Elmwood Park’s Koraima Marroquin looks comfortable on the basketball court this season.
The senior point guard has the most experience — although she’s new to the team — and is the leading scorer but none of that would have transpired if her parents didn’t take a stab at the American dream.
Marroquin’s father and mother, Edgar and Karin Marroquin, were born in a poor part of Guatemala City, Guatemala. They moved to the United States looking for a better life and found each other, later starting a family with a son (Bryan) and then a daughter (Koraima).
“Just from them telling me their story, I want to do better,” Koraima said. “I’m lucky because I don’t have to struggle for anything. It motivates me. I’m being given an opportunity and I have to take it.”
When she was 12 years old, her parents took her to Guatemala to visit family and show her where they came from.
“It’s really poor and we saw kids working at the age of 5,” Marroquin said. “It’s heartbreaking. Everyone is asking you for money. The flooring there is just brick and all the houses are just smashed together. It will just be squares and some of the houses don’t even have a front part. But when you go by the ocean it’s beautiful. You can stay in little shacks and hear the waves from the ocean.”
Marroquin began playing basketball when she was 5 years old. She struggled at first but by seventh grade she started developing skills as a point guard.
Last year, Marroquin attended Guerin, but she didn’t leave all her friends behind. At the same time she was transferring to Elmwood Park, her cousin Maria Marzano was making the switch from Taft.
“She’s an outgoing girl, gets good grades and is very funny,” said Marzano, who is the Tigers’ manager. “She’s never down, even when there’s something bad going on. She looks on the brighter side of things.”
Elmwood Park got off to a rough start this season. The Tigers dropped to 3-9 after a 53-32 loss to St. Viator on Dec. 26 at the 31st Annual St. Viator Snowflake Tournament.
Marroquin poured in a game-high 17 points. Even though she’s new to the Tigers, she’s had no trouble digesting the system.
“She picked it up right way,” said Elmwood Park coach Kellye Stefanski. “She’s an experienced player and she definitely put the time and work in. She’s a great ball handler and is a spark when we need it. She gets the ball to the basket and defensively she’s really instinctual.”
Marroquin has been offered a partial scholarship to play basketball at Trinity in Deerfield and plans to study.