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Senior Profile: Martin right at home in Princeton
Princeton is like a second home for senior Maryssa Martin, who makes the commute from Willows every day.
Drawn by the tiny school's atmosphere and small class sizes, Martin followed in her older sister's footsteps and became an Eagle.
A three-sport standout, attending the small school allowed Martin to start all four years in volleyball, basketball and softball while building a close bond with her coaches.
"It's different here," Martin said. "It's special because they're your teacher first and then they're your coach. While they're also pushing you on the court or the field, they're also pushing you in the classroom."
Last year there were 78 high school students at the school, which creates a unique atmosphere on the sports teams, Martin said. Everybody has to make grades and support each other.
"Anywhere sports is a motivator but here you definitely want and need to make grades, not for yourself but for your team, as well," Martin said.
While making grades isn't an issue for Martin, who is a good student, she thrives at the school in which the students have to rely on each other.
The football team often ends practice early when the volleyball team has home matches, and many of the volleyball players can be found working in the snack bar or cheerleading at the football games, and an unusually high percentage of the school's students attend home matches.
This year that support group has an official name — the Eagle Flock.
"We don't have the kind of numbers, I mean, at Chico High you can get a quarter of the school and still have a full gym, but you have to get everyone here," Martin said.
Since beginning her career as an Eagle, Martin has been a consistent contributor, along with fellow four-year star Amanda Hansen, and helped turn the volleyball and basketball teams into undefeated league champions last season, though they fell short of section titles.
Martin is a standout first baseman for the softball team but her passion is on the court, where she is a dominant outside hitter and averaged nearly a double-double during her first three seasons as a guard on the basketball team.
Volleyball is her favorite sport, one she began playing on traveling teams in junior high.
"I think that really helped my love for it because it put me in competition at a young age," Martin said. "I was playing against freshmen and sophomores at that time so it's just really competitive and really fun to me."
This year she has the Eagles fighting for another Pioneer-Valley League title. The Eagles' record sits at 15-9 overall and 3-0 in league after beating second-place Paradise Adventist Academy in three games on Thursday, a match in which Martin had an astounding 19 kills and five aces.
Last year she guided the basketball team to the playoffs while averaging 15.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and three steals a game.
At the behest of her mother, Martin took the summer off from sports for the first time in her high school career and let her body heal for her senior campaign.
"I thought I was going to go crazy… and it was strange, really strange," Martin said. "I feel like I improved in volleyball from last year. My stats I've improved, and maybe I can attribute that to the summer and not doing anything because I am healthier."
CONTACT Kirk Barron at firstname.lastname@example.org