The Future of High School Sports: The Freshmen of Varsity


Photo credits to Alexis Chen

Hunterdon Central is the perfect place to cultivate future athletes who are prepared to take on the world.

The class of 2026 emerged as a historically smaller class, only comprising of 592 students. Yet despite their small numbers, they certainly aren’t lacking in their contributions of talent–especially in athletics. Across a variety of sports, some of these freshmen have found their way onto the varsity team, a rare achievement in high school sports, playing or performing alongside upperclassmen. Thus, their years upon years of dedication to their respective sports becomes clear once they step foot on the field, court, mat, or ice. These varsity freshmen drive the future of high school sports, engraving their legacies into the programs they take on.  


How long have you been playing your sport?


Molly Domurat (XC): I have been playing my sport for around 5 years now.


Kyle Easley (Ice Hockey): I have been playing hockey for 7 years.


Amelia Pieroni (Cheer): I have been cheering for 10 years.


Nikki Costantini (Basketball): I have been playing basketball for 8 years.


Lauren Facinelli (Soccer): I have been playing soccer for 7 years.



How has being able to train among other varsity athletes affected your own training and/or mindset?


Molly Domurat (XC): Training with the others on varsity definitely makes my drive to succeed much higher than it had been before. It also results in higher-intensity training.


Kyle Easley (Ice Hockey): Training against other varsity athletes who are upperclassmen has taught me how to play against stronger players.


Amelia Pieroni (Cheer): My own teammates are all so amazing and talented. We want to do well, so we push each other to do our best. As a freshman, the upperclassmen have been so nice to me and we’ve become a family.


Nikki Costantini (Basketball): Being able to train amongst other varsity players has really helped me grow as an athlete. Every day I am learning from them. 


Lauren Facinelli (Soccer): Training at the varsity level has deeply affected my mindset.  There is a different level of competitiveness that you feel playing for your school. The season has 3 dimensions to it: 1) conference league games, 2) the county tournament, and 3) the state title. The community involvement throughout the season really fuels the drive to win. The sense of collective team pride for winning the county championship this year was such an amazing experience and will certainly drive me in future years. From a personal development standpoint, playing at the varsity level has helped me grow as a player mentally and physically. I am a defender on the field and had the opportunity to compete against some of the best players across the state.  Each game challenged me to work harder and smarter on the field.  I am so grateful to all my teammates that showed me the ropes, especially the amazingly talented seniors. 


What is something you’ve learned from competing on varsity?


Molly Domurat (XC): I’ve learned that almost everyone is in the same boat as you when racing and that even if it gets competitive(which it rarely does), always treat your teammates with respect and kindness.


Kyle Easley (Ice Hockey): Nothing is given, you have to earn it.


Amelia Pieroni (Cheer): I learned that what you do impacts your entire team. Your sport should be one of your top priorities because there is something you can always improve on.


Nikki Costantini (Basketball): I’ve learned from competing on varsity that nothing comes easy. Also, the competition level is so much harder, but it will only help me grow as a player.


Lauren Facinelli (Soccer): I’ve learned so much throughout the season both on and off the field, but I’ll share one thing I didn’t expect to learn. It’s clear now that there’s a culture of pride in being part of this program and that isn’t by luck that this happened. The girls and coaches have traditions and pride in how they operate. It’s a privilege to be part of this team and I’ve learned it’s important to the program to maintain those traditions into the future. 


What do you do during the off-season?


Molly Domurat (XC): During the off-season, I do not run, but rather I build my core and upper body strength to rest my lower body.


Kyle Easley: In the off-season, I play for my club team and also lift weights and go on runs.


Amelia Pieroni (Cheer):  I tumble, get private stunting instructions from college coaches, and work out.


Nikki Costantini (Basketball): During the off-season, I play AAU Basketball and spend most of my time training.


Lauren Facinelli (Soccer): During the offseason, I continue to play club soccer at the Players Development Academy (PDA). 


Besides sports, what else are you involved in?


Molly Domurat (XC): I honestly have not had much time to look into the clubs and other organizations at central due to the sports I play, but I hope to look into them next year.


Kyle Easley (Ice Hockey): I have a job and do clubs at Central.


Amelia Pieroni: I help out the Unified Sparkle Cheer Team and take part in many clubs like Key Club, Women in STEM, SMAC, Doctors of Tomorrow, Yearbook Club, and Student Council.


Nikki Costantini (Basketball): Besides sports, I am currently not involved in anything yet.


Lauren Facinelli (Soccer): Outside of soccer, I’m mostly doing schoolwork and spending time with my family and friends.


What’s your favorite part of varsity?


Molly Domurat (XC): The people and running, in general, are my favorite, everyone on the varsity team is so kind and always is there when you need some extra encouragement or help. The training also just makes you feel so accomplished when you finish a hard workout or just an easy run. 


Kyle Easley (Ice Hockey): My favorite part of being on varsity is being with the other boys on the team and playing on Friday nights. 


Amelia Pieroni (Cheer): My favorite part is the competitions. We get to hit the mat as a team, getting to perform what we worked so hard on in practices.


Nikki Costantini (Basketball): My favorite part about being on varsity is definitely getting to play with the older girls. Also being able to do the handshake for games when I start.


Lauren Facinelli (Soccer): My favorite part of varsity is the camaraderie of the team and the pride I feel representing our school and community on the pitch. 


What advice would you give to non-varsity athletes who want to become varsity athletes one day?


Molly Domurat (XC):  I would say to strive for your best in anything you do for your sport, whether it be an easy or a hard day of training. Also, the extra work comes a long way, summer training or even just a little 15 minutes of practice will make every bit of a difference. Practice makes perfect as they say, but also make sure that while doing these you do not overwork yourself, and take a break when you need it, your body needs rest to survive and without it, you will not be able to put in the effort you need to succeed and become better.


Kyle Easley (Ice Hockey): Work during the season and off-season, trying to get better.


Amelia Pieroni (Cheer): I feel true to these three powerful phrases: believe in yourself, work hard, and stay humble and kind.


Nikki Costantini (Basketball): The advice I would give is to never give up and that hard work produces results.


Lauren Facinelli (Soccer): No matter what level you’re playing, a positive mindset is so key to your success. As athletes, we’re all going to have highs and lows, but it’s so important (and hard at times) to keep your positivity. Always remember it’s the tough moments when we are growing the most. We just may not know it or feel it at the moment.