Q: “If you could give yourself an advice at the beginning of the season, what would you say?”

A: “I definitely would say just to make the most of it and try to spend all my time during the season trying to get to know as many people as I could,   just because it goes by so fast and we have such a big team at North that it’s hard to get to know everyone. I [would] tell myself to really enjoy the little things about the sport.”

Q: “What have you learned by being a captain?”

A: “ I’ve learned that it’s really hard to organize so many people, and I’ve also learned about what qualities and what it takes to step up in such a big group and keep a balanced team really working hard because it is a sport where you really need to put in the work.”