Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Student-Athlete of the Week: Yingying Chen


In a school where academic demands often crowd out other interests, Yingying Chen was an anomaly.

A top student, Chen earned a 4.525 GPA in Niwot’s grueling IB program, for which she was named the Class of 2017 Salutatorian. She took five Advanced Placement (AP) tests in her time at Niwot, and graduated with a perfect transcript. She was also a member of the school’s state championship robotics team, as well as a concert master in the orchestra during her sophomore year.

But for all of her scholastic achievements, it’s her four-year stint on the Cougar basketball team that the Berkeley-bound Chen will look back on most fondly.

“My time on the Niwot girls’ basketball team has been the best part of high school,” she said. “Of course, I’ve learned about perseverance, commitment, and teamwork; however, I’ve also had the chance to meet people I would have never even talked to on a normal day. If I did not play basketball, I would have been stuck in the IB bubble throughout most of high school.”

As starting point-guard and team captain, Chen averaged 6.7 points-per-game during her senior year. She led the team in assists, with 48, and had 24 rebounds and 15 steals. She also shot 44% from three-point range, up from just 24% her junior year.

As for balancing the rigors of the court with the rigors of the classroom, Chen said that it was “difficult but still very doable.” She strongly encourages other IB students to join an athletic team, because, “it helps reduce procrastination and improves time management skills”.

“Playing basketball actually helped me manage my time better since I only had a limited amount of time to do my homework,” she explained. “When I knew I had a game, I had to plan ahead and do my homework ahead of time or do it on the bus.”

Next year, Chen will attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she plans to major in mechanical engineering. After college she hopes to go to graduate school for a MBA. Though her basketball career is at an end for now, Chen says it will always have a special place in her memory.

“Finishing my basketball career with my team at Niwot was more than anything I could have hoped for,” she said. “I greåw so much through the program and met so many wonderful friends.”


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