Three rival schools battle for a spot at CCS

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Photo By Andrea Boyn
HHS competed against Palo Alto and Los Altos High Schools

hile tri-meets are regular for the professional swimming world, March 23 was the first time in HHS swimming history the team participated in a tri-meet instead of a regular dual-meet.

Coach Alex Romanko was faced with a scheduling conflict between a student club team event and the LAHS dual-meet. As a solution, the team decided to merge the PAHS vs HHS meet with the LAHS vs HHS dual-meet.

While in a typical dual-meet there may be six competing lanes, during a tri-meet there can be as many as nine.

Incorporating a tri-meet into the season will affect athletes in several ways. In addition to making the overall season shorter, swimmers will also have one less opportunity to qualify for CCS.

Despite fewer opportunities to compete in CCS, Romanko said that he tries to find as many non-league opportunities that are authorized by CCS  to maintain a good balance.

Less chances to qualify also implies heightened competition. Many athletes said they agree with Romanko that the added bodies in the water contributed to a better energy.

“It was pretty fun because it was a more competitive vibe,” junior Brandon Ligeti said. “Even if you lost to one team, there was still a good chance you could have [beat] the other [team].”

Despite the added nerves, HHS dominated the pool. The Mustangs won three of the four meets in the competition and seven out of eight including both boys and girls.

Although HHS will not be participating in any more tri-meets this year, Romanko said he hopes to have the opportunity to hold one again.

Football springs back into season

 

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Although football fans may reluctantly put away their banners and green face paint at the end of the fall season, the game is not over for many players.

This spring offseason, for instance, the team maintains a rigorous practice schedule, training Monday to Thursday for two hours each day.

Head Varsity coach Milo Lewis said that the average practice consists of stretching individuals, agilities, 7-on-7 scrimmages and team offense or team defense.

Victory is the most important motivation for many on the team, such as junior Jarrett (“J-Money”)  Conkin and freshman Guy Haiby. Other players, such as junior Hector Sotelo Quiroz, described hopes of building a strong defense.

“It shows in the season, the amount of work you put in in the off season, even if it’s hard,” Haiby said. “You just got to think about, if you put in work now, it’s going to show as result in the field during the season.”

In particular, the team teams in hopes of making playoffs at the De Anza league next year. Although, The team has made it to playoffs at El Camino multiple times in past years, making playoffs at De Anza has been a long-term goal.

“That would the first time that me as the head coach had done it in the De Anza league … and I think that’s what our program is been about,” Lewis said.

However, the team also focuses on personal growth.

“Everybody’s got stronger with what they’re doing right now, compared to when they were freshmen. They’ve never seen what they’ve done and sometime they surprised their own selves,” Lewis said.

Although spring football requires extra dedication from players, junior Ryan (“QB”) D’Amour said it also provides time to learn and grow as a team.

“It’s about winning and really being a team, a football team … like it’s fun to come and just hang out with the team, but like we keep the season in mind a lot of the time” D’Amour said. “We want to do good during the season and it takes a certain amount of hard work.”

Boys varsity recovering from a slump

The boys varsity basketball team is not going down without a fight. With a current record of 3-5 in the De Anza League and 8-12 overall, the team must get a record of 6-6 in their league to qualify for CCS.

The team has five games left in the season, including the last game they played against Mountain View this past Wednesday that resulted in a win.

With the few remaining games left in the season, the boys varsity team have a slim chance of making it to CCS. Given that they are in the De Anza League, which consists of some of the best teams in the area.

Senior captain Joshua Anderson said that initially they thought they were going to be an outstanding team and he said he thinks that they still have a chance to reach that potential.

“The season definitely hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to,” Anderson said. “[However], I definitely think we have the capability of being a great team.”

When the team loses a game and a teammate feels discouraged both Anderson and senior captain Brendan Kane agreed that they have to be the leading voice to uplift their teammates’ spirits so they can do better next game.

However, the team morale has been low, with players not putting 100 percent of their effort into the game because of the initial constant losses, which have now resulted in a narrower chance at qualifying for CCS, Anderson said.

Despite this rocky patch in their season, Kane and Anderson said they are hopeful that the team will pull through and give it their all until it is numerically impossible to continue.

“We are still going to keep fighting everyday,” Anderson said. “I think even though it’s not looking great right now we can definitely turn it around.”

Kane said that the team has been adjusting practices so that they can improve on their offensive and defensive game and do better against these challenging teams.

“If they play a zone defense or a man defense we’ll change and adapt [how we play],” Kane said.

Head coach Shawn Hook said since the team is in their second round of league games they have seen many of the teams before and are confident that they can beat some of the teams that they lost to in close games.

Hook said that with four games left, the varsity team definitely has the capacity to turn this season around. Only three out of their next four games must be won to qualify for CCS, which now seems likely.

“It’s gonna be a hard fight but it’s one that we want and it’s going to be extremely rewarding when we do make CCS,” said Hook. “So I’ll be really happy and proud of [the team].”

Despite valiant efforts, HHS comes up short against LGHS

The boys varsity basketball team played Los Gatos. Although the team put great effort, the game ended with HHS losing 42 to 81.

The first quarter started off slow with LGHS  trailing by five points. They soon caught up and gained a quick 15-point lead.

The rest of the first quarter continued with HHS falling behind between 15 to 20 points.

The first quarter concluded with LGHS leading 24 to 9 and Homestead having a total of 5 fouls.

The second quarter continued with LGHS continuing their lead over HHS.

LGHS managed to score an additional 15 points while HHS only scored six points ending the second half and homestead trailing behind 39 to 15.

During the third quarter, HHS started to catch up to LGHS scoring a total 18 points. However, towards the end of the third quarter LGHS scored an additional 21 points, ending the third quarter 60 to 33.

The fourth quarter continued with LGHS defense continuing to shut down HHS as the offense only scored nine points. LGHS offense also displayed their superiority over the HHS defense as they scored 21 points.

One notable player from HHS was senior Josh Anderson. Anderson provided excellent coverage and screening when HHS was on offense.

The HHS boys varsity basketball team now has a record of 5 wins and 8 losses.

Homestead students pre-game rituals

The athletes at HHS have an interesting view on pre game rituals. Some of these students find it necessary to complete these rituals before every game however some of the students have used this pre game ritual to the point where it is muscle memory.

These students truly believe that their performance is tremendously increased when they complete their ritual.

One student with a pre game ritual of their own is Sophomore Alexa Maletis. When asked what her pre game rituals was Maletis said “Right when I get on the field in my position, i crack my ankles and shake out my legs and jump up and down a couple times”.

Maletis completes this action at every game that she participates in, it relaxes her and helps her get focused.

When asked what she thinks makes her ritual special she said “ It’s really random, I really didn’t plan it out it just came naturally”. Instead of having a set idea on what she will do, Maletis has it come naturally.

Even though the creation of her ritual was created long ago, she has it memorized to the point where it is muscle memory. Maletis said “It’s really random, I really didn’t plan it out it just came naturally”.

Another person with a very interesting pre game ritual is Senior Lindsey Haynes. Haynes is varsity girls basketball player who is an important piece to the team’s starting lineup. Haynes and her other teammate Trinity complete a group ritual before every game.

When asked what her team does pre game Haynes said “Every game after warmups, my team runs into the huddle, but my teammate Trinity and I stay on the court while she rebounds for me making one 3 pointer. I always have to make my last shot, because I’m superstitious and believe that it will help me play better in the game. She rebounds the ball, we high five, and then run into the huddle together to meet the rest of our team”.

Hayes is very superstitious and cannot recall a time in which she did not perform this ritual. When asked if she plays better by performing the ritual Haynes said “I’ve never skipped this ritual, so I’m not entirely sure. But because I’m superstitious, I would probably not play as well”.

These Homestead athletes have their own unique pre game rituals that lead to big performances in their respective games.

Boys’ Varsity basketball has much to accomplish this season

After a horrible season two years ago and a decent season the year before, the Mustangs’ boys varsity basketball looks forward to improving from last season.

Unlike last season, the basketball team will be playing in the De Anza League, which is Division One in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League, coach Shawn Hook said. Managing to place second and JV placing first has allowed the team to play in an upper league.

The team is also close with one another as they took a retreat up to Ukiah for team building efforts.

“I think [that] we are looking pretty good, our team chemistry is great and [the] team bonding trip to Ukiah definitely brought us close,” senior Frankie Guerrera said.

Despite being in an upper league, Hook and the rest of the team look forward to bringing about a good season and making it to CCS again.

“I just want the juniors to give everything they have and [that] we make it [in]to CCS so the seniors can leave as winners,” Hook said.

Their first game, which is with Terra Nova High School, will be HHS’ third meeting with the school. According to Hook, both teams scored a victory with HHS making an amazing comeback in the second half of the game last season.

“We were down by like 20 and we came back. This year we are going to do the same,” senior Justin Yi said.

Senior Eric Sathy is the captain of the basketball team this year and is hoping to have a good year as well.

“I look forward to the friday night games and I hope we make it to CCS this year,”  Sathy said.

With much to look forward to in the season, each athlete on the team had different aspects of this season they were most looking forward to. Yi stated that he looks forward to Senior Night and looking to get some play time this year.

“The Fremont game is one game I look forward to most,” Guerrera said.

“We want to play the best so Los Gatos, Palo Alto and Cupertino are the top teams in the league, so definitely those,” Hook said.

With a team bond stronger than ever, the Boys’ varsity basketball season hopes to pull off a great season in an upper league.

Home Show performers also take part in senior night

Seniors say goodbye

Girls’ and boys’ water polo team shared their senior night victories on Oct. 17.

 

To celebrate the seniors, each team added special touches to make the celebration memorable. From giant cut-out heads and customized posters to balloon arches and Snapchat filters, the entire pool deck was full of Mustang spirit.

Four of the graduating seniors were asked for their favorite memory from the past couple years.

“We were gonna lose anyways, and our team doesn’t really care about that kinda stuff so, we played christmas music in the speakers of the locker room and just danced around,” senior Ashley Pae said.

After quite some time deliberating on which moment of many was her absolute favorite, senior Rosalina Fry chose one of the teams “weirdest” moments.

“A really good memory was sophomore year, our last game, we were playing Wilcox, their coach was screaming stuff, and we were winning by a significant amount, and the Ref red carded him.” While they were waiting, Fry said “We swam over to the Wilcox team and we got in a giant circle on the side and started doing a tribal chant.”

While the girl’s favorite memories were focused around their teams comradery, the boys valued their big wins.

“Sophomore year, we won the first CCS game in like 20 years. That was pretty lit,” senior Alexander Zeren said.

Senior Zachary Birrer shared about another game that went down in the books as an upset.

“My favorite moment of water polo was sophomore year when we beat our rival Saratoga in triple overtime.” Birrer said.

Following up to Birrer’s comment, Zeren said “Yeah that was pretty gangster.”

All in all, the memories these senior athletes made together in tournaments and practice will be carried with them forever.

Player of the Month: Sara Olsson

Sophomore Sara Olsson is an extremely important player to the volleyball team. She is a huge help to the team scoring-wise and defensively.

The volleyball team has been very successful this season and will be in CCS. Their record is 7-6. “I believe that the season has gone quite well, even though we have had our ups and downs each game end with having a good time,” Olsson said.

Sara Olsson performs above and beyond expectations during her volleyball game.

Even though the team does not always win, Olsson and her teammates play hard and

enjoy playing every game.

The team’s success doesn’t only come, but also from the work the teams does during practice.  

“The beginning of each practice JV and varsity does a T25 workout and then we jump straight into doing the butterfly drill, which involves focus and concentration. Then we run a few drills targeting the skills that we need to practice for our next opponent, and ending practice with playing 6 on 6,” Olsson said.

Olsson not only has the support of her teammates and coaches, but she also has the support of her family.

“They make me play better every game I play. My mom especially is there for me every game filming me for future college videos and recruiting purposes” Olsson said.

Outstanding performances by Olsson in games and her improvement from last year is why she was given Player of the Month.

Izzy Talk: girls volleyball makes it to CCS

The girls’ volleyball team this year went to CCS as the three seed in the division 1 bracket.

After every point, whether the other team gets one or they do, the girls huddle up for a few seconds.

Their overall record to end the season was 7-7 and the last loss was a upset and heartbreaker. On Sat. the team played against the sixth seed LGHS in the quarterfinals of CCS.

They lost in the final and close set letting the wildcats proceed to the semifinals to now play against San Benito High school.

Even though the team lost in their first game in CCS that loss does not define the team at all; this team is one that will never get on each other over stupid mistakes instead they will say it’s okay we’ll get the next one.

That sense of camaraderie is what makes this team a great one. If junior Kelsey Van Horne makes a mistake and the opposing team gains a point, the team huddles for a second and in the next play Van Horne gets that point back because she promised her team she would.

The work ethic of this team is very visible to anyone who has watched any of their games this season.

Sophomores Paige Bensing and Sara Olsson are key players that make the team so good that they do not show their inexperience of being on the team for only two years.

And key player Katelyn Zhang was set up by her teammates to spike the ball every single time she was on the court, Zhang would get points from those spikes to help the team.

All of the players are important to the team, if one was not on the team, the team would not b the same.

This team should not ashamed of themselves for being upsetted instead they should cherish this season and for the non-seniors work hard all offseason to win CCS because that is what this team is more than capable of.

Victory on senior night

Sports makes strong push to CCS

As the season comes to an end, CCS-bound teams look to finish strong.

Sport teams have huge standards to live up to, after the last few successful years, such as boys water polo, girls volleyball, cross country, girls tennis and girls golf.

Cross country won their league championship, thanks to runners junior Ryan Ma, senior Elena Kamas and junior Sammy Lieberman along with lots of other runners. The cross country team has had a very successful year. Ma said he believes his team has a chance to win CCS however, he knows it will be tough

“While our training has prepared us well for the season, there are many other fast teams in CCS,” Ma said. “Both the Homestead boys and girls varsity teams will definitely have to run fast at CCS on November 11 to qualify for the CIF State Meet.”

Boys water polo has also had a very successful season this year; their record is 12-9. A big part of winning games is coaching. When asked about how well the coach has prepared the boys water polo team, sophomore Ben Ramans said he believes the team has a very good chance to take home a CCS win.

“I think our coach has definitely prepared the guys team for CCS, and we do have a chance to win our CCS division this year which is a first for any holmestead water polo team,” Ramans said.

Girls’ volleyball also looks to make a strong push to CCS. With the help of  key players senior Kaitlin Zhang, sophomore Sara Olsson and senior Laine Schwartz as well as other players, the volleyball team ended with a record of 7-6.

“The one of several of the team’s leaders is Kaitlin Zhang. She is one of our seniors and always knows how to take charge in difficult situations even if it involves holding someone accountable or calling out where the block should be,” Olsson said.

Zhang is a very important part of the team due to her leadership in tough situations and her outstanding play, Olsson said.

Girls golf and tennis have also seen their fair share of success as well. Girls golf finished first place with the help of senior Meghan Hook and freshman Naomi Danner.

Girls tennis ended with a record of 6-8. Senior Natalie Tarn was a big help in the team’s record.

The Mustangs are excelling in fall sports and these teams look to do major damage in CCS.