Passionate Winter Athletes Reflect On Their Love Of The Game

An in-depth look on some winter sports athletes


Sruthi Ramesh

Nathan Bobikiewicz takes a shot in last year’s district game against Troy.

Ally Schniepp, Sports Editor

As the winter season heats up, the passion of the athletes for their sports starts to shine through. Whether that is on the court, in the pool, or on the mats, each athlete here at Liberty is dedicated to their sport in their own way. Sophomore Mariah Mhandu and junior Nathan Bobikiewicz are passionate about basketball and junior Elektra Lowe loves wrestling. 

Nathan Bobikiewicz

Junior Nathan Bobikiewicz has been playing basketball for nine years, since he was around 7 or 8 years old. He has been on the varsity basketball team since his freshman year.

“I just love playing,” Bobikiewicz said. “I love the environment of basketball. I love the people it brings me around. That’s why I keep playing.”

Bobikiewicz shows his passion on the court, from his aggressive offense that has earned him an average of 15 points a game so far this season to his rebounding, which he averages around seven rebounds a game. It is obvious how much love he has for both the sport and his teammates.

“Definitely winning,” Bobikiewicz said when asked what his favorite part of basketball was. “But also growing with your team and building chemistry with your teammates. Learning from your mistakes, learning what you can do better.”

Bobikiewicz embodies what it means to be a good teammate and a strong player at the same time.

Mariah Mhandu shoots a free throw after being fouled on a layup. (Kira Radichel)

Mariah Mhandu

Sophomore Mariah Mhandu has played basketball for around five years, since she was 11. Mhandu has also played on the varsity team since her freshman year. 

“I like how it’s a team sport,” Mhandu said. “Everyone is always involved, super fast sport, I like the environment it creates.”

Mhandu is a strong defender for the Eagles team, with 18 rebounds so far this season. She is a young player for the program and is much like a graduated player for the program, Toni Patterson. 

Mhandu enjoys being a part of a team and playing with her teammates. One of her favorite memories of the program was a team building exercise she did her freshman year, where the team had to communicate with each other to get the task done.

“It feels like a family,” Mhandu said.

Elektra Lowe

Junior Elektra Lowe started wrestling in eighth grade and is currently in her fourth year of wrestling. She has been one of the first lady wrestlers for Liberty and is a big part of building the girl’s program up for wrestling.

“I’m glad to be a part of the team and see it grow over time,” Lowe said. “For my senior year, I hope there are more girls out there than the five this year.”

Elektra Lowe wrestles at the Liberty Invitational meet. (Cody Cushing)

Lowe has a record of 82 wins and 29 losses so far in her high school career. Earlier this season at the Liberty Girls Invitational Tournament, Lowe had  the fastest pin of the night, clocking in at 12 seconds. 

“I love wrestling because it lets me grow as an individual and also grow confidence,” Lowe said. “I love showing that girls can do the same thing as guys.” 

Lowe plans to continue building her skills and working hard the rest of the season, and the rest of her high school career.