Freshman Confession: Pranks Played on Underclassmen in Athletics

Saylor Stottlemyer, Reporter


Throughout the Durango High School Sports Community, young freshmen join various sports only to encounter upperclassmen looking for entertainment. Hazing in different sports can be very amusing, but it can also cause embarrassment to the freshmen involved.

Animas High School senior Claire Larson has competed on the Swim and Dive team for four consecutive years and said that freshmen have always been at the bottom of the food chain.

“On the team, upperclassmen get first pick in swim bags, swim warm up outfits (hoodie and sweats), seats on the bus when traveling for meets, room assignments in hotels when traveling for meets, and where the team will eat when traveling for meets,” said Larson.

The head dive coach of the DHS Swim and Dive Team, Mark Fleming, has coached on the team since the 2011-2012 season, and has seen seniority throughout his entire career .

“There were clear roles of freshmen and clear roles of seniors during the first head coach that I coached alongside. Freshmen had to double up on bus seats, they did not get first pick on rooms, and they had to sweep the bus when we returned from a meet. It has since fazed out,” said Fleming.

Kiley Ryan, a DHS freshman who competed on the girls softball team was personally not treated differently, but some of her classmates were pranked during the season.

“They hid their gear under the bus, they took their cleats and left them in the hotel room, and they put ink on the toilets so that the middle of the night freshmen would wake up and sit on all of the ink,” said Ryan.

Leland Heinicke, the only freshman on the varsity soccer team last fall, didn’t experience hazing on the team, but the upperclassmen would give him a hard time occasionally.

“For my first trip with the varsity team, I was going to share a bed with a senior, and I really didn’t want to, and I was scared, so I tried to sleep in the closet. But then [head coach] Dalon [Parker] came into the room and saw me in the closet and made me get in the bed,” said Heinicke.

DHS junior Abby Scott competes in both Track and Field and Cross-Country for the school and says team pranks typically stem from a foundation of seniority, and not for plain amusement.

“The back of the bus is generally left for upperclassmen; however as a team we strive to mix ages a lot to prevent there from being a noticeable division between upper and underclassmen. Many of the seniors never treated me differently than older athletes,” said Scott.

Many underclassmen in the DHS athletic programs have never been pranked, and much of the “hazing” that has happened over the years has been fazed out. Still, the legacy of hazing in high school sports remains, and freshmen will remain on the bottom of the athletic food chain.