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CHS boys get marathon win

After losing the first game on Tuesday, Claremont High School Varsity Volleyball Coach Bernie Wendling told his team to toughen up and start focusing on the game. It seemed to work, as the Wolfpack rallied to defeat visiting Glendale High 3-2 in an exciting Pacific League match.

From the start, Glendale came out swinging and forced Claremont to play catch-up, with the Nitros doing a better job of putting plays together with superior communication. The Pack was moving a bit slower than in years past and had a tough time handling what should have been easy shots, giving Glendale the victory at 25-20.

However, the momentum shifted in Claremont’s favor in the next two games, led by senior outside hitter Trung Tran-Sampson, who had numerous serving aces as well as crushing kills. The Pack easily put aside the Nitros in game two, 25-15, and then followed up with another decisive victory in the third game, 25-16.

Game four was perhaps the toughest of the night and the lead swung back and forth until the very end. Tied at 17, Glendale got four unanswered points and held on until game point at 24-19. But the Pack would not be put away, getting the next three points and looking like they could pull off a surprise win. The rally ended, however, when Tran-Sampson’s serve went long, giving Glendale the win at 25-22.

The excitement continued into the 15-point tiebreaker, with both teams looking like they were destined to win as the momentum shifted with the score. For CHS, the game underscored the work needed to improve their overall serving. Four times in a row Claremont got convincing kills from Tran-Sampson and Gideon Yabaki, only to give away a point each time with bad serves.

But Tran-Sampson would not be stopped and with one last blistering shot up the middle, the Pack won 15-11.

“We will take the win. It wasn’t pretty but they don’t give style points in our game,” Coach Wendling said after the game. “We made way too many unforced errors. We have to learn to serve better in a clutch, and we are hitting the ball hard but it’s going all over the court.”

Much of what makes high school sports so tough is that star players are constantly graduating. For the Pack, their past dominance in boys volleyball is now only in the record books. Coach Wendling only has two players with varsity experience, meaning some errors can be attributed to nerves.

“A month ago, half of these guys had not played volleyball before. So a month from now, we’ll see,” he said.

Looking at the season ahead, Coach Wendling is positive but resigned that it may not be easy.

“For us, our challenge is to make the playoffs. We understand we are no longer the elite team of the Pacific League, which is hard, given that we have that big banner up there that says we’ve won a lot. We are going to have to fight a lot, but it is in us.”

Player of the game honors have to go to Tran-Sampson, who had an excellent overall game.

“I just wanted to hit the ball really hard,” he said immediately after the game. “I think [this season] is going to be fun. We still have a lot of work to do, but I think it can be really good.”

The victory brings the boys’ record to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in league.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com

 

TRACK AND FIELD

Claremont High School track and field dominated the small school division at the Chet Nicholson Relays last Saturday at Norco High School. Both girls and boys teams had numerous first- place finishes and both won the meet.

The girls took first place in the 400 shuttle hurdle relay, 400 relay, 1600 relay (8x200), 1600 sprint medley relay and 4000 distance medley relay. In addition, the girls A and B teams took first and second in the 3200 relay, as well as first and third in the 1600 relay. They took home second-place ribbons for the 400 relay and the 800 relay.

In field events, there was a five-way tie for first in the high jump including three Claremont athletes—Abby Holt, Lyling Irwin and Natalie Nguyen. Irwin also took second in the pole vault.

The boys team took first in the 1600 relay, 1600 sprint relay, 3200 relay, 6400 relay and 4000 distance medley relay. They took second in the 440 shuttle hurdles by half a second and also got second in the 800 relay. Special recognition goes to Jeremy Dvorak for winning the one-mile run.

Donovan Robinson had a very good day in field events, taking second place in the high jump and third in the long jump. He also placed well in pole vault and triple jump.

This is one of the oldest relay meets in southern California, being the 40th meet.

SWIMMING

The Claremont High School girls and boys swim teams lost their meet against Ayala Wednesday in Chino Hills. The final team scores were 120-50 for the girls and 109-61 for the boys. The varsity team as a whole struggled, even with some strong individual performances.

For the girls, junior Sam Duran swam the 100 butterfly in 59.52 and the 500 freestyle in 5:21.45 individually as well as the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. Freshman Mark Jareankitja swam the 100 backstroke in 59.07, the 200 freestyle in 2:03.66, the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay. Ben Eagleton also put up some impressive swims in the 200 medley relay, the 50 freestyle in 23.28, the 100 freestyle in 52.77 and the 200 freestyle relay.

SOFTBALL

Girls softball didn’t play this week and the next scheduled game is April 7. The Pack did take third place in the Charter Oak tournament wining three out of four games.

GOLF

Varsity golf lost a very close match, 223-234, against South Hills High at South Hills Country Club. Top scores came from Jonathan Yoo at 38, Andrew Im and Paul Yu at 45, Kyle Cohen at 51 and Matt Stanford at 55.

The junior varsity team defeated South Hills 250-302, with Spencer Sharp shooting a 47.

BASEBALL

Claremont baseball lost two games this week including their season opener away game against South Hill last Friday. In a pitcher’s duel, Claremont gave up two hits and one run but only got a single hit and lost 1-0.

On Tuesday, there was more hitting but unfortunately no better result for the Pack as they lost to Glendora 8-4. Glendora got on the board first with two runs in the second, but Claremont answered in the third with three. Glendora scored again in the third and fifth innings, but really put the game away with four big runs in the sixth. Claremont answered with one run in the seventh but it was too little too late.

The boys are now 4-4 overall, 0-2 in league.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com

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