Portola Pilot

Bulldogs’ First Year as Fall Varsity Athletes

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Captain and junior Kaveh Wojtowich leads the football team onto the field before the Forthcoming Game against University

Captain and junior Kaveh Wojtowich leads the football team onto the field before the Forthcoming Game against University

Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee

Captain and junior Kaveh Wojtowich leads the football team onto the field before the Forthcoming Game against University

Ajinkya Rane and Farhad Taraporevala

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For the first year, athletics is competing across the board in varsity sports. Girls golf, volleyball and tennis, along with boys water polo, football and both boys and girls cross country are the sports in the school’s first ever season of all varsity sports.

Girls’ golf, coached by Wind Ralston, has a league record of 1-6, with its win against Northwood High on Sept. 10. The team consists of freshmen Maddie Amlen Yasmin Fukushima and Ashley Wang and sophomores, Jordan Amlen, Kenzie Edson and Wei Zhao.

“We have three freshmen and three sophomores for our starting lineup, and we are playing against juniors and seniors, so it’s been a learning experience for the girls; also, it’s just a different level of competition,” Ralston said.

The team hopes to gain experience from this season and improve in coming years as it builds traditions and a legacy. As one of the younger varsity teams, the girls still have time to grow as athletes. Their win against Northwood High sets the tone for the rest of the season and upcoming years.

Football, coached by Peter Abe, is 0-1 in the regular season, with its only loss coming against Beckman High. The team is captained by juniors Kai Horn, Russell Sung, Adrian Valerin and Brandon Yue.

“It’s hard because we are all juniors, and we are lacking size and experience, but it is also great experience for next year because we are all going to be returning players, and that is going to be huge for our team,” junior Kaveh Wojtowich said.

The football team has always had to manage playing against teams that were bigger and older. This will hopefully change next year, as the juniors in varsity football this year become seniors, and the experience of four years of high school football leads to success.

Cross country is coached by Victor Quiros and Cale Kavanaugh and has competed at four meets, most recently the Pacific Coast League Cluster Meet where both the boys and girls teams finished in 6th place. The team will compete at the Pacific Coast League Finals Meet on Oct. 30. Captains include juniors Madison Lam and Jordan Lee.

“I feel like there is not as much pressure because we are the first ones [in a varsity cross country team], and we don’t have a legacy to live up to, but it is nice to be establishing that legacy,” junior Alyssa Ing said.

Girls’ tennis, coached by Natasha Schottland, currently holds a record of 1-6. The team consists of freshmen Saachi Pavani, Sophia Wang, Renee Wang and Adelynne Wong, sophomores Sarina Iwai and Jamie Shin and juniors Helena Hu, Lauren Hwang, Allison Shi and Kaylee Seo.

“We have some great freshmen this year on varsity,” Schottland said. “I try not to put too many freshmen on a varsity team just because of maturity and skill, but with the addition of four freshmen, one of which is a national champion, Saachi Pavani, the team has really embraced the girls and taken them under their wings to learn how the team runs.”

Boys’ water polo is also playing league matches against strong programs. Coached by Kate Avery, the team currently stands at 0-4 in league matches. Captains include juniors Leonardo Pena, Alexander Cherry and Belal Ibrahim.

“[Playing varsity] has definitely been an experience because our team is really new, so we aren’t the best, but with loss comes learning and I think our team is going to get a lot better throughout this year,” sophomore and right wing Jun Kim said.

Girls’ volleyball, coached by Heidi Martasian, currently stands at (1-8). The team’s captain is junior and outside hitter Alexandra Teats.

“Playing varsity is never easy, and because we’re a new team we have even more challenges to overcome,” junior and outside hitter Loryn Bales said. “ I’m looking forward to seeing how we develop and grow as a team throughout the season because we’ll be playing some tough teams.”

While the varsity teams have faced tough opponents, the future is looking bright for student-athletes as they build their programs. Playing against nationally recognized teams with no seniors is no easy feat, and our athletics department will only grow and succeed as the years pass by.

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Bulldogs’ First Year as Fall Varsity Athletes