Isabella Ratti Hillsdale Female Athlete of the Year

Athlete of the Year:  Intangibles; Isabella Ratti Athletics Awards Night 5/22/17

A well rounded, high achieving 3 sport Athlete, who competes year round, in Water Polo, Soccer and Track and Field.  That is the basic description.  An Athlete, who excels in those three sports, is a rarity at the high school level.  Leading scorer, best defender, or highest jumper, measureable stats witnessed over the past 4 years here.  The stats, the performances, the wins, those basics are measureable, and she has been part of them all.  Coaches, the press, parents and students often spend a lot of time dissecting the “stats” around student athletes.  Sure, performance is important.  Winning is important, Stats are important.  However, more important and equally wonderful, is what I’m here to recognize.  When it comes to Isabella Ratti, the “I” stands for intangibles.

Intangibles in athletics aren’t easily spotted by the casual observer, and are not measured quite so easily or objectively.  Often they are hard to quantify but are considered by many more important than the raw skills such as a 40 time, or the bench press max in the weight room.  When you spend enough game time and practice time with an athlete like Bella you start to witness the magic of the intangibles.  They are the “stuff” that makes up the core of the student athlete she is, one that EVERY coach should be lucky enough to have on a team.

I have had the pleasure of coaching Isabella over the past four years in water polo and have watched her develop as a student athlete, leader and role model here at Hillsdale High School. She understands the concepts of quality practice, and strives to get better each and every day.  She is rare combination, and you can see the younger student athletes can’t help but look up to her in and out of the water. Included in her accomplishments would be the standard list of individual recognitions for her performance in all three sports, Coach’s Award in Soccer, Most Improved and MVP in Track, and MVP in Water Polo.  These awards are earned because of the skill and quality character she exhibits as a team member.   She is just a straight “from the ground up” team leader and it comes back to those intangibles-Her Mindset, Her Personal Drive, her willingness to accept a role in the team and excel…So much more important than goals per game, blocks, or other measureable “in-game stats”.

She has a calm demeanor, and leads by example, tough AND consistent, always pushing herself and therefore also driving the team higher.  No matter what sport we are talking about here, Water Polo, Soccer, or Track, once you see her out there, you can tell she has “the competitive drive” and desire.  She plays particularly tenaciously in water polo with a great skill set and performs well.  I could recount the key passes, shots, or defensive stops she has been involved in, “this one time Vs. Terra Nova…”

More impressive is her stoic emotional control.  The intangible of Emotional Intelligence runs strong in her character.  Her teams benefit from her calm leadership style and her unselfish style of play.    Her potential is ever present as evidenced in her work ethic, always doing more than her part, and all with that trademark smile. Isabella always has a smile on her face and keeps a perspective on the game, the culture and the competition that is far beyond her age in years.  She possesses a maturity in that quiet confidence that makes her such a great student athlete, but again, more importantly a great person.   A student athlete performing at the top, and always embodying those magic intangibles, Isabella Ratti, in so many ways, is truly deserving of the title of “Athlete of the Year”.

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