Becca Cook plays in the trenches!

Becca Cook runs onto the field prior to a football game against Kearny High.
(photo by Justin Fine)

Becca Cook plays in the trenches!

By Kaila Mellos

Becca Cook, a Scripps Ranch High School senior, is a female student who plays on the Falcons varsity football team. 

“I’ve always wanted to play, but this year is my last year as a high schooler, and I wanted to leave without regrets,” she said.

Cook plays as a defensive lineman on the team. Before that, she had experience playing on a flag football team leading up to her freshman year. She was wary at first joining, but as she’s been with the team for a year, “I am as much part of the team as anyone else,” she said.

When Cook first joined, she recalls it being “a little rough,” but as time went on, she learned that she just had to keep going and it would be a rewarding experience.

“After everything with COVID, I am just one of the guys. Stick through things even when it gets tough because it is worth it in the end,” Cook explained.

As one of the first females on the team, she said that many of the other male players were open-minded about the experience. Some of the guys have even taught her new things she will never forget.

“I learned from and appreciate my teammates – Ruben Garcia and Isaac Rico – different techniques and to keep pushing myself,” Cook said.

Along with her teammates, her coaches, family and friends have been super supportive through her journey.

“My coach Marlon Gardinera, who is like a second dad, and my offensive line coach, who is always super fun, always made me feel welcome,” she said. “My Dad is also pretty supportive. He played in high school. My mom, however, is worried I’m going to get hurt, but she likes how committed I am. My friends think it’s cool, other than all my bruises from playing.”

So far, Cook has only played a couple times this season due to COVID canceling sports for most of the year.

“I have played four downs on varsity football, hopefully, more this Friday because it is senior night and our last game of the year,” she said last week.

Looking back on her first game, she said, “It felt as though I couldn’t breathe, and I couldn’t remember any of the plays. I knew them, but it was so much. However, it was a lot of fun.”

Cook likes to play music before each game and get in the right headspace.

“I always listen to a couple of songs before I put on my pads, but usually the game itself really gets my heart pumping,” Cook said.

She doesn’t plan on continuing her football career into college.

“Right now, I am going to go to school at Miramar College until we can go back in person. Once that happens, I plan on transferring to a UC school and becoming a trauma surgeon,” she said.

Her advice for any future female players on the football team is: “For the few who are willing to commit to it, don’t let anyone knock down your dreams. If it is something you like to do, you will never forget it, and it will be a very memorable experience.”

Scripps Ranch High senior football player Becca Cook with head coach Marlon Gardinera. (photo by Justin Fine)