Grizzlies flying high entering NCS

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Grizzlies flying high entering NCS

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For only the second time in school history, Cal’s varsity football team can call themselves EBAL champions

The Grizzlies earned a co-championship with San Ramon Valley after both teams finished 5-1 in league.  Although Cal handed the Wolves their only loss by the score of 41-38 on Oct. 12, the teams still share the title.

This co-championship earned the Grizzlies the No. 2 seed in the NCS playoffs, which kicked off on Nov. 9 with Cal enjoying a bye along with top seed De La Salle.

“We earned it,” said senior Paul Mgbam. “We worked hard for this.”

As a No. 2 seed, Cal enjoys home field advantage all the way up until the championship game, if the Grizzlies get that far.

“(We can go far) if we play good defense,” said coach Eric Billeci.

Cal hosts Foothill tonight at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals.

The Grizzlies handled Foothill already this season, 36-7 on Sept. 28. Seventh-seeded Foothill (6-5) reached the quarterfinals after defeating No. 10 Deer Valley (6-5)  28-17 last Friday.

“It comes down to how hard we push ourselves,” said junior quarterback Cameron Owen. “It’s about how much we want it.”

This high seeding came as a result of a dominant season with wins over every opponent except for Monte Vista, and the always tough De La Salle.

The 8-2 record is the best since the 2010 Grizzlies went 9-1 and advanced to the NCS championship game  against De La Salle at the Colosseum in Oakland.  Cal lost 49-21.

“We’ve got to  stay on track,” said senior running-back Karris Johnson.

And if the Grizzlies do, there could be another meeting with the Spartans for the NCS title on Dec. 1 at Dublin High.

– Luke Finkel

Women’s Golf

A surprise season that resulted in a half dozen wins and a trip to the NCS Championships have the women’s golf team hopeful for the future.

Cal completed its amazing turn-around season by placing 13th out of 21 schools with a team score of 473 at the NCS Division 1 Championship on Oct. 29 at Windsor Golf Course.

“This was a breakout season,” said coach Mike Pottinger, who hopes more girls will come out for the team next year after seeing this team’s success.

After failing to win a league match the previous two years, the Grizzlies are highly motivated for next season after finishing sixth in league with a 5-9 record, 6-10 overall.

“I think we have had a huge improvement from the past seasons,” said senior captain Madalyn Schenk. “We have really had a good group of girls.”

At the NCS championships, freshman Fericia Terciano led the way with an 86 and Schenkshot a season-low 90. Freshman Alexis Guimaraes shot 92, followed by sophomores Jenn Zeng (100), Chi Cheng (105), and junior Qi Tian 106.

The team advanced to NCS by placing ninth at the Division 1 Qualifier by shooting 486 on Oct. 22 at Deer Ridge in Brentwood.

Terciano and Guimaraes had outstanding rounds at the qualifying tournament, shooting  85 and 95, respectively.

“We really exceeded our goals and expectations,” Pottinger said.

– Ashwath Mohan

Women’s Tennis

The women’s tennis team had a tough time this season, finishing fifth in the EBAL with a 4-10 record.

In their last seven matches of the season, the Grizzlies went 2-5.  The team had two nice 7-2 wins over Livermore on Oct. 16 and Granada on Oct. 18.

Unfortunately, Cal wrapped up its season by a pair of 7-2 losses to Carondelet on Oct. 30 and Foothill on Oct. 25.

In the EBAL tournament, the team had little success.  Juniors Mia Nakajima and Jessica Ma reached the semifinals for doubles before getting knocked out.  Senior Michelle Kim lost in the first round of the singles.

Kim, Ma, Nakajima, and junior Tiffany Jow were the  team’s top players this season. In spite of the tough season, the team had many bright moments.

“My favorite moment was when me and my doubles partner (Ma) beat Monte Vista,” said Nakajima.

– Alec Bandler

Cross Country

The Grizzlies had a good start to the season, but it didn’t stop there. Both the men and women have made great improvements. A lot of the runners were determined to improve since the start, and they have shown that throughout the season.

“The women’s team improved a lot from last year,” said sophomore Angelica Pollard. “Many of us had huge time improvements.”

Pollard improved her time from 21:50 to a 21:24, a 26 second improvement.

Not only did the teams improve their times, but they also improved their endurance. All the hard run workouts really paid off in the center meet at Monte Vista.

“It was a difficult course,” said sophomore Scott Barlow. “But we were ready for it.”

Scott was proud to finish the 3-mile course with a personal record of 18:45. He would later improve to a personal record of 17:43.  Many runners achieved a personal record on Nov. 3 at the Shadow Cliffs course. Varsity runner Christian Aldana finished with a personal record of 17:04.

With the NCS championship coming up on Saturday, he hopes to improve his time again at the Hayward High course.

One Grizzly that is projected to be a rising star is freshman runner Nick Spalding. He currently has a personal record of 19:30. His teammates really think that he will improve over the years and will turn out to be an outstanding runner.

– Ashwath Mohan

    Men’s Water Polo

The men’s water polo team finished a solid season with a first-round exit in the NCS playoffs.

The Grizzlies earned the  12th seed after finishing the regular season with an 11-13 overall record. But Cal’s playoff run was short-lived when No. 5 Acalanes defeated the Grizzlies 18-6 on Nov. 1.

Cal took  a bit of a step back from last year, when the team finished 19-5 and reached the second round of the playoffs.

– Eric Yee

   Women’s Water Polo

The Grizzlies failed to reach the playoffs this year, but felt great in their final game of the year.

The Grizzlies ended their season with a 20-5 loss to Carondelet  Oct. 25.

“We had a fun game,” said sophomore Maddie Hurd. “This was my favorite game because I had a great pass to Lauren Barnard from the half distance line.”

This loss capped off a winless season in league for the ladies.  The Grizzlies did place third in the Sierra Shootout earlier in the season, but they couldn’t repeat last year’s success of reaching the playoffs. They are confident they will bounce back next year.

– Eric Yee