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Captain utilizes leadership abilities on court

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Tali Hill (center) attempts to block a shot during a home game against Parlier, Jan 9.

Completing the switch from Clovis North, a big public school with almost 1200 students in attendance, to a small private school, was a big step down for Senior Natalya Hill. She was surprised how closed and quiet Fresno Christian could seem at times. 

However, Natalya (also known as Tali around campus) helps people break out of their shells and become more welcoming. She continuously uses her voice to speak out about issues she had noticed throughout her time on campus.

“At Clovis North, people are more open to others around them that they may not be familiar with,” Hill said. “They introduce themselves and include the new people. At FCS, the sense of community is insane. If you’re new, you have to fight to get in the community that has already been established throughout the years.”

She arrived on the campus as a sophomore and never looked back. Working to fit into the close-knit community, Hill aimed to be increasingly involved with campus activities and decided to try basketball. She had played for the previous four years and hoped it would all come around at FC.

Tali encouraged me to be a better player. Her drive and dedication feeds off on the entire team. Whenever I’m not in a good mood she always knows how to use her motivational skills to make me feel better. Tali is a great leader and she’s a very integral part of our team. — Ashley Zamarripa 

“My past experience and knowledge of basketball made it super easy for me to jump into FC basketball,” Hill said. “The team’s inviting and warm nature made me feel welcome and comfortable right off the bat so the chemistry has always been there. In the past, I was more of a bench player with less control of my body. I’ve always been a ‘monster on defense’ and never really anything else. It wasn’t until this year that I’ve started to gain control and widen my skill set.”

Head coach Robert Foshee was pleased to see Hill on the court during her sophomore year, noticing she had possessed special from the beginning. Her leadership qualities blossomed as she became more adjusted to the team and the players.

“When Tali is playing pressure defense, tt fires up the rest of the team and throws the momentum into our favor,” Foshee said. “She has been our leader this year in charges taken and her defense rallies the other players to elevate their level. Tali is able to bring basketball knowledge to the court as well as intensity. Her intensity shines during important stretches of games that helps the rest of the team do better.

“I expect Tali to keep up her vital role on the team,” Foshee continued. “Her role includes rebounding, high energy, court awareness and pressure defense.”

Hill makes the effort to learn outside of school as well. She wants to know more about how the world works and wants to educate herself as often as possible.

“In my downtime I’m always trying to learn more about general things,” Tali said. “I’m always searching for different things to read. I try to look up interesting topics that might interest me on YouTube. I also try and stay active by working on my game outside of practice.”

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Hill (#15) is known on the court for her passion and energy. 

Her teammates have also been a critical part of her three-year run at FC. Ashley Zamarripa, ‘19, has competed with Hill since her freshman year and appreciates the energy and enthusiasm Hill brings to the court.

“Tali encouraged me to be a better player,” Zamarripa said. “Her drive and dedication feeds off on the entire team. Whenever I’m not in a good mood she always knows how to use her motivational skills to make me feel better. Tali is a great leader and she’s a very integral part of our team.”

With league play kicking off, Hill’s ambition is to help her team reach Selland Arena and continue their streak of winning. Ultimately, she desires to win a valley championship ring.

For more profiles, read PROFILE: Wyatt Koop takes charge on court. For more sports information, visit Campus winter sports preview 2017-18.

This author can be reached via Twitter @suky_cheema and via email: Suky Cheema

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