Ella Baptista is one of just five members of the senior class at Fryeburg Academy to play three sports all four years of her high school career.
“Ella is one of the most unique kids we have who is below the radar athletically,” said Athletic Director Sue Thurston. “She is the athlete who shows up, works hard, plays hard, never questions and just gets her role on every team done. She has played soccer, cross-country and Mountain biked in the fall seasons, Nordic and indoor track in the winter and Ultimate Frisbee in the spring. She always smiles and just enjoys competing. She may never get any award as she has tried all sports but she has made the most of every opportunity and played whatever role needed. She is all about becoming the best version of herself.”
Residence: Fryeburg, Maine.
Year in school: Senior.
Sports you play: “Soccer, indoor track and Ultimate Frisbee.”
Why did you choose this sport? “I have played soccer for about 10 years. I originally started playing because it’s something my older brother played and it looked like fun. I continued to play because I have so much fun playing on a team and I’ve always been lucky to play with a group of competitive and supportive players.”
What do you enjoy most about this sport: “I play Ultimate Frisbee in the spring, which is probably my favorite sport in my favorite season! I enjoy all aspects of this game from practices to tournaments. There’s nothing better than a sunny day tossing a disc with friends!”
How has competing in sports changed you as a person (give an example): “I think of myself as an introvert. When I am feeling the support of my teammates, I think it brings out a confidence in me that allows me to come out of my shell. I remember my freshman year I came to Fryeburg Academy as a shy and nervous 14-year-old, but when I met my teammates, it made starting at a new school so much easier.”
During this period of COVID-19, what has been the most difficult adjustment (and why): “I have had a very hard time with the uncertainty of it all. I am trying to remain hopeful and stay positive but it’s difficult to look forward to a practice or a game or a season...and then have it canceled. Also, I’ve missed my teammates! I do appreciate how much effort all the coaches have put into everything for us though.”
What is your favorite sports memory: “One of my favorite sports memories is in 2019 when I was asked to step in and play on the boys Ultimate Frisbee team for one game. It was exciting to be on the same team as my brother, Manny, before he graduated high school.”
What is your most disappointing sports memory: “I would say missing an entire Ultimate Frisbee season was completely heartbreaking for me. As happy as I am to be playing soccer this season, I felt that same sense of disappointment when the announcement was made that our school was moved to ‘yellow’ and our first game, my ‘Senior Game’ was canceled.”
How have sports prepared you for your future (be it career path or approach to life): “Through sports and competition I’ve learned the importance of self-motivation and determination. Those have been two very important things I’ve needed as I work towards my college goals, especially during COVID when so many in-person events have been canceled.”
Name a coach who has made a difference in your life and in what way: “I swam with the Saco Valley Swim Team up until 2018 and I will always remember my coaches Margi Wright and Bob Magg. They were so supportive and pushed me to work hard and push myself every day.”
What are your future goals: “I would love to continue to play Ultimate Frisbee in college!
How long have you played each: “I have been playing soccer ever since I was young, whether it was on the rec team or kicking the soccer ball around with my siblings I have been playing soccer ever since I can remember.”
What are your pre-game rituals: “I don’t necessarily have a pre-game ritual that I can think of, but I love to talk to my teammates and catch up with my classmates before any big game or competition.”
Favorite food: “I really like Clif bars, and usually have one each day before practice.”
Favorite movie: “I love all sorts of movies and can’t choose just one! I am interested in so many different subjects and genres I love choosing from a variety.”
Favorite senior athlete: “Raider athletes are AWESOME! I love playing alongside all my fellow senior athletes.”
Favorite subject: “I have always loved history and really enjoy all my history classes at Fryeburg Academy.”
Favorite athlete: “There are so many amazing athletes to look up to as a young female, Megan Rapinoe, KJersti Buaas, Colleen Quigley, Jessie Diggins, etc, but one of my all-time favorite athletes is Angel Collinson. Angel Collinson is a professional freeskier and mountaineer who holds so many awesome records; she uses her platform to advocate for social and environmental justice all while adventuring insane mountains around the globe.”
Favorite sports team: “Gotta love rooting for the Fryeburg Raiders!”
Advice for future Raiders: “Being a Raider is awesome! I would advise you to try new things; try a few different sports, a different position on the field or maybe a different way to cross-train for your regular season sports (hiking, swimming, mountain biking, backcountry skiing are some of my favorites). Take advantage of the amazing place we live by getting out into the mountains!”