Senior Spotlight: Summit’s Becca Jane Rosko, Meg Rose, Dekota Rhodes and Lexi Zangari
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Editor’s note: This is third in a three-part homecoming series on senior athletes. For all three installments, see the sports section at www.summitdaily.com for more photos and extended athlete Q&As.
It’s homecoming in the High Country, and that means Summit High will be taking on rivals with school pride on the line.
Halfway through the fall sports season, the Summit Daily News connected with seniors from six varsity sports — boy’s soccer, girl’s rugby, football, volleyball and cross-country, plus the statewide mountain bike league — for an inside glimpse at Tigers athletics.
Lexi Zangari, No. 4
Call her “machine,” “cannon” or “squatch” (on account of her size 12 feet) — Lexi Zangari is a threat on the volleyball court. Now in her 13th indoor season, the senior is an all-around leader for the Tigers, with a keen sense for on-court strategy and the skills to back it up.
After 10 games, she’s put up impressive numbers: 44 kills, 53 digs and a team-leading 92 assists, all from the backline. And she does it all at a modest 5 feet, 8 inches.
First volleyball memory: I started back in fifth grade and had an instant passion for the sport. (It helped that I had an incredible older sister’s footsteps to follow.) What kept me coming back was my constant wish to keep improving!
HS career highlights: Freshman year, when our varsity team’s losing streak came to an end and we won every single game halfway through the season. We really came together as a team, and it was an amazing experience for me, since it was my first time on the team playing at a higher level.
Favorite off-court memory: (They’re) all from practice and bus rides to games. I love that we all have inside jokes and all get along well, both on and off the court. I mean, they can make me laugh so hard, I cry.
If I weren’t playing volleyball…: I honestly can’t answer that question. Volleyball is and always has been such a huge part of my life, and it makes me who I am. I can’t imagine a life without this sport.
Pre-game meal: I try to drink a ton of water before I play so that I don’t get an awful headache later. I don’t eat much, because if I do, it feels like I’m slower. I try to eat chicken and other proteins, and any fruit I can get my hands on.
Post-game ritual: I like to celebrate with my team. For me, the celebration means the most right when it happens. There’s nothing better than screaming in each other’s faces after a hard-earned win.
Pump-up music: I have a habit of dancing to any music that plays, so I actually try to not focus on it.
Superstition: Each person writes down a personal fear about the game on a piece of paper. We take turns and share our fear (if we choose to do so) and then say a goal. We crumple up and dispose of the paper as a symbol of letting go of our fear as a team.
Biggest rivalry: We have always really gone after Battle Mountain. It’s been a while since we have won against them, but I know our team is determined to fight when we play them at home on Oct. 20. See you there!
Dekota Rhodes, No. 49
Dekota Rhodes is that rare football player who can take a position — any position — and figures out the intricacies in one or two practices. He has a mind for the game, from his go-to position as starting running back to a recent stint as quarterback, when starter Luke Notaro went out with a head injury. He also plays special teams and, on occasion, makes a tackle or two in the defensive backfield. At 6 feet and 175 pounds, he’s far from the biggest guy on the gridiron, but he’s fast, nimble and, well, just plain smart.
Like many top athletes, Rhodes is also humble. He doesn’t talk much about the sport — he just plays, simple enough. And he has the stats to back it up, with an average of 57 yards per game in the first two matchups of the season. He doesn’t have a touchdown yet — the team as a whole has struggled to find the end zone — but he’ll be an indispensible cog in the offensive machine when the Tigers (1-3) take on cross-county rival Eagle Valley (3-1) for homecoming.
First football memory: The first time I played was in seventh grade and I thought it was the best sport ever.
HS career highlight: Just making touchdowns.
Favorite practice memory: The time I made a teammate puke from hitting him so hard.
If I weren’t playing football…: Nothing, because it’s life to me.
Pre-game meal: Don’t have one.
Post-game ritual: Don’t have a way.
Pump-up music: Couldn’t say.
Superstition: I sleep in and wear my game-day socks.
Biggest rival: Glenwood Springs.
Meg Rose, No. 13
Does Meg Rose feel pressure as co-captain of the state champion Tigers rugby team? Hardly. The senior has the strength, power and rugby smarts to pick through opposing teams, head coach Karl Barth says. She’s also more than willing to let everyone on the pitch know what needs to be done.
“She is the vocal leader of the team, definitely,” Barth says. “Of the two captains, she’s the one who’s the speaker, and she’s worked hard over the years.”
After four games, Meg Rose (teammates and teachers use her full name) leads the girl’s team with eight tries. She also pulls her weight on defense, setting the team up for another undefeated start and (hopefully) an eighth state championship in eight years. When it’s finished, Meg Rose is eyeing a full-ride scholarship to East Coast colleges like Dartmouth College and Quinnipiac University — and she’s only been playing for five years.
First rugby memory: It was eighth grade and I was starting in my first high school JV game. I was scared to death until I took the field, then I was having too much fun to be nervous anymore. Since then, I have never looked back. I love rugby. I love the rugby culture. I love my Summit rugby family!
HS career highlight: Definitely all of the traveling. Summit has been to Wisconsin, Kansas City, Philadelphia and State in Denver each year. I have also been playing for Atlantis Rugby, which has taken me to national and international tournaments in New York, Las Vegas and Atlanta. These trips have been so much fun, both on the pitch and off.
Favorite off-pitch memory: My favorite memories from rugby come from our trips. Whether it is on a bus, plane, van, or subway, traveling with my teams is sure to have its fair share of shenanigans along the way. Getting separated on the subway platform before we even boarded the train in NYC, wheelchair rides through security in Philadelphia, billets in Kansas City — I have amazing memories from each trip.
If I wasn’t playing rugby…: If I wasn’t in rugby, I would probably be doing cross-country during the fall season because I love to run. I would also be starting my ice hockey season, which usually takes a backseat to rugby until early November.
Pre-match meal: Definitely chocolate chip pancakes!
Post-game ritual: I love celebrating with my teammates after a big win and then comparing our battle wounds, bruises and aches.
Pump-up song: “Salsa Tequila,” (by Anders Nilson). It’s silly and fun. I love to work out to anything with a good beat, and it has to be loud!
Superstitions: I am the team braider! I braid most of my teammates’ hair before each game. It may be superstitious, but some girls also say they have to have me do it to help them play well. I listen to calming music in the car and then I change it to “pump-up music” right before I get out of the car.
Biggest rival: (It has) always been ourselves. We are constantly pushing each other to play better, and we strive to play a perfect, flawless game. Each week the varsity team positions are all up for grabs — starters must keep performing in games and in practice to keep their positions. There are always three or four JV players who are eager to prove themselves and snatch a varsity position if someone begins to slack off a bit. This is part of what has made Summit rugby such a strong program and has led us to seven straight state championships.
Becca Jane Rosko, No. 15
Along with Meg Rose, four-year rugby star Becca Jane Rosko is co-captain of a powerhouse Summit team with multiple state championships. She’s the yin to Meg Rose’s yang, and, after playing in hundreds of matches across the world, Rosko knows the best teams have a squad of strong leaders, not a single outspoken captain.
“Becca has incredible experience,” Barth says. “She’s by far the most experienced player on the team — She’s played more games than just about anyone.”
Aside from the high school season, Rosko has started on Atlantis Rugby teams and played for the Team USA Junior Olympic team in China. She was named to the high school All-American crew last season, and she’s now eyeing a spot on the USA team for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. An injury in the first game has kept her off the field recently, but Barth expects her to return before the season is finished.
First rugby memory: My freshman year I chose rugby over volleyball. I liked the rugby crowd, and I definitely was not the best player, but I did enjoy it. I remember I didn’t pick up on tackling very fast, but I never gave up. I enjoyed the challenge of rugby — I realized it was an amazing thrill.
HS career highlight: Being surrounded by other girls with a similar passion as me. You don’t find that kind of bond very much and rugby has shown that to me. I also have really enjoyed watching the different types of teams each year I’ve spent here at the high school. Each rugby season, (the) team has taught me to appreciate the bonds around me and the people I’m getting to share rugby with.
Favorite off-pitch memory: The travels I have gone on with Summit rugby, such as nationals in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, or just trips to Kansas City or Utah. They are so special to me because there’s never a bad moment, even after a tough game. I am sharing the passion for rugby with others, and that’s something I will never forget about Summit rugby.
If I wasn’t playing rugby…: I would be training for future rugby events. If I didn’t play rugby at all, I would most likely be playing volleyball because I wouldn’t have thought to play rugby.
Pre-match meal: Probably any kind of pasta and salad!
Post-game ritual: Curl up in cozy clothes, watch a movie and treat myself to some ice cream with some of my teammates.
Pump-up music: I like most anything when it comes to music and working out, except heavy metal.
Superstition: The night before a game I lay in bed and visualize what I want to do in the game. Also, I always have to put my socks on a certain way before my games.
Biggest rival: All of the progressing girls on my team and around the country, because in order to increase my success and learning, I have to go against the younger girls and girls my age. They are the people that will make you better, whether you realize it or not, so that’s why they’re my biggest rival. It doesn’t have to necessarily be the other team because it’s all the other girls filled with potential and talent that push me to my limits.
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