Winter Sports Update

Written by: Rani Shiao, Alvin Wang and Emily Yao

Girls’ Soccer:

Ending last season with an overall record of 4-8-6, the girls’ soccer team is hoping to adjust to a new coaching system to remain in the De Anza Division.

New head coach Juan Mayora’s main goals for the team are to improve on last season’s results and make it to the Central Coast Section (CCS) Championships. “I’m working with the girls to improve on their soccer skills, soccer smarts and fitness,” he said. “Most of all, I want the players to understand my coaching philosophy.”

Though the girls lost strong seniors from last year, they are still an ambitious team, according to stopper senior Catie Chun. “The number of underclassmen on varsity is astounding and they’re incredibly talented to boot,” she said. “The new blood is just what we need.” Chun sees immense potential in the underclassmen and is positive that the girls can fill the void.

The girls began their season with a 8-0 scrimmage win against Everest Public Charter School, and in the regular season, the team has captured a 2-1 win against King’s Academy. The girls encourage everyone to attend their next home game on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. against San Mateo.

Boys’ Soccer:

The boys’ soccer team is ready to make a comeback from their disappointing 2-8 record last season. Though it’s still early in the season, the team already has several clear goals in mind. “We hope to be in the running for a CCS berth as we head into the closing weeks of the season and a lot of that will depend on success early on,” center back senior Ben Sampson said. “If we can click as a team and produce some key goals and wins, we’ll be successful.”

According to Sampson, the team members have bonded together well and have already begun to work as a cohesive group. “We have 15 new members, but the team is really coming together in terms of camaraderie,” Sampson said.

A typical practice often involves a mix of vigorous warm-ups before team members break out to practice individual skills. “Most practices start with a mile or so of jogging and dribbling, then we go into drills for awhile,” Sampson said. “Each day we focus on a specific skill and build from the ground up. If we have time we’ll go into a short scrimmage before everyone’s favorite part: fitness.”

The boys’ next game will be the Homestead Tournament on Dec. 15.

Boys’ Basketball:

The boys’ basketball team is eager to return to the court and improve on last season’s 8-15 record.

“It’s a new group of guys for me to work with and it’s my second year with the team,” head coach Michael Ferolino said. “We’re trying to develop a culture that [focuses] on work ethic, working hard and playing hard on defense.”

To help the team get back into shape, Ferolino began condition earlier. “I wanted to give the players an opportunity to come during the summer and play more basketball,” he said.

According to shooting guard senior Chris Rea, the team is small but dedicated. “We have fewer players than other schools in the league, but we have a lot of depth on the bench,” Rea said. “We have a good basketball prowess and experience overall, and we’re all very athletic.”

This year, the team is primarily focused on finishing in the top three in the league. “We also want to qualify for CCS and continue to improve on both sides of the ball, defense and offense,” Ferolino said.

Rea urges fans to come out and support the team in their next home game against San Mateo on Dec. 13.

Girls’ Basketball:

After making history by defeating Palo Alto High School to win the school’s first CCS championships last season, the Lady Titans are hoping repeat last year’s accomplishments. “It won’t be easy, especially after losing key players, but we would like to win league again and defend our CCS title,” senior Claire Klausner said.

Because the departure of last year’s seniors came with a loss in post positions, head coach Sarah Stapp is looking forward to seeing who will step up in the post.

“The seniors left us big shoes to fill, but our main goal is to do it collectively,” Stapp said. “We want to make up for points and rebounds as a whole unit rather than relying on one person.”

The girls are known for their solid defense, so one of their goals this season is to focus on scoring offensively. “We have to work on having everyone contribute to scoring, instead of relying mostly on one or two people,” Klausner said.

The girls began the season with a 45-32 loss against Lynbrook High School, but they still have many opportunities to win. Their next game will take place at home on Dec. 11 against San Mateo.

Wrestling:

The wrestling team is practicing hard to follow up their last season’s overall record of 8-1. The team has lost valuable seniors Marco Lopez-Mendoza, Julian Calderon and Chris Jin.

Despite this loss, coach Chris Horpel is looking forward to a great season because of the influx of 10 freshmen wrestlers. “Some may end up as starters but it is still too early to tell,” he said.

Horpel is also looking to the results of the trainings of many of his top wrestlers from last year. “We also have one of the top female wrestlers in the country: Cadence Lee,” Horpel said. “Lee will start at 106 lbs for us and has won two CCS titles and finished 2nd and 7th in state. She then won two national titles last spring and summer.”

Horpel laid out a challenging training regime before and during the season for the wrestlers to keep in shape. He also has a year-round club before the season for anyone interested. “It is very technique-oriented. Then, one month before the season we do pre-season conditioning which is a lot of strength training and different kinds of cardio,” Horpel said. “During the season we try to maintain our strength and increase our cardio, but we do it in the wrestling room as opposed the weight room or the track.”

Many are hoping to improve their records from last year. “I have been training really hard since last year,” junior Cadence Lee said. “ I attended all the pre-season practices as well as club practices at Gunn to prepare for the season. During season, I’ve been attending practices every day and I have also been participating in soccer which is great cross-training.”

While some have concrete goals set for themselves this season, others are just looking forward to the thrill of the game.

“I enjoy takedowns more than anything in wrestling,” senior James Perng said. “The feeling of slicking a wrestler and taking his feet from underneath him is euphoric. My goals for this season are to get three takedowns each and every match I wrestle. I know what I want and I’m hungry.”

The team’s next game will be the Lynn Dyche Classic on Dec. 15 at James Lick High School in San Jose.

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