Commentary

Kaplan's hard work is paying off

Updated: March 30, 2009, 3:58 PM ET
By Damon Harker | Special to ESPNRISE.com

Editor's note: ESPNHS is ESPNRISE.com's high school journalism program. Student reporters from across the country cover sports and athletes from their schools.

[+] EnlargeKristopher Kaplan
Courtesy David J HernandezKristopher Kaplan hopes the Spartans will be state champions this season.

Sports can have a monumental effect on people's lives. They can be life-changing or they can even be a part of a person's life. For athletes at Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas, this is no exception, and for senior baseball player Kristopher Kaplan, hard work means just another day on the field.

Kaplan has played varsity baseball for four years and has been the captain for two. He is the first to tell you that hard work is what got him there. Not very many players make the varsity team as a freshmen, let alone be a two-year captain. Kaplan has done both. He also maintains a 4.38 GPA and has shown that he knows exactly what to do to get it done on and off the field. He is an example to his teammates showing that hard work and dedication pay off.

"I stay at my level by working out, running every day and extra time at the batting cages," said Kaplan, who hit .410 with 20 RBI last season.

Kaplan's future looks bright, but what he has learned on the baseball field is priceless. He says baseball has taught him how to work with other people, and it has made him mentally aware of the challenges that life brings. It has also kept him in shape and has brought a lot of happiness.

"Hitting a home run against Centennial in the playoffs last year," is Kaplan's most memorable moment. Centennial is Cimarron's main rival, and Kaplan said he always has a good time competing against them.

Kaplan has high expectations for his final season as a Spartan. Last year, Cimarron-Memorial lost in the regional playoffs, and the Spartans plan on turning things around. As captain of the team, Kaplan said he plans on working harder than ever, and he hopes his team will win state.

Kaplan is headed to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to play baseball for the Runnin' Rebels on a full-ride scholarship.

"The recruiting process was really fast. They talked to the coach for a while, and then they heard about me, and then they watched me play. It was one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and I'm really excited to go play there."

Playing for a Division I school is a big deal. Kaplan's dad introduced him to the sport as a boy. As he started growing up he eventually started playing more and more until it was his dream to be in Major League Baseball. Kaplan has sports icons, but says his parents are his true heroes "because they're always giving me advice, telling me what's right and wrong."

With a bright past and a promising future, best wishes to Kristopher and the Cimarron-Memorial Spartans this season and on their adventure to become state champions.

Damon Harker is a senior at Cimarron-Memorial. Check out Damon's profile and talk to him about this article.