Spring teams compete in playoffs, show strong records, make history throughout the entire season

Written by: Rebecca Alger, Ysé Massot, Eric Noh, Rani Shiao, Alvin Wang, Emily Yao

Photos by: Audey Shen, Jonathan Yong, Kyle Zhu

Badminton

Even though the badminton boys’ varsity team ended their season in fifth place in the league, the team still has a very positive attitude. “We did not do as well as we did last year but I am still very proud of my team because everybody has learned a lot and tried his best,” boys’ varsity team captain junior Koji Habu said.

For girls’ badminton, junior Helen Weidermann defeated the number one seeded player from Monta Vista High School. Because of her win, she, along with junior Martin Hung and freshman Angela Lin, represented the team at the Central Coast Section (CCS) Badminton Championships. Hung and Lin played mixed doubles and secured a victory for the Titans at CCS.

For next season, the team will have to deal with the loss of eight seniors. According to Habu, the seniors who are currently on the team are very strong players, and losing them will be tough for the team. “We will focus on our technique and mental strengths to become as good as the seniors are,” Habu said. “I also hope we will have motivated freshmen.” In addition, Habu has high hopes for himself and believes the team has the potential to do well next season if it improves on some points. “The team should focus and challenge themselves even more during practice and competition,” he said. “I am sure our team will get first place next year as long as we continue to challenge ourselves and learn from our past.”

Baseball

With a 19-8 overall record and 11-3 league record, the baseball team won its first league title in 12 years and is headed to CCS playoffs. “I am very excited about CCS,” senior Graham Fisher said. This is the first time in my high school career that we are going to CCS playoffs.” “I am ready to go out and shock some higher seeded teams.”

The team has attributed much of its success this year to two areas of strength. “Our team’s strengths this year are definitely our pitching and clutch hitting,” Fisher said. “Our pitches have been dominant this year and we have also had some big scoring innings when we need them in games.”

In its first round of CCS playoffs, the Gunn baseball team defeated Cupertino High school. The team, however, was upended in a  4-3 loss to Aptos High School in CCS quarterfinals.

Diving

The diving team won second overall in Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) De Anza Division Championships. The team competed six times during the season as a part of the swim team.  The boys won three of their meets and lost the other three while the girls won all six of theirs.

The team is appreciative of the swim team, who helped them do better in competition. “Diving is a small event that is part of the swimming team,” diving coach Brian Arakaki said. “Because we have an amazing swim team, our dive team came out performing well.”
The divers are happy with the end of a successful season that enabled them to grow both individually and as a team.  “Although we lost a couple of divers from last season, we also gained some new talent,” varsity captain junior Miko Mallari said.“With both the new and the old, and the addition of our new coach, we’ve taken long strides as a team. “We also qualified more divers for CCS than we have in the past 4 years.”

Golf

The golf team has been fighting strong this season, landing them an overall record of 9-3. The team is unaffected by the leaving of the seniors. “We lost two seniors but was compensated by many good freshmen that joined,” sophomore Jayshree Sarathy said.

This season, the team made huge improvements by winning SCVAL for the first time in ten years by 24 shots. “[Our win] serves as proof of our hard work and effort,” Sarathy said.  The Titans not only won SCVAL but also placed second in the De Anza league. “We had a scoring average of 199 compared to last year’s 205,” Sarathy said. “It just shows how far we’ve gone.”

The players are proud of their accomplishments, they hope to train even harder for next year. “As the season went on, our team began working harder and taking the matches more seriously,” Sarathy said. “By the end, we had improved a lot.”

Gymnastics

This season, the girls’ gymnastics varsity team did exceptionally well. The team finished fifth place at CCS playoffs, which was held on May 17 at Twisters Gymnastics. They won first place at their competition on April 18 as well as at the SCVALs competition on May 10, and placed third overall at the North Varsity League Finals. Gymnastics coach Suzie Hackstedde was pleased with the performance of a few varsity girls who placed top ten. Senior Chrystal Chern placed seventh on beam, while freshman Natalie Byun placed seventh on vault and floor, first on bars and beam and was the individual all around champion. The team also placed third place in league.

One thing the team hopes to improve on for next season is its capacity to control stress and to do its best under pressure. “We need to learn how to put the stress down before and during the competitions because this season, the pressure made us [affected our scores],” Montez said.

Boys’ Lacrosse

The boys’ lacrosse team, lead by coach Michael Blocho, ended its season with an overall record of 2-10-1 and a league record of 1-6-1. The last game they played was against the Woodside Wildcats on May 1, where the Titans lost with a final score of 5-2. Of the last six games the team played, five of them ended in a loss, while one finished with a tie.

“Things definitely could have gone better,” junior David Lester said. “There were many games that we should have won.” With the accumulation of losses, the team unfortunately did not qualify for the SCVAL playoffs.

According to Lester, the team’s goals for next season are to aim for a respectable record and build on a team with all but three players returning. “We had a little too much fun at times instead of doing what we needed to do to win,” Lester said.

Girls’ Lacrosse

The girls’ lacrosse team ended their season on a high note, with an exceptional performance at Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) playoffs, an overall record of 14-7 and a league record of 11-4. “For the first time in three years, we finished with a winning record and made it to the playoffs,” coach Doug Arakawa said.
The week before competing in SCVAL playoffs, the girls triumphed in their games against Leland, Los Gatos and Saratoga. Unfortunately, the team’s winning streak ended when they lost to Los Gatos during the semifinal round of SCVAL playoffs.

According to Arakawa, the team’s goal is to continue building a respected and competitive lacrosse program at Gunn. “This past year we had several outstanding freshmen and sophomores make our varsity and JV teams, and I hope next year we can attract the same quality athletes to our program,” Arakawa said. “We are going to lose eight seniors this year, but I am confident that our remaining 13 varsity players have what it takes to continue the winning ways we have established this year.”

Softball

The softball team has had a great season, with a final record of 8-3 in league play.  The team finished in second place in SCVAL. The team’s success has been linked to several different factors. “We have a very good pitcher [junior Claire Klausner], solid defense, and productive hitting,” senior Claire Collins said.

Despite the team’s strong performance this year, Klausner believes that the team still has areas to improve upon for next season. “We need to improve our defense more and cut down on errors,” Klausner said.

According to Collins, the team will successfully adjust to the loss of seniors next season. “The seniors this year make up three-fourths of the spots on the infield, so those positions will definitely hurt and our defense won’t be as good,” Collins said. “But teams get better year on year because everyone else will improve. We have a few really good freshmen that will certainly get better, a ton of rising seniors and a lot of talent.”

Unfortunately, the softball team didn’t qualify for Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs.

Swimming

The swimming team ended the season on a high note, with both the girls’ and boys’ teams moving up in terms of their rankings in the Central Coast Section (CCS) Championships. The girls got their first CCS title, improving from their fourth place finish last year, while the boys placed l4th, a step up from last year’s 19th-place finish.

Not only did the girls win CCS, but they also set a record for the amount of points earned: their score of 266 points helped them defeat defending champion from Archbishop Mitty High School. In addition, seniors Julia Ama, Rachael Acker and Casey Lincoln and sophomore Jenna Campbell set a CCS record when they collectively obtained a time of 3:23:06 in the 400 meter relay. The time was extremely close to beating the national public school record of 3:22:85.

Both the boys’ and girls’ swim team competed six times throughout the season, not including CCS. The girls’ swim team was undefeated this year with six wins.  While the boys’ team had more of a mix, with three wins and three losses, the team was second overall in SCVAL. “I’m most proud of how hard everyone worked and how much they grew,” coach Mark Hernandez said. “It’s nice to see that hard work pays off.”

According to Hernandez, this year will be a tough one to beat now that many key seniors are leaving. “This year’s senior class is the best in girls’ team history,” Hernandez said.

Boys’ Tennis

The boys’ tennis team ended league with a record of 1-11 and an overall record of 5-13. Meanwhile, the boys’ JV team excelled this year with an overall record of 12-0. From the start of the year, the team set a goal to play Menlo High School. Unfortunately, they were not able to achieve this goal. “We really wanted to have a chance to play Menlo. They are regarded as the nation’s best team,” senior Jack Kwan said. “The boys had two chances to play them and we would have had our first opportunity to play them if we had made it to the finals in the Fresno tournament. We could have had another chance if we had beaten Los Altos [High School] in leagues.”

The team lost in the second round of the CCS to Los Altos. For next year, the team hopes to improve and meet its goals. “Next year, we want to try harder and be our best,” freshman Isaac Wang said. “If we all practice well, we can definitely win next year.”

Track and Field

The track team hopes to wrap up its successful season with a strong performance in both SCVALs and CCS. As the team’s freshmen and sophomore boys are currently undefeated, coach Matthew Tompkins hopes they can win SCVALs for the division. Tompkins has similarly high goals for the remainder of the team. “Varsity boys also are a solid team and we’re hoping to place third or fourth,”Tompkins said.

According to Tompkins, the team is working well together under the supervision of the various team captains, and there are no specific areas for improvement. “The kids obviously work very hard and it’s a great team atmosphere,” Tompkins said. “One of our greatest strengths is the team captains, who have done a great job. The challenge is [that] our team is so big, so the team captain’s job is to get the people in different events to hang out with each other.”

For the upcoming CCS tournaments, the eight individuals who qualified hope to both win and to put the team’s best foot forward. “It is most important for the eight people to do their best and earn a time that is representative of the hard work that they’ve put in over the season,” junior hurdler Wyatt Eberspacher said.

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