Category Archives: Sports

Softball Season Starts off Strong: Samantha Needham Squares Up at the Plate to Swing for the Fences this Season

Courtesy of Steven Silva

MASON KERN/ Sports Editor

From the young age of seven, senior Samantha Needham knew that she wanted to be a softball player. She entered competitive league play at just 11 years old for TNL Athletics, and has not looked back since.

Her noteworthy career has led Needham to maintain a varsity starting spot as both an outfielder and first baseman for all four years of high school. When she was just starting high school as a freshman, Needham went to the varsity softball tryouts with understandable trepidation, unsure how the leap of faith would unfold. It is hard for a freshman to muster up the confidence to appear at a varsity level tryout in the first place, let alone with coaches and an organization at large that is unfamiliar with the player, or their track record.

Having hailed from the Mira Mesa softball program, Titans softball coaches were entirely unfamiliar with Needham prior to the tryout. However, her ability shone through and she successfully made the varsity team as a freshman, and continued to maintain that spot all four years of high school.

“It was nerve-racking at first because none of the coaches knew me, and being a freshman at my first varsity tryout… it was a scary thing,” Needham admits.

In her four year tenure with the team, she has been involved in an accumulated record of 68-25, including the team’s most recent 6-2 victory against San Pasqual High School.

In her game against Santana, in which the team won 6-1, Needham hit a homerun that scored two runs for the team. It was her first homerun since her freshman year.

Other highlights of her high school career include winning an Open Division CIF championship in the 2015 campaign, as well as the team making an appearance in the Open Division Championship the following year. Unfortunately they came just short in the final innings.

“I’m really grateful to have experienced so much success in such a great program,” Needham said. “I think the new talent will step up and we’ll have another great season this year.”

As with all high school sports, athletes come and go. As a result, teams need to compensate for yearly losses by adding new players developed from the junior varsity level, or in Needham’s case, those underclassman ready to jump straight to varsity.

As a payoff for her hard work and dedication, Needham has since committed to Santa Clara University where she will continue to play softball for the Lady Broncos, as well as pursue a career in the field of broadcast journalism.

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Dance Team Tops All Competition

Courtesy of Jade Coast Photography

Photo Courtesy: Jade Coast Photography

MASON KERN/ Sports Editor

As the sports seasons have shifted from football to winter athletics, the dance team has feverishly been preparing for its halftime routines, pep rallies and the critically important competitions that they participate in against other dance teams from across the nation.

The mixed-class team is composed of seniors: Lauren Trust, Alex Flies, Emily Wilson, Isabella Seebruch, and Lindsay Nasland; juniors: Devon Medeksiak, Jennifer Lux, Amber Hoffman, Keiki Koch, and Ashley Staley; sophomores: Megan Lynch, Mallory Jul, Audrey Olaes, Tevai Demello, Olivia Mann, Alina Scott; and freshman: Kodi Hightower, Mikayla Voorn, Alexa Workman, Emily Alcalay, Lexie Roche, Kendall Flies, and Skyler Hightower.

The PHS dance team has impressively earned three national championships in years past, and currently has its sights set on securing a fourth win at the national level. Quite notably, the team won its last dance competition across the board, in both their singles and group competitions.

“We really want to get back to the top level and win another national competition,” Wilson said. “I think we have the talent to do it again this year, and I’m excited for what the future holds.”

The students on campus love to support the team, as its success has garnered attention not only from its own school, but students throughout the district as a whole as well.

“Yea people at my school hear about Poway’s dance team, I mean they’re really good,” Mount Carmel senior Viraj Deshpande said. “I saw them perform when I went to the football game against Mount Carmel and I was kind of blown away.”

The level of talent extends throughout all grade levels, as each individual dancer has her own backstory and portfolio of success. For example, Jul was extended the opportunity to perform on NBC-TV’s “The Ellen Show” as a dancer to perform the popular song “JuJu on Dat Beat” by Zayion McCall.

“All of us are really talented in a variety of different aspects of dancing, so when we come together on the floor, we are virtually unstoppable,” Lynch said.

Additionally, the team competed in the USA Regionals competition over the weekend of Feb. 10-11 where they secured first place in three of their routines, and placed in the top three for the rest of their performances as well.

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Wrestling Wreaking Havoc on National Scale

MASON KERN/ Sports Editor

The wrestling program is notorious for highly athletic maneuvers resulting in quick pins and impressive victories. This notoriety has propelled them to become an elite-caliber wrestling program not only in San Diego, but also the nation at large. They have already gotten off to a fast start this school year, having claimed the first place overall team award in five out of their six tournaments.

The team has also won both of their non-tournament meets, the first being the Rancho Bernardo Duel by a score of 46-15 on Jan. 4; and the second being the Westview Dual by a score of 66-12 on Jan. 12.

Led by three seniors, University of Virginia commit Scotty Kiyono, Quentin Hovis, and Celso Silva, the team is poised for another championship run this season. They perennially achieved success, now very well-known across the U.S. for being a top high school wrestling contender.

“We work really hard in practice to meet our goals. We hold everyone accountable, and have high expectations for each and every guy on this team,” Kiyono said.

As of the last InterMat’s rankings update as of Jan. 18, PHS is ranked 16th in the nation, with Hovis earning the distinction as the number one ranked wrestler in the country for his weight class of 152 pounds.

As a testament to their skill, the team has won the California Interscholastic Federation Championship 35 times in total, 30 of those consecutively. Their last CIF loss came in 1986 and, since then, the team has maintained a dominant image in the national wrestling community.

“It’s a real honor to be recognized for all of the hard work I put in each and every day. I just have to keep my head down and grind harder to maintain this level of competition in the future,” Hovis said.

As to their near-term goals, the team will look to continue its success in their upcoming meet at the Mid Cals Classic this weekend, Jan. 27-28 at Gilroy High School.

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Does football get more respect than other sports?

HANNAH WILLIAMS/Pop-Culture Editor–

Some athletes feel football players receive more opportunities than they do. Athletic director Damien Gonzalez says these perceptions are false.

“A lot of student athletes from other teams feel that because I’m the athletic director that our football program actually receives more benefits, which is not true. All athletes on campus are treated equally,” coach Gonzalez said.
Some point to how the football players receive extra benefits such as getting lunches every Friday or new uniforms. Everything that football has is because of fundraising. The money does not come from the athletic department, but from the football players spending time in the summer to fund-raise.
Furthermore,a chiropractor who volunteers on campus is not just for the football team. According to Gonzalez, he comes every Thursday to help out any student athlete for the entire year, not just during football season.
Another concern was during the lacrosse CIF finals last year. Some of the lights were dim, and lacrosse’s schedule was moved up because of opposing team complaints.
According to Gonzalez, the lights still aren’t fixed for football. They have to replace all of the bulbs in the summer when nobody’s around, because they have to shut down the cell towers, and were only able to replace some of the bulbs on the west side of the field.
The athletic department’s budget plan, is that football will bring in $50,000 during the year, basketball around $10,000, and wrestling around $2,000.
With the variety of different expenses, from athletic awards to CIF and State dues, the top expense is officials fees, which range anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 a year.
So, looking at the income at about $78,000, where actual expenses last year were about $66,000, there is a projected budget.
If ASB/athletics gets extra money they use it for other things, such as purchasing hurdles for the track team, soccer goals for men’s and women’s soccer programs, wall pads for the gym, etc.
“So, I basically have the choice at the end of the year, where’s our needs and where are we going to put that money, and $0 has gone back to football” Gonzalez said.
“Last year with our extra money I decided to pay for boys and girls lacrosse and cheer’s transportation costs, since they’re not technically covered by the district, which was around $8,000 to $10,000,” coach Gonzalez added.
This year, the profits are slated to purchase gymnastic mats for Gymnastics.

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Jay Trousdale Retiring, but not from Coaching

MASON KERN/Sports Editor

Sadly, on June 8, the physical education program is going to lose one of its premier instructors. Jay Trousdale, who has worked at Poway High for three decades, is set to retire from his long and illustrious career that has included instructing the beginner through advanced basketball classes, as well as the standard physical education classes required for graduation.

With the 2016-17 girls’ varsity basketball season having commenced with a four game winning streak, the team hopes that Trousdale’s impending retirement from teaching will not adversely impact his influence on the basketball court for this season, or the next while he remains at the helm as head coach.

“Right now I plan on coaching the basketball girls next season. I love working with those ladies and as long as I have my energy and good health, I should be good to go,” Trousdale said.

As for the athletes he has coached throughout the years, they have continuously impressed throughout their seasons. In fact, Trousdale was recognized as the “winningest coach in the county” by achieving 600 wins during last year’s season.

“My favorite moment in my career was achieving the all-time wins mark in San Diego at 611,” notes Trousdale.  “The reason being that it meant all the girls in 29 years made that happen! The four CIF titles!” Trousdale stated that he also enjoys being able to attend many former players’ weddings, and just watching students mature into young adults.

At the sprite age of 60 years old, Trousdale is ready for retirement but, because he has been surrounded by the chatter of students for the last few decades of his life, it may be hard for him to stay away from the proverbial call of duty. Future Titans may have hope for the future, as a legend with as big a drive and dedication as Trousdale may be hard-pressed to break away from the student body completely.

This is evident as Trousdale waxes poetic about what he’ll do with his time during retirement. “I still love working with the kids!,” he says. “I will look forward to sleeping in. I have a lot of sleep to catch up on in 38 years! I don’t fish, hunt or play golf. For me, it will be to attend San Diego sporting events and of course a few rock concerts. I will want to see a few PHS sporting events too.”

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Lerner Leads Event Horse to Glory

MASON KERN/Sports Editor

Horseback riding is hard enough for most to do in and of itself. Beyond the basics of just riding this gracious animal, training it to compete in the harshest of conditions is a challenge that takes equal parts skill, patience and tenacity. This is what senior Madi Lerner has done since she was just a little girl.

“Eventing,” basically the equivalent of an equestrian triathlon, encompasses both physical and mental components that must be undertaken by both horse and rider. There are three phases associated with eventing: dressage, endurance and show jumping. Lerner has trained her horse, Jasper, since 2008 and has loved every moment of her time as an equestrian trainer and rider.

“I started riding because my mom wouldn’t get me a puppy or kitten for my seventh birthday, and instead got me riding lessons,” Lerner said. “From the first lesson, I was so glad that she didn’t get me the puppy or kitten because I immediately fell in love with riding.”

“Horseback riding makes me feel fulfilled. I feel like I can accomplish anything because it’s the part of my life that makes me feel whole, like I have a purpose,” Lerner continued.

Competitions last three days, with the first being dressage. This is followed by endurance and, lastly, show jumping. Dressage is scored based on the intricate movements that the animal makes in harmony with its trainer. Optimally the animal performs required tasks of its own accord, so as to not disobey the trainer.

Lerner competed in the national championships held at Woodside Horse Park in Redwood City, California. There she, along with her companion athlete Jasper, secured the win. However, after this event, she sustained a concussion and nerve damage when she was bucked off her horse during a training session. While she qualified for the championships again this year and the following, she is unable to attend this year’s event because protocol mandates that injuries of her kind must keep riders out of competition for a whole year.

“I knew that my injury was just a small part of my life, and that I could grow and move on from it. Also, I knew that Jasper counted on me to come back and to prove that we can compete against that we will stay a strong team and come back better than ever,” Lerner noted.

She hopes to continue to compete in equestrian events in the future, and hopes to continue fostering the best relationship possible with Jasper, as well as all other horses Lerner competes with.

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Explaining the PE Waiver System

MASON KERN/Sports Editor

There are a plethora of young athletes stuck in the physical education system who crave to escape. Because of this, Poway High School has implemented the PE waiver system to help those people who are already in a junior varsity level sport complete other electives of their choice other than PE. But not all of these athletes understand the process of how to acquire one of these waivers; the answer is located in our Registrar’s office

The PE waiver system aims to help students who are enrolled in physical education to receive their credits by playing the sports in which they are already a part of. As the sports seasons heat up, it is important that young athletes meet the deadline of the PE waiver to escape the horror of the daily activities associated with physical education. Registrar Tania Rowe explains how it works:

“The PE waiver is used for students who are participating in CIF sports. What it does is when you complete a season of CIF sports you can waive five credits of PE. Now that doesn’t make those credits go away, you still need 230 credits to graduate, but instead of  taking PE, which is a state requirement, because you’ve done a CIF sport we allow you to take something in place of that. Because the graduation requirement is two completed years of physical education, the PE waiver comes in handy for young athletes.

However, some students within the school have voiced confusion over how the system works. The rules and regulations associated with the PE waiver are vast because students are required to be at least a sophomore in high school, and be on a junior varsity level sports team, along with other prerequisites.

Because of this,  many students do not bother obtaining one which they deserve because they do not want to deal with the process, “I think a lot of people get confused and eventually disregard this great resource, it really is a shame,” senior Connor Lynch said.

In response to the concern, the school board was clear and concise, and hopefully their answer will clear the air for those who are considering achieving the waiver.

“You can’t have PE on your schedule and waive it at the same time, so freshmen are not eligible. And seniors, we don’t allow to do it in their second semester because if they get injured they can’t complete their sport and then they just wouldn’t graduate because they got injured whereas if you’re in PE and you get injured you can provide a doctor’s note and still pass the class,” Rowe said.

Overall the system seeks to improve the lives of the student body and make it easier for athletes to graduate without having to deal with the struggle that is the public physical education system.

 

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Field Hockey Steps Up

The Iliad/ Beaty Pitts

Senior Isabelle Flud attacks the opposing goal with ferocity. The Titans beat Westview 4-3 on Oct. 4.

MASON KERN/Sports Editor

The girls’ field hockey team started their season strong, and they look to continue their success as the season moves forward. Having already played a total ten games, the team has jumped out to an early 7-3 season (at the time of publication), and a win percentage of 70 percent. The team hopes to continue their large strides, and build on their Sept. 29 win against Fallbrook High School.

“Our team this year has really good chemistry. We know what each other are going to do and we will always be there for each other,” team captain and San Diego State University commit Isabelle Flud said.

With seven goals to her name already early on in the season, Flud looks to continue to lead her team towards greatness. The team chemistry is evident as the girls are undefeated at home. The team’s plays show that they are very comfortable with one another; and they understand each other’s playing style very well.

The team hopes to get a positive result in their upcoming games on Oct. 18 at Poway versus San Pasqual High School, and Nov. 2 against arch-rival Rancho Bernardo High School.

“We lost a lot of seniors and core players last year, but we still have very capable players this year and I’m sure we’ll perform well in the remainder of our season,” field hockey athlete Lauren Whitney said.

As for the coaching, the staff seems to be leading the program in the right direction, and it is evident that their tactics are having an impact on the players.

“Our coaches press us really hard in practices and in games so we can succeed both on and off the field,” Isabelle Flud said.

The Titans’ will surely be a force to be reckoned with as the season continues, and will command a high seed going into the playoffs if their recent play continues. Led by both Isabelle Flud, and junior Lauren Leland, the girls’ field hockey team will look to get a result in their upcoming game against Del Norte on Oct. 12.

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Cross Country Titans Take on Seattle

Iliad/ Luke Beckwith

The Iliad/ Luke Beckwith

Left: Seniors Jarett Chinn, Tyler Neal, Kyle Kesler, Michael Downs, Zach Kraft, and Cameron Hirsh

MASON KERN/Sports Editor

Poway High has a history of competing in big cross country events, including the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California last year. This year the team was looking for a bigger challenge, even outside of California, which led them to take their talents to Seattle, Washington.

Lakewood High School hosted the 33rd annual Nike Hole in the Wall Cross Country Invitational on Oct. 8, which saw teams spanning from Hawaii to British Columbia and even up into Canada— including our own Titans.

At this largest cross country race in Washington State, including college and professional races, the Titans placed extremely well, securing first place for varsity boys, and a respectable 12th place for varsity girls.

“For me, it was one of my better races, but it was our teams’ depth that really helped us prevail and show the state of Washington what Poway Cross Country was really about,” senior Jarett Chinn said.

The boys’ team took first place overall in the 5,000 meter run with a total of 169 points, lower than any other team. The second place team was Glacier Peak with 192 points followed by Camas with 197 points.

Chinn was Poway’s top finisher, placing ninth in a time of 16-minutes, 1.6-seconds. Senior Michael Downs was next at 27th in 16:23.4 and senior Tyler Neal landed 33rd with a personal best of 16:31.3. Senior Gavin Blaine was the biggest surprise coming in at 48th in 16:40.4, which was also a personal best. The same for senior Cameron Hirsch at 67th in 16:57, senior Zach Kraft at 83rd in 17:07.8, and senior Kyle Kesler at 93rd in 17:14.5.

“I was the last choice to go on the trip, and I was expected to finish last on the Poway team for our heat,” Blaine said. “I told myself this was the last time I could run this race, and I ran really well. Nobody there knew of Poway, so I knew we needed to make sure they all remembered our name.”

The girls’ varsity team scored 362 points for their 12th place win. The top three teams included Jesuit with 52 points, Camas with 99 points and Edmonds-Woodway with 110 points.

Katie Downs secured the best time for Poway coming in 48th place with a time of 19-minutes, 30.6-seconds. She was followed by Alex Calegari at 50th in 19:32.4 and then Kinley Williams at 77th in 20:07.6. Sarah Chittle followed immediately after at 78th place in 20:10.7, and freshman Eva Rethmeier at 140th in 21:08.0

“I expected it to be a tough race because many of the top teams from Oregon and Washington were there, and they knew how to run in those conditions,” Kraft said.

The Titans likewise found success at the 69th Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational on Oct. 22, finishing in 13th place. The top runner was again Chinn placing 23rd for the Titans, followed by Downs at 30th and senior Kit Carter at 51st.

They hope to run into CIF with a high seed, and to compete well at the North County Conference Finals on Nov. 12.

 

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Track CIF update

On May 30th at Mount Carmel High School the Titans who competed in CIFs astonished with record breaking results. Hayley Leonard raised the crowd with her lightning speed and broke the school record in the 400, and helped break another record in the 4×400 relay. She placed 4th in the 400 and her team placed 1st in the 4×400. The 4×400 relay team will now be moving on to state.

Along with Leonard, Titan stars Maddie Murray placed 4th in the 300 hurdles, and Kayla Meyers placed 1st in the pole vault and beat her personal record by 10 inches. All three will be moving on to state.

On the boys’ side, Jarrett Chin placed 1st in the 800 and will compete at state and the boys 4×4 relay placed 3rd in Division 1.

The State Meet will be held on June 5th and 6th at Buchanan High School in Fresno and the Titans are expected to conclude the season with an outstanding outcome while there.

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