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Senior Spotlight: Astrid Lopez

  • May 26, 2021


Astrid (Val) Lopez is the school's only senior on the girl's basketball team. Val states, “I have been playing sports since I was young. I grew up playing basketball and soccer, but eventually chose basketball because I was better at basketball than soccer. I also played co-ed flag football for a year. I went to Ross Middle School and played basketball there and continued to play basketball at Gahr High School. My freshman and sophomore year I was on the JV team and my junior and senior year I have been on Varsity.” 


According to a former junior teammate, Myah Thomphson, Astrid (Val) Lopez “is a tall, talented, girl with long, shiny brown hair. She is the sweetest person. She loves all things basketball. Not to mention, Val has a SOLID three point shot. Me and my former teammate Val met at the very first basketball game I had ever played for Gahr High School which was in the summer of 2018. Val has shown me true friendship. She is beyond trustworthy. I know that I can talk her head off about my own issues because I know that she will ‘take it to the grave.’ Val handles my madness in the best ways possible. Val is a true friend. I would have to say that me and Val’s favorite memory is being teammates during the entire 2018-19 basketball season. It’s not easy to find someone like Val. You’d be looking for someone that is kind, trustworthy, funny, and talented!!! All of that in one? Wow.” 


Lopez is not only a student-athlete. She also has a part-time job which she believes has helped her become ready for the real world. She said, “I mean I know the ball stops bouncing for everyone at some point. Some people go pro and others stop playing at the high school level.” With that knowledge in her back pocket, she took the opportunity to not only learn important things from basketball, but also from a job. “I have learned the importance of time management, organization, and teamwork from my job. I usually work about 16 hours a week and three to four hours a day and since I know that I will have my work shift, basketball practice, and school and homework I make sure I manage my time to the best of my ability. Some days it may be that I go to school, do some homework before my shift, go to my shift, followed by going to basketball practice, and then finally finishing up the rest of my homework after all of that. Other days could look like school and some homework/study time, no work that day, and then basketball practice. So I just have to be good at managing my time. In that same boat is being organized like when I go to work I have my basketball stuff already so after work I can just head over to practice. I have also learned to have patients with what I do whether it be a difficult customer, hitting every red light on the way to or from work, or anything else I don’t have control over.” 


When asked about what she wished that younger athletes and students would know, Astrid stated, “You can’t procrastinate. Get your work done before games. Same with practice, you can’t slack off. Just stay on top of it and do all of your work. Also, don’t forget that you are on a team with kids who are taking the same classes, ask them for help because you aren’t alone. You guys are a team and a team works together. Also, go to tutoring for classes you struggle in, it helps and gets your homework done so you can have free time and relax.” Later on, she also says that “For younger athletes, make sure you are playing a sport because you like the sport- not because you want to get out of PE. Make sure you like it and want to do it. Do it for the right reasons, be determined and set goals for yourself. If no one believes in you then you have to believe in yourself. Be coachable. Being coachable means you don’t give out attitude to coaches and teammates. Be supportive, ask if teammates need help and be there for them. Be willing to learn with fundamentals skills or outside of that.”


Another one of Val’s former teammates,  Fabiola Reyes, said, “I would describe Val as a funny and awkward person and very strong hearted. She’s very kind to the people she cares for. I first met Val in my sophomore year when I tried out for the girls basketball team, we both were running behind the other girls on the track, that was when we first spoke to each other. She has become one of my closest friends and she was one of my best teammates back when I was playing basketball, she’s someone I can count on and even with this quarantine we still talk to each other almost everyday. My favorite memory was when we went to the movies with my team, Val was sitting next to me and I just remembered laughing a lot that day, it was fun. Val is a one of a kind person by the way she carries herself and by the things she values in life.”


In the fall, Lopez will be attending Cal State Long Beach. “It was a hard choice, but I decided to go with a local college. I originally thought that I would be going out of state or at the least I would be going a bit farther from home, but in the end I wanted Cal State Long Beach. I will still be able to have my job and Long Beach has a bit of everything. The beach, amusement parks (when they re-open), mounts are a couple hours away.”


Lastly, Val wants to thank “my coaches for encouraging me and believing in me to be the best I can be and also the little things too. The banquets after each season, the team bonding college basketball games where we would build on our basketball iq, the movie nights over summer league, and all the other team bonding activities. Also, I want to thank my family for getting me to the games and allowing me to reach my potential with everything I put my mind to. Lastly, I want to thank my teammates for supporting me through basketball and also life in general.”

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