She always figured that she would rather give it a try than regret never doing so. Even as a student athlete in her senior year at Antioch High School, Mariam was still committing to new sports just to change things up. As of now she has already participated in six different sports, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Mariam chose to add another to her list. She says her inspiration for much of what she did growing up came from her brother. “My brother influenced me to do a lot of different things,” Mariam said.
As a child Mariam selected swimming as her first sport around the age of six. Of course her brother was already involved in the sport, so that meant Mariam wanted to do the same. “I did swimming because of my brother, but I ended up falling in love with it,” Mariam said. When she first started out Mariam was picky about which events she wanted to compete in; she only wanted to swim freestyle because that’s what she was best at. Then as she progressed she grew to enjoy backstroke instead, which is what she competed in for Antioch. As a freshman and sophomore Mariam competed in the 100 meter backstroke and 200 meter freestyle. “I like backstroke best because I feel like it’s easier for me,” Mariam said. “I feel faster. I also feel like with the backstroke you can constantly improve your time. You can use the flip turns to your advantage if you have technique.”
In addition to the swim team, Mariam also joined Antioch’s water polo team as a freshman having no experience with the sport. “I had a lot of girls on my competition swim team who were already in high school and were telling me that I should try it.” Mariam figured that since she had already mastered a water sport that trying another one would come easily for her, and she was right. Antioch’s coach saw Mariam’s skill set and knew that she would thrive in the hole set position, the team’s main shooter. Mariam helped lead her team to victory over Pittsburg High School to close her senior season. “It was a cool way to end it.” She also received Honorable Mention and 2nd Team All-League recognition.
As a sophomore Mariam decided to add basketball to her schedule. “I had already been helping the coach record the games, and he asked me why I didn’t just join the team. So I figured I’d give it a try and do something new.” Mariam enjoyed the sport, but when her junior year rolled around she already had a lot going on. “My junior year my brother passed away, so I took a break from sports during that time,” Mariam said. After taking some time away from her commitments, Mariam jumped back into her sports, this time trying yet another new one. She decided to leave her most experienced sport, swimming, to do softball instead. One of her friends thought that softball would be an easy transition since Mariam already had practice using her arm strength in water polo. “I wanted to try something different, but I couldn’t do both sports at the same time since they’re in the same season,” Mariam said. “I figured I’d do something new because I might regret not doing it later.”
Now in her senior year Mariam has to choose a spring sport: swimming or softball. “I’m still debating which one to do.” One sport that Mariam did not hesitate to include in her schedule is cheerleading. “One of my best friends does cheerleading, and I had always wanted to do it too, but it’s during water polo season,” Mariam said. Other girls were able to juggle both, so that is exactly what the adventurous senior did. She had to alternate which sport’s practice and games she would go to, but Mariam made it work.
Out of all of the many sports that she has participated in (including wrestling for four years growing up), Mariam says that water polo is her favorite. “Water polo is so much fun because of the level of competition. It gets pretty aggressive. All of the girls that play know that your head is in the game; you’re in your own world, but it doesn’t work unless you work together as a team.”
Of course Mariam also has to make time for her classwork, which doesn’t seem to be a problem based on her 3.9 GPA despite taking challenging classes like AP Literature, AP Biology, and AP Calculus. Over the years Mariam has also managed to find time for extracurricular activities. She was a part of a peer health educator club, and she also helped out with weekend clean ups as part of the environmental club.
Mariam’s sights are clearly set on college in her final year of high school, but no concrete decision has been made yet. “I’m still waiting to hear back from everyone, but my ideal choice is UC Santa Barbara,” Mariam said. She is contemplating majoring in psychology. “I’ve always wanted to help people who have problems at home or who are harming themselves. It’s interesting to me to learn about issues like that and then figure out how to help.” As far as athletics are concerned, Mariam would love to continue her involvement with water polo but wants to figure out her new college routine first. “I just want to make sure I can handle my classes before committing myself to any sports.”