The five-foot-eleven top scorer of the Las Positas women’s basketball team saunters down the hall.
Her hair flowing and eyes sparkling as she heads to her next class.
In class, she listens, but her focus is elsewhere.
The professor gives the dismissal and the mindset of the Lady Hawks forward becomes clear as she struts toward “The Nest” and into the locker room.
The sparkle in Carlie Bonderer’s eyes has turned to a sort of malcontentment, a hunger.
Bonderer is hungry for a win after the 40 minutes of hard fought basketball she thought about all of the last class.
Bonderer is a small town girl, with big city ambitions and as the top scorer of the Lady Hawks, she is leading by example. Leadership was the subject of pre-practice conversation on Monday, with her new coach Clarence Morgan. He explained that half comes vocally while the other half is from action.
Bonderer has a record of action on the court finishing last season as the conference leader in scoring and rebounds.
She cemented herself in the record books with the third highest single game point total in California and she says she is not finished yet.
Bonderer credits her ability to lead to her family, both from what she has learned from her father and from being the oldest of three children.
“Being so much older than my three siblings really made me mature faster, it made me realize that my actions can affect a lot of different people,” Bonderer said. “It made me realize the bigger picture in life.”
Her father, who moved the family from Topeka, Kansas to San Francisco when she was only nine, has been a driving force in her day-to-day life.
“He worked for a really small company and worked his way up. Seeing him being able to pull himself up by his own boot straps was a really good example.”
At five-foot-eleven, she played the post during her freshman season, but is making a position switch to forward. A plus in basketball however, is not always a plus for a young woman growing up in a strange, big city.
“I was always taller than everyone, the guys and the girls,” she said. “It was really kind of awkward, I didn’t like it.”
Playing for San Ramon High School, she excelled and was the all-time leader for points scored. The accolades of high school basketball were not enough for Bonderer to stay on the basketball track after high school. She decided to work and hang out with friends for two years following her high school graduation, a decision she stands behind.
After being recruited by former coach Lindsay Wisely to come to Las Positas, Bonderer returned to the court, and the classroom.
Currently maintaining academic eligibility, she has not only maintained positive standing for collegiate athletics, but also set the standard for others to follow.
A slimmer, more fit player than the previous season, she can be found doing ladder drills and cone drills during practices under new head coach Clarence Morgan.
“She’s been coming along,” said Morgan. “She looks one-hundred percent better than last year conditioning wise; she’s been pretty receptive to what we’re doing.”
New changes have been taking place with the new coaching staff, from conditioning, to game plans and personnel usage. It’s something that Morgan doesn’t expect the team to grasp right away, but something that he sees improving the team over time.
A friend of Bonderer’s, Kat Nieto, thinks highly of Bonderer’s abilities and ambitions.
“I’ve seen her play and she’s great on the court and I can see her becoming a big star,” Nieto said. “But I see her real dedication off the court, she is always training or studying or working.”
Bonderer’s dedication and hard work will get a chance to show beginning Nov. 15, at the Lady Hawk classic women’s basketball tournament, as “The Nest” hosts an eight team, three day long tournament.
During the dawn of another big battle for seeding within the Coast Conference-North Division, that sparkle in her eyes and smile will turn to a glare full of hard breaths and gritty movement.
Sweat will run down her furrowed brow and that will signal that it is not just another day at LPC for Bonderer, it’s game time.