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Claremont High School sports hit high gear for fall

Claremont High School sports teams have returned to league play, with athletes preparing for several match ups next week. A look at a number of the fall sports teams is below.

GIRLS TENNIS: Fresh off an 11-7 victory against Troy High Tuesday night, the girls tennis team is preparing for another assault on the Sierra League. The Wolfpack put in a strong campaign during the 2011 season but came up short in the CIF playoffs. Coach Tom Spinosa will rely on experienced players Toby Miclat and daughter Drew Spinosa to propel the team toward a finals berth in this year’s postseason. Coming into his fourth year as head coach, Spinosa can also look to the emerging talents of junior Cindy Liu and sophomore Haley Kayatta for solid performances each week. Claremont’s next test is a non-conference match away against Glendora High on Monday at 3 pm.

FOOTBALL: The Wolfpack’s Craig Myers threw for 3 touchdowns as CHS downed the Walnut Mustangs 27-10 on Friday night for their first win. Coach Mike Collins sent his offense on the field with a different game plan from the week before, preferring to use untested quarterback Myers as a deep passer. He responded with gusto, completing 20 of 26 passes to his receivers. The Mustangs had no answer for wideout Baron Franklin, who caught 10 passes for 150 yards and 2 scores. Josh Ferrer and Joe Davis combined for over 30 tackles in the heart of the Pack defense to hold the Mustangs to only 10 points. Claremont next plays host to the winless Bonita Bearcats this Friday, September 14 at 7 p.m.

CROSS COUNTRY: Coach Bob Lander is in his 9th year as the girls and boys cross-country coach, and he has presented the team with specific challenges for the 2012 season. The girls XC team is currently ranked sixth in CIF-SS Divison II. Returning runners include junior Megan Renken, who was last year’s Sierra League Champion, junior Merin Arft, and seniors Bailey Sanin and Allison Spivack. Sophomore Julia Cantrell finished 13th at the 2011 league finals, and Coach Lander says that her much-improved personal time will help the team meet their goal of running the fastest combined time in CHS history. As for the boys team, returning senior runners Jimmy Baeskens and Aric Crowell captain a squad looking to run a sub-80 minute combined time at the Mt. SAC race. Sophomores Mike Lowry and Adam Johnson bolster the Pack, both showing impressive improvement from last year.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Claremont’s volleyball team has undergone a facelift, bringing in Erika Williams as head coach. Coach Williams has instilled in her players the desire to out- work every opponent through collective preparation and synergy. She brings several years of experience to the setup, previously coaching Rancho Valley’s 16-select club volleyball team.

Returning hitters Justice Klein and Brittany Monahan give Claremont the ability to build upon last year’s impressive league performances against the likes of St. Lucy’s High. The Wolfpack dropped Saturday’s Los Osos tournament elimination game against Sherman Oaks’ Notre Dame High 2 sets-to- one; however, they hope to bounce back during their next game. Claremont will travel to Alta Loma High School tomorrow, Thursday, September 13, at 5:30 p.m.

BOYS WATER POLO: Third-year coach Kristin McKown looks to finish atop the league this year. She will use next month’s game against rival Damien High School as a benchmark for the boys water polo team’s success. Senior captain and talisman Stephen Zetterberg gives the team strength in attack, while sophomore goalie Steven Cable provides consistency and acrobatic stops between the pipes.

Up-and-coming players include leading goalscorer Thomas Randles and Jonathon Wong, who adds bite to the core of the team. Claremont is currently preparing for upcoming matches against Temple City and Chino Hills high schools.

GIRLS GOLF: Coach Octavio Hernandez looks to build on his team’s strong performance against Chino Hills High Tuesday evening. The third year golf coach Hernandez has set an attainable goal of finishing in the top three Sierra League teams in 2012. Although unable to pull out a victory, experienced captains Kennedy Bingham and Ellen Blaine hope to lead their team to success during conference play. The young team will work to improve their collective score throughout the season. The Wolfpack play again at Upland Hills golf course on Thursday afternoon against Hacienda Heights High, then again next Tuesday against Ayala High.

 —Chris Oakley

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