Spring sports swing into season, start league competition after strong preseason training

Written by: Lawrence Chen, Nabeel Chollampat, Kush Dubey, Christine Li, Alvin Wang and Andy Zhou

Boys’ Lacrosse:

As the spring season opens, the boys’ lacrosse team is hopeful for a successful year. After not qualifying for the playoffs last year, the coach and players are beginning to practice hard for a new season with new players.

Coach Michael Blocho says one of the main goals for the team is to simply have a successful season, by all standards. “We have 12 or 13 seniors this year, so getting them to go out with a bang is probably the number one goal for them,” he said. “For me, obviously, it’s just getting them to be the best lacrosse players they can be.”

The team is coming off the loss of three seniors from last season, but has added new players to the roster. Captain Anatole Colevas believes that the only way to cope with such a roster change is to just keep on playing. “We’ve got new players coming in,” he said. “But really, there’s no way to cope. We just have to play at a higher level.”

The team’s first league game is on Friday, Mar. 8 at 7 p.m. at Leland High School.

 

Boys’ Tennis:

The tennis team is practicing hard in order to improve its record of 1-8 from last year.

Although the team lost many crucial seniors such as Clifton Wolak and Roy Peleg, the team sees potential in the many returning sophomores and new varistiy players. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the team in action this year,” junior Eric Noh. “A lot of our sophomores have improved greatly and I think we’re going to be really strong this year.”

“We have been conditioning ourselves and scrimmaging with each other in order to improve.” Sophomore Isaac Wang said.

“I really want to win SCVALs this year.” Wang said. “Last year we placed 3rd so I feel we have a good chance of winning the tournament this year.”

The team’s next faces Wilcox at home on Tuesday, Mar. 5 at 3 p.m.

Track and Field:

The track and field team hopes to improve on its 4-2 record from last year in the SCVAL De Anza Division.

Because the team lost many seniors, it’s composed of mostly underclassmen, including talented hurdlers and sprinters. “One of our goals is to try include everyone because there are a lot of underclassmen this season. [We want] to see everyone participate,” senior Kirsten Baird said.

In addition, new head coach PattiSue Plumer is looking forward to a strong start to the season. “I certainly hope we do well,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of determination and talent, and I’m impressed with the [team’s] work ethic.”

According to Baird, the team faces some difficult rivals, but through time and effort they can win. “The competition will be challenging,” she said. “But with the enthusiasm I see during practice, I think we’ll be able to pull through.”

The team’s next meet will be on Thursday, Mar. 7 against Los Altos at home.

Boys’ Golf: 

Coming fresh off of a SCVAL title last season, the boys’ golf team is facing high expectations.  Led by long-standing coach Chris Redfield, the team hopes to dominate in CCS this upcoming season.

According to senior Avinash Sharma, the team’s consistency and chemistry are their greatest advantages in upcoming competitions.

The team suffered the loss of two strong female players, who left to join the newly created girls’ golf team. “Luckily, we have a lot of returning players this year, so our experience will help us play well in matches,” Sharma said.

Junior Anson Cheng says that the team’s greatest obstacle this year will be focusing during practice. “Everyone on the team has a lot of potential, but we sometimes don’t work hard,” Cheng said, “If we stay committed, I’m positive that we can go really far.”

The golf teams plays its next tournament today at 3:00 p.m. against Cupertino at the Palo Alto golf course.

Girls’ Lacrosse:

The girls’ lacrosse team is coming out in full swing. Though the team has many newcomers replacing the nine seniors from last year, the girls are still hoping to return to the playoffs.

Junior Victoria Nguyen believes the key to coping with the loss of many seniors is playing more as a team. “We’re going to work hard on plays that play to everyone’s strengths and we’ve got to work out more,” she said. “It’s pretty hard missing nine seniors, but we have a lot of people coming out to make up for the loss.”

According to coach Doug Arakawa, strength of the team lies in its overall pool of talent and being more balanced. “We have a lot of good players rather than one superstar,” he said. “We have a lot of kids that are about equal in ability, so theoretically it should be harder to stop us because you can’t take one kid out.”

The team has already gotten a head start on identifying its weaknesses. In response, Arakawa and the girls have set many specific goals for the upcoming season. “We need to work on passing the ball around and not forcing them into pressure,” Nguyen said.

Arakwa remarks that a main challenge for them is the loss of seven seniors from last season. “I truly believe that the strength of the whole program needs to be the freshmen and the sophomores, the players coming up,” he said.

To help prepare for the season, Arakawa says that team has been working on basic stick skills, such as throwing and catching on the run, and running a different set of offenses and defenses.

The girls’ lacrosse team will play their next game on Tuesday, Mar. 5 at 7:30 p.m. against Sacred Heart Prep.

Diving:

The season is looking good for the diving team in the Santa Clara Valley Athletics League (SCVAL) De Anza Division. Senior Miko Mallari has high hopes and goals for the season. “A lot of the new athletes have experience with diving so this year looks promising for the team,” Mallari said. “My main goal for the season is primarily to make it back in time for leagues [because right now I am injured] and after that to win the league invitational, and place in the top five of Central Coast Sections (CCS).”

One of the team’s main letdowns of the season so far is that the hot tub has not been working. “One thing that has been tough the last couple of years was dealing with the cold days,” Mallari said. “Before, the team was able to use a hot tub to keep the athletes warm and ready to go, but with the construction of the new pool, it has been difficult to do so.”

The diving team will compete against Los Gatos in Wildcats’ territory Thursday, Mar. 7 at 3:30 p.m.

Baseball:

The baseball team ended last season moving up a league and also qualifying for CCS. Currently, the team holds a 2-1 record in the SCVAL De Anza Division.

According to senior Chris Rea, the team will continue to excel despite the loss of several players. “I believe that the players we do have returning are truly able to step up and lead the team,” he said.

Rea has high expectations for the team this year.  “My goals for the team are to prove that Gunn baseball is truly capable of playing with the best teams in the upper league. I also hope to beat [Palo Alto High School],” he said.

Head coach John Harney is focused on other aspects of the game, however. “My goal is to make these players be the best they can be as individuals and as a team,” he said. “I also want the experience of playing high school baseball to be a positive one.”

The baseball team will play their first league game at home against Saratoga on Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 3:30 p.m.

Swimming:

The swim team’s season is coming off to a great start in the SCVAL De Anza League. Despite the loss of several talented seniors, the team seems to be facing no problems thus far, as the incoming underclassmen have all stepped up to the task. “We are all really excited as there are quite a few fast freshmen joining our team this year,” senior Lauren Lesnya said.

In addition, the team has bonded well and runs very smoothly. “There aren’t really any problems as we all get along pretty well and help each other to get better at practice everyday,” Lesnya said.

Thus looking at the team composition, Lesnya is setting high but achievable goals for the team. “Last year our girls won CCS, so we would definitely like to repeat the performance this year,” Lesnya said.

The team’s first league meet will be on Friday, Mar. 8 at 3:30 p.m. at Los Altos.

 

Softball:

The softball team ended the season last year with a strong 9-3 record in league. Head coach Matt Maltz is aiming even higher this year. “My goals for the season would be to bring home a league title in a run for a CCS appearance,” he said.

Maltz places a large amount of emphasis on team unity. “My coaching philosophy is based on team pride, respect and effort,” he said. “I teach players to respect their teammates, parents and the game.”

According to senior Laura Tao, the team’s diversity will help them throughout the season. “We have a pretty even balance of players from all grades, which bodes well for the future of the program,” she said.

The team may have some issues due to its small size, however. “Our biggest weakness is probably the size of the varsity team—we’re only carrying 12 players this year, so keeping everyone healthy will be key,” Tao said.

The softball team will play their next league game at home against Cupertino on Wednesday, Mar. 13 at 4 p.m.

Badminton:

The badminton team is practicing hard in order to follow its performance from last year. The team needs to work hard to make up for the loss of many of last year’s seniors, including former varsity one boys’ singles player Derek Lai.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the team in action this year,” badminton coach Marc Tsukakoshi said. “A lot of the freshmen are looking great, but it is still too early to tell if they will be at the same caliber as some of our varsity players.”

In order to prepare for the new season, the team has undergone rigorous training. “Badminton is more than just technique,” Tsukakoshi said.  “There is also a lot of mental willpower and physical endurance that needs to be factored in.”

During practice, the players still condition but also scrimmage each other in order to improve their mechanics. “I really want to win CCS this year,” junior Eric Xue said. “We did lose a lot of seniors, so it might be rough, but I think we can still pull it off.”

Gymnastics:

Following a slow season last year, the girls’ gymnastics team is working towards qualifying for CCS.  Because the team does not hold practices on campus, the girls must be dedicated enough to travel to the local Twisters Sports Center in Mountain View for daily practices after school.

Senior Francesca Gencarella feels that this year’s team has the potential and skill to fight its way back into CCS.  “Every single member of the team has so much drive and spirit,” Gencarella said. “I have a lot of faith in the team.”

One of the biggest changes in the gymnastics program this year has been the abolishment of the junior varsity (JV) team.  According to freshman Monica Boerger, this allows the varsity gymnasts to have more personal training time with the coaches. “The fact that there is no longer a  JV team brings about a different dynamic,” Boerger said. “But in the end, I believe it will make us closer and stronger as a team.”

 

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