Her older brother introduced this month’s Senior Spotlight athlete, Mia Suchora, to the sport of soccer when she was just five-years old. By the time she played on her first soccer team, the
Wyckoff Recreation Kinder Kickers, she knew soccer was something that was very special to her. Fast-forward thirteen years and now the senior standout is preparing to don a “Tribe” uniform and play collegiately at the College of William and Mary. Her time on the Ramapo Girls Soccer team, both as a player and as a leader, has helped to prepare her as she takes her next step in her soccer journey.
Suchora began her high school career on the varsity squad as a freshman scoring thirteen goals and amassing three assists. She then hung up her Raider jersey for her sophomore year when she played for the NYCFC Development Team. Returning to the Ramapo soccer pitch as a junior, Suchora netted twenty goals and tallied fourteen assists. Her senior season was unfortunately shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that did not stop the soccer star from scoring twelve goals and connecting for six assists.
In addition to being a prolific playmaker for the team, Suchora also served as one of the senior Captains. Of course, due to the restrictions in place the senior’s final season as a Raider looked quite different from previous years. Commenting on the altered season and schedule, Suchora offered, “This year was definitely challenging. We were very behind compared to previous years. We did not have any Captains’ practices over the summer and our first practice was at the end of September.” Had the restrictions not been in place and the team was not subjected to a shut down, the playmaker believes the team would have won a state championship.
Suchora thrives in the center mid-fielder position because it is there where she makes connections on the field and sets up plays for her team members. She explained, “I love having the responsibility of defending but also attacking. Winning the ball for my team and then distributing it up the field is very rewarding. I am the type of player that loves to start the play, and watch a teammate of mine finish it.” Suchora’s clear enthusiasm for the team and it’s success is evident in the way she views her responsibility on the team and the way she describes her role as a team member.
According to Suchora, Ramapo Girls Soccer has not only helped her become a better soccer player, but it has helped her grow in a number of other ways as well. She elaborated, “Ramapo Girls Soccer has taught me so many important lessons and given me some of my best friends. Being in the newspaper with my team every week since we are the number one team in our bracket was so rewarding. Wearing our jerseys on game days wasn’t even a question. We were proud to wear them and it got us excited for our game later that day. It also got school spirit up that our peers would be at our game.”
As Suchora looks forward to her freshman year at William and Mary she is thrilled to be attending a college where she felt at home from the moment she first visited the campus the summer before her junior year. She intends to incorporate her favorite subject, mathematics, into whatever major she eventually chooses. Suchora is looking forward to becoming a member of the William and Mary “Tribe” spending her college years in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Suchora offered some advice to the young players who are currently running and kicking around that joyful Kinder Kickers’ field she played on so many years ago, and who also hope to one day play soccer in high school and beyond, “I would tell young players who aspire to be on the Ramapo Girls Soccer team to work hard and have a positive attitude. Putting in 100% effort into anything you do will give you a positive outcome.”
Even though this season was not what Suchora or her fellow seniors had hoped for in their senior year, the senior Captain was enthusiastic about her experience stating, “ I am extremely grateful I had a senior season at all due to the circumstances. I enjoyed this year so much and I think the senior Captains were amazing role models for the upcoming players.” Certainly, Mia Suchora’s positive attitude, superb soccer skills and team-centered enthusiasm will carry her far as she prepares to step on the field at William and Mary.
Soon enough Mia Suchora will become a member of the William and Mary “Tribe”, but she will always be a part of the Ramapo Raider family./im
By Arya Kaul
Savannah Nowak has played almost every sport thanks to her dad’s love for sports. Being an athlete himself, he convinced her to try all sports, eventually leading her to find her passion for softball. In 5th grade, she began playing for the Wyckoff recreational softball team, and started travel softball in 6th grade. Since then, Nowak has grown as a player, individual, and leader.
In 2020, the Ramapo softball season got cut short due to the pandemic. The team was only able to participate in three practices before having to shut down the softball program because of COVID. However, this unprecedented time has not stopped Nowak from exhibiting her athletic prowess and leadership skills both on and off the playing field.
As both a softball player and a fantastic basketball player, Nowak works in conjunction with her teammates to complete plays on the softball field, and score baskets on the basketball court. Her athletic ability is unequaled, allowing her and the Ramapo girls' basketball team to win a state championship, which is what she is most proud of.
Nowak is held in high regard by coaches and teammates and has even won both all league and county awards for being an amazing softball player. Her coaches would describe her as a determined, coachable, and dedicated player who always gives 100% effort no matter what. Over the years, Savannah has fostered a close relationship with her coaches, as well as her teammates.
Angela Delano, who also plays for the Ramapo softball team, commented on Nowak as an individual and team player saying, “Savannah Nowak is an extremely hardworking teammate who always does her best to make sure everyone on the team feels welcome. Beyond being an all around amazing player, she is a great person that always cheers for everyone and knows just what to say to get the team’s spirit up.”
This year has been a tough year for everyone, especially our seniors who do not get to participate in the normal rituals often participated in by the graduating class. When asked about what she will miss the most about Ramapo softball and basketball she said, “I am going to miss the community surrounding Ramapo sports the most. We are lucky to have the most incredible coaches, trainers, and everyone who makes our sports programs possible. Everyone who is a part of Ramapo sports dedicates themselves to every sport which is special.”
Nowak is a naturally talented athlete who humbly admits that her success was not all up to her. Her drive and her passion were the biggest contributors to her accomplishments, but her past coaches Josh Lont and Frank Baldino have left a lasting impact on her life. Her current coaches, Coach White, Coach Durando, and Coach Hofsaes have been mentors to her this year and she is thankful for all they have taught her in such a short amount of time.
Community is what makes the Ramapo students, staff, coaches, and administration so special. The amount of school spirit that fills the hallways of Ramapo High School is unmatched. “I am going to miss the people and the school spirit at Ramapo. Everyone at Ramapo wants to be the best, and it pushed you to be your best.” Nowak, like all seniors, is moving onto bigger and better things outside of our small Ramapo community. Nowak herself is going to play softball at the University of Rochester next year, but she will always be a Ramapo Raider at heart.
When you do something best in life, you don’t really want to give that up - and for me it’s tennis” - Roger Federer.
Ramapo senior and profound athlete Lukas Choi knows all too well about the art of tennis. Choi has known the sport seemingly all throughout his life. Choi started at the age of 10 because his mother wanted him out of the house for the summer. What was first thought of as a summer bore actually turned out to be a spark for something much greater: a burning passion.
“What first started as a way to get me out of trouble and keep me active soon turned into my life,” says Choi.
And unfortunately, with life, there comes unforeseen events. In his freshman year at Ramapo, Choi was sidelined for 9 months after he ruptured two discs in his lower back and needed intensive care. However, his roadblock in his path was no match for him. Calling upon that burning need to play once more, Choi came back his sophomore year with the goal to dominate. He ended the season with a nomination for North Jersey Player of the Year and a spot on the first-team all division team. Choi has built up a monstrous reputation during this time as one of the best players in the state and even the country, raking up an amazing record of 30-2.
Although Choi plays singles, he does recognize everyone who has helped him along the way.
“If I could thank everyone for my successes it wouldn’t fit in the article,” says Choi. “To keep it short though it would first of all have to be my Dad who’s been there every step of my journey and been through all my trials and tribulations there right with me.”
Choi’s father has obviously been a huge inspiration to him. As a guiding figure throughout his journey, his father has provided countless insight and wisdom. Some defining life lessons from his father have stuck with Choi, some of which he has asked me to provide in the article:
“The team was initially ranked as top 4 in the state in our preseason rankings and we initially got off to a rocky start but I believe we’re primed for great success heading into our county tournament,” says Choi. “Not enough credit can go to our young players such as Max Loia, Luke Rebak, and Matthew Miller who are being mentored by solid upperclassmen in Jack Houston and Andrew Sullivan.”
Thanks for the shoutout by the way.
After his junior season was cancelled due to COVID-19, Choi is once again looking to exact his talent on the New Jersey tennis scene his senior year.
“My senior year is underway,” says Choi, “and I’m ready to take it on with a vengeance.”
When writing these articles, I enjoy keeping them short and sweet to retain that classical style of journalistic writing. It may also be because that I don’t exactly personally know everyone that I write these articles about. However, there comes a time when I believe that a journalist should break free of a simple writing style and express themselves. And what not a better time to do this than when writing an article someone I personally know. Choi has not only been a teammate of mine on the tennis team. He’s been a mentor for me throughout my high school career, and I can’t thank him enough for that. To me, he is much more than a tennis player: he’s my friend. Good luck at Nova, Choi! Ramapo will miss you!