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Athletes of the Month: Gabe Nazemi & Payton Barber

Athlete of the Month: Gabe Nazemi

Photo by Bruce Twitchell, MFA Photography

Gabe Nazemi:

Coeur d’Alene High School

Gabe Nazemi is a 16-year-old junior at Coeur d’Alene High School where he has been a varsity soccer player since his freshman year.

He plans on continuing to play soccer in college though where he will attend or what area of study remains to be decided. “I don’t know what the future holds. God will open doors hopefully through scholarships,” Gabe said.

In spite of his athletic ability, adapting to high school soccer was a challenge. Gabe said the game is much faster and more physical, and he credits his teammates for making the transition smoother. “Adapting was made easier thanks to team captains and comradeship,” Gabe said.

Asked what he liked most about playing soccer, he said all of it; there was nothing he could pick out as his favorite. But the game and his coaches have given him words of wisdom that he will take with him beyond the field.

“It’s important to take advice from coaches and adults and apply it to your life,” Gabe said. “Coaches, leaders and teachers aren’t out to get you—they’re out to [make] you better.”

Athlete of the Month: Payton Barber

Photos by Jason Duchow Photography & Cheryl Nichols Photography

Payton Barber:

Lake City High School

Payton Barber is a 17-year-old senior at Lake City High School who has lettered three times in soccer and four in basketball. She enjoys basketball for the competition and how practice forces each player to do their best.

“The biggest challenge [I] have had with my sports is continuing to try my hardest when I’m having a rough game,” Payton said. “I overcame that by realizing the game continues, and one missed shot is no big deal.”

Her sports teams have been like a second family, and she cherishes the experiences she’s shared with them during each practice and game.

“I have had some of the best moments and laughs with my team that I will never forget, and that will always be what was impressed upon me rather than my ending season record,” she said.

Payton also credits her coaches Bryan Kelly and James Anderson and her parents for their support.

“I would like to thank my mom specifically for always being my coach and fostering my love for basketball,” Payton said.

Next year, she plans on studying business at a nearby college. She will focus on her academics and eventually use her degree to open her own bakery or restaurant.

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