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Golf team heads for CIF with relaxed, renewed focus

According to CHS head boys varsity golf coach Octavio Hernandez, the team has finally reached its key goal: to qualify for CIF. While Claremont and Damien teed off at the Marshall Canyon Golf Course on Thursday, April 26, with clouds looming overhead and deer resting under the trees, Coach Hernandez took the time to acknowledge 2 of his strongest players, both seniors and team captions: Brian Carroll and Chris Witt.

He also laid out the game plan for the match up against the undefeated Damien and for CIF competition. “We’re trying to play focused but relaxed golf. We don’t put too much pressure on ourselves.”

Junior Varsity golf coach Eric Tucker said that the players—who gathered this past weekend for a fundraising carwash and team spaghetti dinner—respond very well to coach Hernandez’ approach.

“He’s mellow, calm and collected even in precarious situations,” coach Tucker said. “He sets the bar high in terms of his action. He walks the walk and sends a big message to the kids.”

For coaches Hernandez and Tucker, the messages received by the players in this “gentleman’s sport” are as or more important than scores and standings. On the green and off, they expect the boys to display moral and ethical behavior, coach Tucker emphasized.

“We want them to be good golfer’s, [but it’s also important] that they’re respectful and encouraging to each other as well as to competitors.”

While the varsity golf team will lose 4 seniors this year, there are strong players on the junior varsity team that can be moved up to take their place, coach Tucker said. What’s more, it’s likely the team will have plenty of hopefuls when it comes time for tryouts. Last year, almost 40 student athletes vied for 18 varsity spots.

“It’s a big pool,” he said.

Boys varsity volleyball ready to ace playoffs

After 3 consecutive shutouts, the Claremont High School boys varsity volleyball team (10-1-0) is well-poised for a playoff bid.

The Wolfpack, which won the Thursday, April 26 home match against Crescenta Valley 3-0, is second place in the Pacific League, after Burroughs High School (11-0-0).

After a match against Arcadia High School on Friday, April 20, head varsity boy’s volleyball coach Bernie Wendling noted that, while the team, led by senior Stephen Zetterberg, was getting plenty of kills, they needed to improve their serve.

Junior Lane Giammalva took Coach Wendling’s advice to heart, hitting 7 aces in the following game against Burbank High School on Tuesday, April 24. Once again, Stephen led the win (3-0) with 16 kills.

CHS will wrap up league play with a face-off against the undefeated Burroughs Indians on Tuesday, May 1. Should the team win a league championship, it will be a return to glory for the Wolfpack, which won the title for 5 years in a row during the 2006-2010 seasons. 

Boys tennis surprises no one by taking league (again)

It’s official: After winning a match-up against South Hills on Thursday, April 26 with a score of 13-5, the CHS boys varsity tennis team are league champs.

First-time head varsity boys tennis coach Louise Miclat can breathe easier knowing she has continued the Wolfpack’s 7-year tradition of winning in league championships.

“We get lucky,” coach Miclat said humbly.

While the team is plenty talented, getting there hasn’t always been easy. Coach Miclat notes that, though the team won its match against the Ayala Bulldogs on Tuesday with a score of 11-7, it was “an emotionally taxing day.”

Beating the ‘Dogs, with whom CHS has been engaged in an ongoing rivalry, required the team to tap into its reserves according to Coach Miclat.

Everyone stood out,” she said. “Their mental toughness in their game showed greatly.”

Next week is league finals, when the various teams will choose their best players to send to CIF competition. The rivalry with Ayala will continue on an individual-player basis during tournament play.

After a banner season, coach Miclat is looking forward to next year’s team, which should be strong. “We’re losing 3 seniors, but hopefully that won’t hinder us too much.”

Athletic, academic achievers honored at senior dinner

Five graduating Claremont High School students were recognized for achievement in athletics, academics and leadership at the Sierra League Outstanding Senior Dinner on Monday, April 23.

Each student was encouraged to bring a staff member to the dinner, held at the Pomona Valley Mining Company.

Students recognized included Taylor Scott, a 4-year varsity girls volleyball player who made 2011 Sierra League MVP and has a cumulative GPA of 4.1; Pranay Yeturu had excellence in the classroom (4.52 cumulative GPA) and on the tennis courts (Sierra League 1st Team) was also state champion in the American Legion Oratorical Contest; Taylor Fortson, a CIF soccer champion who, with a 4.1 GPA won a CIF Outstanding Senior Scholarship Award.

Other honorees are Joseph Harris, who heads for Gonzaga University on a baseball scholarship with a 4.11 GPA, and Stephen Schein, captain of the CHS track and cross-country team who (along with a 4.5 GPA) can boast he completed 3 years of math and science classes at Harvey Mudd College.

–Sarah Torribio

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