Tag Archives: Poway

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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