Team captains share strategies

Written by: 
Brooklyn Redd
Ibrahim Karmadzha 
Senior from Bulgaria majoring in computer science and captain of the BYUH men’s tennis team.
 What prepared you to become a successful athlete?
“My parents supporting me throughout the years giving me motivation. What I personally did was work harder than my peers when I was younger. My father’s guidance also helped. He was a successful athlete [at canoeing]. It’s not all genetics, but it is all about hard work and hours. I practice every day for three hours, tennis alone, and work out 30 minutes to one hour every day. 
 “If you like something and want to be successful, you have to put in the hours and hard work.” 
Sinamona Tonga 
Junior from Hawaii majoring in teaching English as a second language and previous captain to the BYUH volleyball team.
What is the difference between a good athlete and a successful athlete? 
“I think anyone could be a normal athlete, but a successful athlete [is] somebody who knows how to lift up their team, not just themselves.
“I think a successful athlete is someone who is a really good leader on and off the court, not just being a good player having all the skills… but when you can actually apply it off the court into school or the gospel.
“I think role models help a lot in that, because my older sister was pretty much my motivation. Not saying I wanted to be like her, but that I wanted to be better than her. Everything that she did do I did it, but I pushed it maybe 10 times harder than her… she is so good [at volleyball] that I don’t even know if I have met her level yet.”
Tanner Nelson 
Sophomore business major from Washington and current team captain of BYUH men’s basketball team.  
How did you become a successful athlete and make it to the top?
“I think mainly all the support I have around me. Sometimes I am amazed by the people who are around me – how good they are, how blessed I have been to have them in my life. I think the main thing is to surround myself with good people who always supported me in whatever I was doing and who would push me to become better. 
“My parent’s had a huge impact, because my dad played college basketball, and my mom grew up playing volleyball and basketball. Ever since I can remember, I have been in a church gym. [I] remember watching my parents play volleyball together when I was little.”
Makaela Williamson 
Senior from California majoring in International Cultural Studies and recent captain of the BYUH softball team.
What advice would you give for people who want to fulfill their dreams?
“Work will beat talent every day. If you work hard, people are going to notice you working hard; doing all you can to achieve. You will be able to be a better example as well. A girl can be talented, but if she’s not working hard over her talent, then she is just going to fall behind everyone else.
Softball is all about losing. It is all about a game of loses. It’s overcoming continuingly failing. Every time you fail you have to pick yourself up, doing it better next time. There is no time to sit down, recuperate and think about it. You have to let it go and practice and think about what you need to improve on. Mental toughness is such a big thing in softball. You have to be like a horse with blinders and focus on whatever task is right in front of you.”
Besser Davila 
Senior from Utah majoring in exercise sports science and captain of the men’s BYUH soccer team.
Who was your biggest role model, and what lessons did you learn from them?
“I count on my grandpa a lot. He played soccer professionally and played in the World Cup for Mexico representing his country. I was compared to him by others, which motivated me in becoming better. He is my biggest role model for sure. Listening to all the stories of my grandfather growing up made me push myself to be as good as he is.
“Be positive with yourself. The world is not easy. That is the most important thing I learned recently. In order to be successful, you have to have a successful mind set. In order to have a successful mindset, you have to be positive.”
Jessica Horrocks 
Senior from Idaho double majoring in exercise science and bio-med. Team captain of BYUH women’s cross country team.
What is the difference between a good athlete and a successful athlete? 
“I think a successful athlete pushes themselves the extra mile. We all set goals to better ourselves. When you really are determined on a goal… you take those extra steps. You put in those extra workouts. You really focus a lot of your time on [that goal]. It’s more than just a sport. It’s a lifestyle.
A successful athlete, said Horrocks, requires a mindset that lifts them to “a competitive level and being able to know you have to push yourself and earn what you have. Obviously God gives us talents for a reason and being able to use them here has been an opportunity of a lifetime.” 
Dalton Stanger 
Junior psychology major from Utah and captain of the BYUH golf team.
What is a team captain?
“I think that a team captain is someone who embodies everything that the team stands for. I try to stay in the moment and not worry about the future or past. The biggest thing that helps me stay in the moment is focusing on what went well because it is very easy to be negative.”
Stanger said he takes three positives and one negative to consider when he moves forward. “I think that is how I keep positive...”
“If you want to be successful at something, I feel that you need to understand what your purpose is in doing that in the first place and own that purpose.” 
Kenzie Gilbert 
Senior from Utah majoring in exercise science and captain of the BYUH cheerleading squad.
 How did you become a successful athlete and make it to the top?
“For me in cheer, I think it’s more of learning how to be a leader or coach as well as an athlete; thinking about others. When I was a senior in high school, I was injured so I had to be more of a coach helping everyone else out instead of focusing on myself. I had to help them get new skills; help them get better.
“I am very competitive with myself and others. I want to be the best with everything. I can’t just settle with being on a team. I have to be the best. I want to make a difference.”
Date Published: 
Friday, January 13, 2017
Last Edited: 
Friday, January 13, 2017