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Shout out to CHS senior athletes

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

“Senior night” is a tradition in high school sports where graduating athletes are honored during the final regular season home game. Under normal circumstances, seniors collect at center court (or field) to be presented with a small token, perhaps some flowers, while their sporting resume is read aloud. However, when all spring sports were cancelled due to the coronavirus, “senior night” was another lost moment for the class of 2020.

The COURIER may not be able to give athletes a bouquet of flowers, but we would like to recognize their accomplishments. 

Boys volleyball 

Coach Bernie Wendling expressed frustration that his team was just beginning to find its stride when the virus ended the season. He had several basketball players sign up, which added height, and another player who was particularly disappointed because this season was to be his first on varsity.

Dirk Morken, first-year varsity starting at middle blocker, had really begun to figure out the position just as the season ended. Outside hitter Kaleb Greene was a third-year varsity starter, a beast on the outside, probably first team All League. Setter Justin Weiler is a second-year varsity starting and was the team’s quarterback on the court running the offense.

Baseball

The Pack had just started league play on the back of one of the best starts in recent memory when the season was called off. “I think we are better this year than last, but league is even better than last year as well,” Coach Charlie Reynoso said in March. Baseball has seven athletes graduating.

Team captain Eric Rohrer, who led the pitching staff, will head to Chaffey College. At six foot, seven inches and with a mean fastball, he kept opponents off balance. Outfielder Brandon Diaz commanded his position and contributed hits that were momentum changers. He will study business at Citrus College. Catcher Ethan Crates protected the ball on defense, assuring that pitchers were prepared for every outing. Crates will study rail transportation engineering at Penn State.

Catcher Jeremy Lohmann ensured his pitchers had the confidence to throw. He will major in computer programming at Cal Poly Pomona. Outfielder Josh Kennedy had a .357 batting average and could throw out base runners from the right field wall. Kennedy will play baseball at West Los Angeles College and study business.

Outfielder and pitcher Nathan Garcia was an all round team player—pitching, fielding and at the plate. Garcia will pursue his baseball career and a college degree. Middle infielder Nick Cho was a true utility player on offense and defense and was tapped as a pinch runner in close games. He plans to attend college in the fall to study biology.

Softball

Claremont was rebuilding its program in 2020 with many younger players, but the lost season means rebuilding will have to wait. “We do have the skill, it’s just a matter of experience,” Coach Brian Ota said in March. Four players are graduating.

Pitcher Katlin Entrup played softball for 14 years, including travel teams Batbusters and Lara/Portesi. She will play softball at the University of San Diego to study elementary education. Shortstop and power hitter Hana Hashioka played varsity for three years and JV as a freshman. She played travel ball on Team Easton. Hashioka received an athletic scholarship to play at Furman University. First base and outfielder Matti Teson has played softball for 11 years and will study child development at Citrus College. Second base and outfielder Megan Rodriguez played for nine years and will major in engineering at Fullerton College.

Boys golf

Coach Terrance Lynch told the COURIER in March that it was a four-way fight between Bonita, Glendora, the Pack and Ayala for the league title this year. Four Claremont golfers are in the class of 2020.

Captain Ryan Slater is a four-year varsity letterman in golf and has been selected for the all-Palomares League team. He will play for Citrus College next semester. Nick Nahani played at CHS for four years, two on varsity, and will attend Washington State University. Eric Guzman played all four years, two on varsity. He will join his teammate Slater on the Citrus College golf team. Seth Eshleman played at CHS two years, one year on varsity, and was on the varsity water polo team. He will study fire technology at Mt. SAC.

Track and field

Coach Veronica Amarasekara told the COURIER, “Although the season was significantly shortened, they accomplished so much!” As a group, the seniors amassed more than 60 personal or season records and were the top performers in 16 of the team’s 32 total events. At the Saddle Up Invitational, senior athletes earned eight of the 10 medals at the varsity level, including three silver and one bronze. Overall, the seniors’ contributions led the way for the team’s 3-0 league record. Track and field has the largest class of 2020, with 34 graduates.

Athletes on the team all four years include: Juliette Adame, Cal State Long Beach; Blake Bertrand, Westmont College; Wesley Chau; Yoon Cho, University of Pittsburgh; Jaden Clark, Stanford University; Diego Denson, Cal State Monterey Bay; Cooper Holt; Nathan Hoon; Reimy Liou, Smith College; Brian Marks; Isaac Martinez; Katie McGruder; Simone Murguia, University of Hawaii Manoa; Isatu N’Diaye, UC Santa Cruz; Aniyah Powell; Ziena Smadi; Azalea Segura Mora, UC San Diego; James Settles, Colorado College; Tatiana Sosnovsky, Concordia University; Paige Thielke, Emory University; and Adam Trafecanty, Loyola Marymount.

Three years on team: Aaron Alarcon; Sean Castro, Chaffey College; Nevaeh Cobb; Gabriel El-Jaouny, UC Santa Barbara; Lauryn Noeth, UC Riverside; Nathaniel Oluseyi Oke; Desiree Sanchez, Cal Poly Pomona; Jade Sleiman, Cal State Northridge; and Cassidy Sparks, Howard University.

Two years on team: Lucas Fasting; Caty Gaynor, Cal State San Bernardino; and Tamhas Morgan, Castleton University.

One year on team: Devin Carraway; Azzahraa Chaaban; Timothy Chang, UC Santa Barbara; and Eden Yu, UCLA.

Swimming

There were 75 Wolfpack swimmers with about 25 to 30 on varsity in 2020. Overall the team looked very good and would have done well in league, vying with Ayala and Glendora. CHS had some top-notch swimmers who would have done very well both individually and on relays. Some would have made it to CIF. Fourteen swimmers are in the class of 2020.

Natalya Strash, varsity all four years and team captain for 2020, competed in the 100 butterfly, 500 freestyle and relays. She received the coaches award three years, went to CIF finals two years and medaled in league finals for three years. She will major in global studies and international affairs at Cal Maritime Academy and hopes to play water polo. Varsity captain Matteo Velasquez swam at CHS for three years, two on varsity. He won the coaches award as a junior, and raced in the 200 medley relay, 50 free and 100 free. As a sophomore, he was the MVP on JV. Velasquez will compete in water polo and swimming at Citrus College while majoring in math.

Martin Herrera competed in a wide range of races including relays as well as the 200, 100 and 50 freestyle. She will attend Chaffey College. Izabella Hagan swam the 400 backstroke relay on the JV team her senior year. She will study pre-allied health at Citrus College, then nursing. Ayanna Lamboo swam the freestyle, butterfly and relays on the JV team for two years and varsity one year. Lamboo will attend Mt. SAC. Xulián Garcia Ramos played JV for three years and was captain two years. Garcia Ramos will attend Pepperdine University.

Sophia Gonzalez competed in the 100 backstroke and 100 free two years, one year on varsity. Gonzalez will play water polo at Mt. SAC and study hospitality management and culinary arts, then transfer to university. Izabella Hagan swam the 400 backstroke relay on the JV team her senior year. Next year she will study public health at UC San Diego. Dominic Dransfeldt swam 50 freestyle for two years, one year on varsity. Dransfeldt was JV captain last season, and will major in business administration at California Baptist University. Helena Fultz swam two years on JV, competing in the 100 freestyle. Fultz will study kinesiology and dance at Cal Poly Pomona. Avery Carroll swam for four years, three on varsity. As a freshman, she was JV team MVP, twice selected for all league academic team and competed in league finals three years. Carroll will attend University of Washington. Malcolm Casillas, William Phan and Lonise Mauga were also CHS swimmers.

Boys tennis

Kathy Settles has had some great tennis teams over the years while leading both the boys and the girls programs at CHS. Last year the Pack graduated six varsity players, so not surprisingly this year there is only one senior on the team. Ben Stapp was a four-year starter and, with Andrew Weisman, was the Palomares League doubles champion and MVP for two years. Last year the pair reached round 32 in the CIF tournament. Before the season was cancelled, Stapp had a 14-1 record in the number-one singles position. He will attend Colorado State in the fall.

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