Lively, peppy, speedy, and active — all of these adjectives and more could be used to describe Pueblo Central’s Isabella "Bella" Guzman, who's well known for the energy she brings to the school's sports programs.
The sophomore Wildcat can often be seen bouncing around the Central campus participating in various sports. In the fall she's on the volleyball court, come winter she's a fixture in the basketball gym and she finishes the year off each spring on the tennis courts.
Guzman said she also used to play lacrosse but "had too many things going on and we (Central) don't have a team here."
Despite her fully-loaded sports schedule, Guzman's No. 1 love is volleyball. She hopes to use her skills to help her tenacious team advance to this year's playoffs and beyond.
“I played volleyball at a very young age,” Guzman said. “I played on traveling teams and I played club as well. I hate to lose and I hope to someday play (NCAA Division I) volleyball so I will just try my hardest.”
Last year as a freshman, Guzman surged onto the team and finished second overall in kills behind senior Gabrielle Dunich. This year, she's again among the team's leaders in kills. Her energy on the court is unmatched by most people.
However, Guzman wasn’t always like this. She said she doubted herself along the way and and almost quit several times. But in the end, she realized she already had put so much time and effort into the sport that there was no way for her to end her career without giving it her all.
“Sometimes I felt like wasn’t good enough or 'I'm not going to make it' or 'I should be done with this' or 'I’m wasting my time,'” Guzman said. “But you have to have the mentality to just keep going and just believe in yourself.
“A lot of what helps me is just the dream. I want to go to Nebraska for college. So I watch them on TV and go to volleyball camps. I'm like, 'I could be just like those girls if I work hard enough,' and that just lifts my spirits and I tell myself, ‘No, I could do this. (I) believe in me.”
Guzman believes her talent and determination will eventually help her reach those goals. For the time being, she has her mind set on this season and trying to improve herself for her team.
“I just need to get better,” Guzman said. “With every pass and making more serves and definitely encourage my teammates. I just want to go to playoffs again this year and go further.”
In spite of her youth, Guzman already has accumulated some accolades in her career and is hoping to add to them this season.
“Last year I got two awards, Breakout Player of the Year for volleyball, and I made the all-defensive team as a freshman,” Guzman said. “That was really big.”
Along with the awards, Guzman has been asked to play on a national team and travel to Spain to compete. She said she's not sure if she'll be going on that adventure just yet, she's just concentrating on helping the Wildcats get through a tough league schedule.
Christopher Abdelmalek is a sports reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @chowebacca
This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: High-energy Guzman helping to lead Pueblo Central volleyball program