Basketball athletes crowned prom king and queen
Seniors Luke Hosozawa (left) and Sarah Rus pose after they are crowned prom king and queen during the prom dance at the Aquarium of the Pacific on April 6 (reprinted with permission from Sarah Rus)

Basketball is the common thread between seniors Luke Hosozawa and Sarah Rus.

Two years as a starter on boys basketball, Hosozawa plays forward for Sunny Hills.

Rus’ tenure on the Lady Lancers basketball team spans two years — her junior year of playing small forward and her senior season as a center.

Both were crowned prom king and queen, respectively, at the April 6 formal dance at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific after garnering the most votes among Sunny Hills students who attended the affair.

“I really thought I was not going to win,” Hosozawa said. “I was just glad to be on the court and was not expecting anything else.”

Rus took a different path toward her coronation.

“When I heard I got nominated [to prom court], I was a bit surprised but also very excited,” she said. “I tried to tell a lot of my friends to vote [for] me.”

Her close friend and basketball teammate, senior and 2018-2019 homecoming queen Jessica Barrow, was rooting for Rus all along.

“She is my bestie and deserves to be nominated as queen,” Barrow said. “She is energetic and caring.”

Rus agreed, adding, “I am a very outgoing and social person. People usually know me because I am Romanian and play basketball.”

Prom king Hosozawa also acknowledges his role as an athlete and his admirable personality as key factors that led to receiving a majority of the votes to take the crown.

“I think I am a pretty good person,” he said. “I think I represent basketball pretty well.”

One of Hosozawa’s friends, senior Nick Grajeda, seemed to share the emotions the prom king felt about being crowned king.

“When Luke won, I honestly was so hyped for my guy,” Grajeda said. “Just to see his reaction and his face light up as he looked around at our friends made me so happy.”

In the month after prom, Rus reflects back on the moment and its aftermath and has found the whole experience beneficial.

“I never once thought that I could be crowned prom queen my senior year,” she said. “I think that it was so amazing, and it certainly boosted my confidence.”

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