Fall sports have varying results as season finishes

As the fall season ends, we look back on a season of ups and downs for Gunn sports teams. Girls’ Water Polo:

Goalie Katie-Rose Skelly throws the ball back to her teammates.
The varsity girls’ water polo team worked hard to end with an amazing season. “Our first goal was to improve every day and test ourselves against the best the area has to offer,” coach Mark Hernandez said. “Mission accomplished.”

By Elsa Chu, Misheel Enkhbat and Sam Hayward:

Photos by Wendy Qiu, Jonathan Yong and Kyle Zhu:

Girls’ Water Polo:

Goalie Katie-Rose Skelly throws the ball back to her teammates.

The varsity girls’ water polo team worked hard to end with an amazing season. “Our first goal was to improve every day and test ourselves against the best the area has to offer,” coach Mark Hernandez said. “Mission accomplished.”

On Oct. 29 at Lynbrook High School, the team beat Palo Alto 7-5 in the Quarterfinals of the Central Coast Section (CCS) Division I playoffs. They have now advanced into the semi-final game in CCS.

Some key players are seniors Elizabeth Anderson, Missy Barr, Soumya Kannan and Katie-Rose Skelly, and sophomores Caroline Anderson and Rachel Wong. Expectations are high for a team that made CCS last year. “We expect to compete for a league title and then for a sectional title,” Hernandez said. “We need to continue to push our creativity on offense and improve our communication on defense.”

The players agree that something special went on this year. “We had lots of good players and we worked together as a team,” Skelly said. Their overall league record is 18-6.

Girls’ Tennis:

Although the varsity girls’ tennis team had a rough start, they ended the season with a strong comeback. Last year, the team moved up from the El Camino division into the De Anza division. This year the team has compiled a league record of 3-9 and an overall record of 8-13.

Practice this year was held at the Cubberly courts before school due to construction at Gunn. At times, this posed a problem to some of the players.

This season, the team had chemistry. “I loved our team, we got along really well,” senior Natasha Allen said. “We didn’t feel pressure from each other and we did our best.” However, the team will not be going to CCS this year.

Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country:

The cross-country team worked its way to reach the CCS by practicing everyday for the past several months. Sophomore Sarah Robinson has continuously won many meets and her several victories have made her a popular contestant for CCS. However, Robinson believes she owes her success to the whole team. “It’s more of a team effort than track,” she said. “We help each other by urging each other to keep on going.”

As the end of the season approached, varsity boys’ and girls’ cross country both placed second in league championships. The top seven girls and seven guys will go to CCS. Key runners such as senior Andrew Prior and sophomore Sarah Robinson are expected to win at CCS.

Football:

After having moved down to the El Camino league, the varsity football team, holds an overall record at 2-5 and a league record of 2-2.

Senior JJ Strnad is this year’s running back. “We’ve been playing well and our practices have been smooth and efficient,” he said. He ran 169 yards over 8 carries during a game against Harker, a record that earned him local recognition. He was named Player of the Week for the Palo Alto Weekly in October. “It was a big honor and a good experience,” Strnad said.

Senior Robert Kato believes that the team is giving 100 percent effort and everyone is practicing hard. “Our greatest weakness is execution,” Kato said. “We usually have a couple of penalties and need to work on reducing them.”

Strnad believes that the relatively small team hinders their ability to perform. “The players at multiple positions get more tired throughout the course of a game and we don’t have many players at each position,” Strnad said. “Santa Clara and Monta Vista were disappointing losses. We feel that we are a much better football team than how we played against them.”

Boys’ Water Polo:

The boys’ varsity water polo team has had a great season. “We have to make it in the top four of our league and so far we’re on a good track,” senior Tyler Wilson said. In order to do this the team has been working hard in the mornings and afternoons sharpening their skills and perfecting plays. “There’s always room to improve. Wilson said. “We’re really trying to work on the basics and get those perfected.”

Although the team had a rough start, they have improved significantly. “The very first tournament we weren’t working as a team; we did horribly that tournament,” junior Harrison Waschura said.

The boys’ water polo team beat Monta Vista in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) tournament and played Los Altos on Nov. 4, the finals of the tournament. The team has also has secured a spot in CCS. “The last two years we’ve gone to the second round and hopefully this year we go further,” senior Will Thorson said.

Girls’ Volleyball:

Junior Lena Latour stuff blocks an attempted hit.

The varsity girls’ volleyball team has had a difficult season, winning only one of its twelve league games. They are now last in the De Anza division, but ranked 13th in CCS overall. The team has a league record of 1-11 and an overall record of 14-18.

Despite these losses, senior Julia Li believes that the team was composed of all key players. “Our team was full of different, versatile players that each contributed to the team in a unique way,” Li said.

Coach Kevin Hwang believes there is room for improvement for next season. “We have to do a better job of concentrating and being mentally focused more consistently,” Hwang said. “It cost us three to five points per game and we have lost a lot of games by five points or fewer.” However, the girls are not attending CCS this year.

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