What makes athletes great

The habits exhibited by top athletes of Carlmont
From left to right: Kaylee Kim, Katie Peacock, Aleccio Blythe, and Daniel Mattioli. These four excel in their respective sports as high school athletes at Carlmont High School.
From left to right: Kaylee Kim, Katie Peacock, Aleccio Blythe, and Daniel Mattioli. These four excel in their respective sports as high school athletes at Carlmont High School.
Alyssa Bish
Extraordinary habits

With one shot, one opportunity, to decide the outcome of the game, teams will rest their hopes on the shoulders of their greatest player. 

But what makes these athletes great? Standing at the pinnacle of a sport is no easy feat. Through extensive research of some of the top athletes at Carlmont High School, several distinctive patterns of an athlete’s success were identified.

The athletic world is a competition in itself. While people may play as a team, each individual is competing against each other for recognition. 

Athletes work to set themselves apart from one another and to stand out among those within their sport. While many factors contribute to an athlete’s success, it ultimately comes down to one’s determination, mindset, work ethic, and motivation. 

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), about 8 million U.S. students participate in high school athletics yearly. The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) reported out of these 8 million high school athletes, roughly 480,000 of them continued playing in college.

While playing a sport in college is no easy path alone, many aspire to continue their athletic career and strive to play professionally. However, fewer than 2% of NCAA college athletes reach the professional level. With slim odds of achieving this goal, it takes athletes much more than skill and talent to get far within their sport. 

Analyzing four of Carlmont’s top athletes revealed that they all exhibit exceptional qualities and techniques that have led them to greatness. Each individual demonstrates one more influential quality than the others. Aleccio Blythe’s work ethic, Kaylee Kim’s determination, Daniel Mattioli’s motivation, and Katie Peacock’s mindset illustrate there is more to success than meets the eye.

Aleccio Blythe
Aleccio Blythe

Standing at 6 feet 3 inches tall, and having a wingspan of 6 feet 6 inches, Aleccio Blythe, a senior at Carlmont, has the ideal build for a basketball player. With the ability to score on all three levels, create opportunities for others, and defend almost every position, Blythe’s basketball career is promising. 

But it wasn’t always this way.

As a general rule, many athletes who are successful in sports start dedicating themselves at a young age. Although Blythe has been playing basketball his whole life, he didn’t start working to improve his skills until the COVID-19-19 pandemic hit during his eighth grade.

“I’ve been playing since I was a little kid, but I only actually started training and taking it seriously my freshman year,” Blythe said.

Early on, Blythe’s basketball career was not promising. He didn’t stand out much from others and received little to no playing time while at Ralston Middle School. Outside of school, he played for Supreme Court, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team filled with many seniors who play on Carlmont’s varsity team.

Blythe spent most of his AAU years on Supreme Court, playing on the team from sixth grade through 10th grade. This past summer, he joined team Lakeshow, a well-known basketball organization in the Bay Area. In addition, he played a game for Jalen Green Elite, a prestigious team with many future college-level players.

He always had a love for the game, but his true basketball journey started when the pandemic hit. With all the time in the world, he pursued what he loved most.

“What inspired me to play basketball is I’ve been playing my whole life, and I need something to challenge me, something I like, something I can watch, and something I can do every day. I think just growing up with basketball gave me the passion to want to succeed in it,” said Blythe.

As the famous quote often attributed to Tim Notke goes, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” 

Blythe is an embodiment of those words, as his work ethic distinguishes him from others. His willingness to sacrifice his social life and constant drive to outwork others allows him to become great.

On many days, Blythe’s routine starts before sunrise each morning and begins with a workout at around 6 a.m. before school. As a senior, he opted not to take a first period to give himself more time to train.

“Whenever I have time, I’ll go to my St. Gregory workout at around 6:20 a.m. with my trainer, who trains a lot of Northern California guys. I’ll train in the morning, and in the afternoon, if I have practice with the Carlmont team, I’ll go to practice, but if I don’t, I’ll do another training session myself,” Blythe said.

At a typical workout, whether alone or with a trainer, he’ll head to a gym in San Francisco, College of San Mateo, Bayclub, or St. Gregory School in San Mateo. Blythe focuses specifically on pull-up shots and three-pointers during his sessions, which is essential to his game. Besides basketball skill training, he also works on his mobility and weight lifts to ensure his body is in the best shape possible.

“If I’m alone, I like to do shooting workouts with a shooting machine if I have access to one, and I’ll take 300 to 400 shots a day,” Blythe said.

On top of being able to outwork most, he has also established his ability as a leader for the Carlmont team, with his unselfishness being a key personality trait that his coach applauds.

“Aleccio Blythe has shown more maturity this season and all summer than in the past. In his senior year, he looks like he really wants to take a leadership role with this team. He’s just been outstanding. I think one of the great things about him is the unselfishness that he’s shown so far. It’s a good sign for this season coming up,” said varsity boys basketball head coach Ron Ozorio.

With his senior season coming up, he is looking to impress as he hopes to take his career to the next level.

“I want to play college basketball, whether I have to go to community college first or straight to a division III or division II school, so we’ll see how that figures itself out,” Blythe said.

Kaylee Kim
Kaylee Kim

Kaylee Kim, a current junior at Carlmont who committed to Duke University, is undoubtedly one of the best players in the Carlmont soccer program. The big question, though, is how did she get to where she is today?

Kim’s soccer story began at age 7 when she joined her first soccer team, Belmont United. While it varies, many children start playing soccer at 4, meaning Kim was a beginner among many who had more experience when she started. With immense practice, Kim worked her way up to join Mountain View Los Altos (MVLA), where she began to gain recognition. 

Even though Kim was affected by injuries at the beginning of her freshman season, she made Carlmont’s varsity soccer team, where she began her high school career. Kim’s first season at Carlmont is the most memorable, as she scored 26 goals, ranking number 314 nationally. Currently, Kim is on Bay Area Surf, a prestigious club, with her team ranking number one in Northern California. 

For Kim, her dedication and determination make her stand out and outperform the rest.

“When I get home from school, I have to immediately do homework and immediately be able to switch my mindset between school and soccer. My daily routine is usually just school, homework, soccer, and more homework,” Kim said.

On top of three weekly practices for her club team, Kim trains privately every Monday and Friday and plays games on the weekend. Even with soccer every day, Kim tries to fit in as much time as possible for homework and her friends, which can sometimes be challenging. 

“I can’t go to certain social events with my friends, like football games. Unfortunately, I miss out on many things, but it’s worth it for me,” Kim said.

Though it is not ideal, the hard work and dedication that Kim puts in pays off, as she is receiving impressive opportunities around the world. Kim recently played in the Gothia Cup in Sweden with the Norcal Professional Development Program (PDP), with her team placing second in the tournament.

In addition to representing Northern California in an international tournament, Kim played for the San Francisco Glen Soccer Club, which plays in a pre-professional league. It helped her to stand out among her high school peers while also visualizing her future potential in soccer. 

“It was an amazing opportunity to play with college and professional players in front of fans. It felt like a preview into who I would be playing with in college, and it was motivation to become like my teammates on the Glens,” Kim said.

Taking inspiration from her teammates on the Glens, Kim will play soccer in college in hopes of someday reaching the professional level. With these high expectations, Kim will continue to dedicate herself to the sport to stand out among her peers.

Daniel Mattioli
Daniel Mattioli

When you get knocked down, you get back up, and you get up stronger than before.

This is the mindset of junior Daniel Mattioli, the starting wide receiver and defensive back for Carlmont’s varsity football team. Alongside his sheer athleticism and skill, Mattiolli also demonstrates a strong, especially motivated mindset.

Mattioli grew up playing flag football as a kid and always had his eyes set on being a part of the Carlmont High School football team. Knowing he had the potential to excel in his sport, it all came down to whether he wanted it or not. 

“I looked up to the players on varsity and wanted to be better than them one day. I knew I had the potential, so I just had to prove it and get better,” Mattioli said.

Putting forth extraordinary amounts of hard work in combination with the immense support he receives from friends, family, and teammates allows him to perform to the best of his abilities. 

Although many contributors have supported his achievements, Mattioli’s motivation stems from his desire to make his parents proud. The support he receives from his parents and many around him pushes him towards his goals.

“The number one thing that drives my success would be making my dad proud. My dad always pushes me to become a better player and person,” Mattioli said. 

Mattoli’s dad, Keith Mattoli, is a former collegiate athlete for the University of Virginia, a Division 1 school, where he played football for four years.

Mattioli seeks to be his true self to stand out among his competitors, not following in the footsteps of other high school players but carving his own path.

“The thing that separates me from other players and makes me stand out is just me being myself. There will never be someone like yourself, so be unique and do what you do. I focus on being myself and not being like other players,” Mattioli said. 

Mattioli’s motivation ensures that he will always bounce back up even stronger from any obstacles he faces.

“The only way from rock bottom is up; the losses are just learning opportunities to get better and do better next time,” Mattioli said.

Katie Peacock
Katie Peacock

Katie Peacock, a junior at Carlmont High School, excels in her athletics and is a prominent leader on both the track and cross-country teams. For Peacock, her mindset separates her from other runners.

Peacock is the fastest female runner for cross-country and track, with a mile time of 5:06 and a three-mile time of 18:18. Despite these stats, Peacock’s running career started just three years ago as a freshman.

“I never ran in middle school or anything like that, but I always kind of just knew I was going to do a track and cross country in high school,” Peacock said.

Not only did Peacock establish herself as one of the fastest girls at Carlmont her freshman year, but she also began to climb the ranks of runners in the Bay Area. In just her first season, she was awarded the Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) All-League title. The following year, Peacock was appointed the captain of the running teams and yet again earned herself the PAL title.

Peacock had to do much more than physically train to earn these awards. Running is all about mentality. She had to constantly push past her limits to prepare for her competitions, which took great mental strength and perseverance. 

“Sometimes it hurts a lot in the workouts, but you just have to learn how to push through that and deal with it because the pain makes you stronger,” Peacock said. 

Peacock’s drive to outperform the masses gives her the extra push to keep going. When her body tells her to slow down, her mind pushes her past the point where most athletes would stop.

That mentality also makes her a great leader in her teams. When asked what separates her from her teammates, Peacock advocates the team’s hard work instead of her own.

“We have a very strong team this year, and I commend the whole team for that. I think I, along with other girls, really try to push ourselves hard every day,” Peacock said. 

Peacock’s mindset, comprised of hard work and dedication, will serve her in the future, hopefully earning herself a college career in running.

“I would love to get recruited to run in college. If I run division one in college, that would be amazing. I still have a lot of work to do to get there. I need to improve times a little bit, but that is my goal,” Peacock said.

While it is unclear what the future holds for Peacock, it is clear that both her drive and mentality will be the reasons for her success.

About the Contributors
Alyssa Bish
Alyssa Bish, Photo Editor
Alyssa Bish (Class of 2025) is a current photojournalist and editor for Scot Scoop. This is her second year in the journalism program and she is super excited to continue taking pictures for this award-winning program. In her spare time, you can find Alyssa on the field playing soccer on either her club team or the Carlmont varsity team. View her journalism website here: Alyssa Bish Photojournalism
Franklin Kuo
Franklin Kuo, Staff Writer
Franklin Kuo (class of 2025) is in his second year in the journalism program. In his free time, you can find him playing basketball, watching sports, or listening to music. Twitter: @FranklinKuo2
Isabella Rice
Isabella Rice, Staff Writer
Isabella Rice (class of 2025) is a Junior at Carlmont High School and a second-year writer for Scot Scoop. Within the journalism program, she focuses on athletics and is often found taking photos at sports games or writing match reports. Outside of school, she can be found playing soccer for her club team or for Carlmont's Varsity soccer and lacrosse teams.

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