Login to Claremont COURIER

CHS sports scene continued to evolve in 2015

This year was a time of firsts and lasts in Claremont sports—a time to say goodbye to longtime coaches and welcome new ones. It was also the end of a dynasty and the inception of others.

It was the first football season in over 20 years without Coach Mike Collins, after he retired in December 2014. And in June, cross-country coach Rob Lander took a job leading Chaffey College’s program. Coach Lander had been with the Pack since 1993 and held the head coach position since 2005.

Coach Collins’ replacement, Coco Jarin, led the Wolfpack to one of their best seasons in recent memory. They won their first seven games and narrowly missing the CIF tournament when they lost to South Hills by one point.

Bill Reeves took over as cross-country coach and never missed a beat, extending the long tradition of fine distance runners in Claremont. Both the boys and girls teams swept the Palomares League meets and followed up with great performances at the CIF finals, culminating in dual fourth-place finishes in the California State meet.

“We had the best season in Claremont cross-country history,” said Coach Reeves, a further reminder of the Wolfpack’s growing strength in the southern section.

Boys volleyball had its worst season in a long time, signaling a powerhouse that may have come to an end, or perhaps was just taking a breather. Many top players graduated in 2014 and Coach Bernie Wendling had to start from scratch with several boys who had never played volleyball. Looking forward to 2016, many of those same players will return with experience. Claremont could regain its stature.

Girls golf tacked a first to their scoreboard this year by qualifying for CIF. It was the best season ever for the relatively new team, which set six school records. Coach Octavio Hernandez couldn’t have been more proud. “We won our last five Palomares League competitions in a row,” he said.

Boys water polo was the team to beat in 2015, and they did not disappoint their fans. The Pack came into the season ranked number-one and swept the Palomares League on their way to the CIF finals, with a shot at repeating their 2014 title. The boys couldn’t quite hold off the hard-charging Redlands East Valley team and had to settle for the second-place trophy. Still, it was a remarkable season, and a true dynasty in the making under the very skilled leadership of Kristin Rodriguez.

Claremont continues to be a school that produces great soccer players, with both the girls and boys taking CIF titles in recent history. 1n 2015, it was the boys who had the better year under the leadership of longtime Coach Fred Bruce-Oliver. They had an amazing 9-0-1 record in league, 18-2-4 overall, and went all the way to the quarterfinals in the CIF tournament where they lost to Pasadena on penalty kicks.

The girls had a bit of a rebuilding year with a very young team, but did well nonetheless. With a solid 13-10-4 record they did make the CIF tournament but were knocked out in the first round. This coming season looks very promising for the Pack, as they have won most of their matches.

Boys tennis finished the Palomares League ranked number two, led by junior Andrew Leahy and freshman Layton Bohren. For Leahy, it was the third year in a row that he made it to the league finals and he got his second championship victory. He was also honored as league MVP. The boys also did well in the CIF tournament.

Both girls and boys basketball had a mixed year, with the boys doing much better at 5-5 in league, 13-15 overall. Things are looking up a bit for the boys coach, Stan Toliver, as he has an 8-2 record this season so far.

The girls basketball team had a rough year with a team made up of many freshmen. This year, they have improved their passing and scoring and are 8-4 so far.

Baseball was also rebuilding in 2015, the second year under the leadership of Coach Ron LaChase. They went 4-10-1 in league and 9-13-1 overall.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com