Soccer, Track & Field
Favorite athlete: Sydney McLaughlin
Favorite team: The Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: When I was running up the field full speed with the ball, there was a girl who was sprinting to guard me. She was coming so fast that when I crossed the ball over, I “broke her ankles,” and she fell and slid on the turf.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: I was trying to flick the ball backwards over my head, and instead of making it over my head, the ball hit me square in the face. I was facing both benches, so everyone, even the other team’s bench, started laughing with me.
Music on playlist: My playlist is mostly Pop, Indie Pop, and Pop Rap, but if it is popular or well known, it will most likely be on there.
Future plans: Studying neuroscience or biochemistry in college while possibly running track and attending med school
Words to live by: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
One goal before turning 30: Go on a road trip to see the National Parks out west.
One thing people don’t know about me: I speak an Indian language called Marath.
By Mary Jane Souder
It’s an acronym that hasn’t taken off just yet. In fact, it hasn’t gone any further than a mention by Upper Moreland coach Lisa Benvenuto at the exit interviews for her players at the close of this fall’s soccer season.
“I said to the girls – we might have to get bracelets made up with WWRD – what would Reva do?” Benvenuto said. “Just so everybody could keep that in mind.”
While it's unlikely the UM coach will be ordering bracelets, her point was well taken - Reva Naik had that much of an impact on the soccer team this fall.
“I spoke to her parents on Senior Night, and I said to her mom just how fortunate I feel that I had some Reva in my life,” Benvenuto said of her senior captain. “Is she the best player on our team? No, she’s not, and she knows that, but was she pivotal in the success we had both as a team and our wins and losses and our character? Absolutely.
“The soccer team this year had a buzz about it and a feeling we haven’t had in a very long time. They are by far the closest group we’ve ever coached, and that has a lot to do with Reva and our other seniors. That’s what they were pushing.
“I say to them all the time – we rely on each other, we depend on each other. It doesn’t matter where you fall in this lineup. That’s everybody, and Reva lived that.”
Naik’s leadership style was shaped by what she learned along the way.
“I remember coming in, first sport I’m playing in high school,” the senior captain said. “Being a freshman coming into a team of mostly upperclassmen, I was scared.
“Keeping that in consideration, I made sure our team welcomed the freshmen and even the sophomores because they probably didn’t have a lot of welcoming because their first year in high school was when we were on-line (because of the COVID-19 pandemic). We hadn’t seen these people in person in a long time. I wanted to make sure they felt welcome, and they did.
“At our last game, they were like, ‘Thank you seniors for making our first year feel so welcomed and welcoming us into the team.’ It’s the closest soccer team I have ever played on.”
There’s no mistaking Naik played a role in creating the team’s unique bond, but it’s even more than that.
“She makes everybody feel seen, she makes everybody feel heard,” Benvenuto said. “Responsible is an understatement, driven is an understatement, motivated is an understatement. She’s really quite remarkable.”
Naik began playing soccer when she was seven or eight.
“I played intramural soccer with a lot of kids in my grade - It was kind of lighthearted,” she said. “I stopped playing after three years because, as a kid, I used to play a lot of different sports just to see what I liked.
“I swam for a year, I played softball for a year, I played basketball. When I got to middle school, they started offering sports, and my friends were like, ‘Oh, you should play soccer, you used to play when you were little so come back.’”
Naik came back, made the team and never left. A three-year varsity player, she earned second team all-league honors this year.
“She’s tiny, but her left foot – she’s got a cannon,” Benvenuto said. “She might be small, but she is mighty. She’s quick, she’s smart, she reads the field well.
“We had her playing on the outside flank, one of the more difficult positions on a soccer field, and you have to be able to read the game, see the game and understand not only the way your team plays but the way your opposition plays as well. She does that so well.”
As a captain, Naik brought a valued perspective to the team.
“She’s insightful,” Benvenuto said. “She knows what it’s like to be a starter, she knows what it’s like to come off the bench, and she knows what it’s like to not play.
“When you talk about the perspective she can bring to a team and bring to a situation, she’s awesome.”
Naik has been a three-sport athlete since she was a freshman, competing in soccer, basketball and track. She has been competing in track since seventh grade, and this year she will forego basketball and compete in indoor track.
“I knew I would not play basketball in college, and I want to focus on track,” she said. “Ever since I was little, my mom would say, ‘You’re so fast. You should do track.’
“I’m a really skinny person, so I get thrown around a lot. My mom said, ‘Track is an individual sport, you’re not going to get thrown around, you can focus on yourself.’”
Naik heeded her mother’s advice, although she says she was reluctant to continue with track and field when she arrived at high school.
“I told my mom I didn’t want to do track because none of my friends were doing it,” Naik said. “She’s like, ‘Just try it out for a year and see how it goes.’
“I loved it because I found my track people that I love spending time with. It’s so much different than other team sports because everyone is doing their own individual thing, but you get to practice with them, and they push you to do better.”
The SOL Freedom Division champion in the 100-meter hurdles last spring, she finished third in both triple and long jump and played an integral role in the Golden Bears capturing the division title, but Naik is hardly satisfied.
“She has been on me almost weekly about various drills and how and what we are going to do to get the most out of her senior season,” UM track coach Doug Smith said. “Reva knows that she has the potential to compete at the next level and is going to let nothing get in her way.
“She’s been getting some looks, talking to various schools, but like I’ve told her, you don’t look at schools for track, you look at schools for what it benefits you most at the next level, and she’s doing that.”
Naik has her sights set high for her final go-round in high school track.
“She came in with decent form, but she’s worked hard and really honed her craft,” Smith said. “She’s looking to repeat this year in the hurdles and hoping to make districts come spring track.
“It’s going to be fun. Sometimes you say, ‘It’s going to be interesting to see how they progress.’ This is going to be fun because she’s already looked at the indoor times she needs to hit, and she’s like, ‘Oh, I can do that,’ and I’m like, ‘Yes, you can.’ I think she’s actually going to amaze herself really because if she puts her mind to it, she’s going to be great.”
Naik has been named a captain for indoor track this winter.
“I have no doubt she’ll also be one of the captains for spring track,” Smith said. “She’s a hard worker, she just wants to get better, and everybody loves her.”
An honors student, Naik’s course load last year included four AP classes (AP English and Language Composition, AP Calculus, AP Biology, AP US History), and she is taking three more this year (AP Statistics, AP Government and Politics, AP Spanish). In addition to an ambitious course load, she is participating in the Allied Health program at Eastern Center for Arts and Technology, which includes a dual enrollment Medical Terminology course through Montgomery County Community College.
She still finds time to compete in three varsity sports.
“Competing in sports has added to the reasons why I want to excel in school and push through school on slower days,” Naik said. “I really look forward to practicing and playing games/going to meets with my team, and the idea of spending time with the people that I am close with really gets me through the day at school.”
Naik is undecided on a college but plans to major in neuroscience or biochemistry with her sights set on attending medical school.
“Coach and I joke about this, but it’s actually true – I would like to be a brain surgeon, work in neurosurgery,” she said. “I would love to run at a school, but at most, I’d run D3 and then I’d continue playing club soccer, have fun with soccer.
“If I get into a school that’s D1, I probably won’t run, and I’m okay with that. As long as I get into a school I love, I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine anywhere.”
According to Benvenuto, Naik has her hand in everything at Upper Moreland, and she’s not exaggerating. The UM senior is a member of Key Club, Inter-Ac and Med Club. She is the head of a branch of one of the committees for UM’s Mini-THON. Naik is secretary of the National Honor Society and vice president of class council. She is one of many CPESA student ambassadors, promoting cultural awareness.
Somehow, Naik finds time to tutor at the Kumon Math and Reading Center of Hatboro two days a week.
“I just told my boss I was not going to work on Sundays because I have to do my college applications and Sundays are my on free days,” Naik said. “She’s like, ‘Sure, take time off until January.’ I’m really lucky to have her be that flexible.”
Naik credits her parents – Prashant Naik and Arati Khatkhate – for instilling important values early in life.
“I’ve always been taught to say please and thank you,” she said.
This fall, Naik was voted Homecoming Queen, underscoring the respect she has earned from her peers.
“She is literally one of the nicest kids, students, athletes that I have ever had the privilege to coach,” Benvenuto said. “She has been inherently good her entire life.
“I’ve known her since she was in middle school, and I coached her in middle school basketball, and as a seventh grader she was writing thank you notes to coaches and thank you notes to teachers. It’s not prompted, it’s not like somebody is telling her to do this. It’s who she is inherently. When you look up ‘good’ in the dictionary, that’s Reva. She spans all of the different social groups of the high school. I don’t think anybody could say one bad thing about her.”
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