The Californian

Grizzlies are ready to fight

Siena Sharpe, Aidan Trejo, and Kevin Sablyniski

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From breaking world records to inspiring girls through female empowerment, women’s soccer is a sport filled with dedication, perseverance and unity. 

Cal’s women’s soccer team is looking forward to push boundaries and break their own records this coming season. 

Last year, the women went 12-4-5 and finished just one win away from reaching the NCS Division I finals. 

Varsity coach Edgard Vidrio is very confident in his team this season after his first year of coaching the team. With the ball moving faster this year, he also believes the team will be extremely exciting to watch. 

“This year we will definitely be a playoff team,” said Vidrio. “We really want to try to get to finals.”

This year, Vidrio chose a small diverse roster featuring players from seven different club teams. 

The girls also have the opportunity to compete against players from different schools they played with during club season. Some girls really enjoy the ability to play with friends from other teams. This arrangement adds more excitement and competition to the games. 

“My favorite part of high school soccer is getting to play with all my friends from school and against all my friends from other schools,” said junior forward Nicolette Trucco. 

The women’s team is 3-0-1 so far in non-conference games and will compete to tournaments in Sacramento and Sonoma County to help get ready for the EBAL season, which opened this week with a  2-0 win against San Ramon Valley.

The most competitive teams this year are expected to be Monte Vista and Carondelet. Cal had close games against both teams last year.  

“Monte Vista and Carondelet will be very tough this year,” said senior defender Emily Wright. “They have many strong players going to great colleges.”

Key players include Trucco and senior midfielder Jennifer Waldo, who perform exceptionally well in their positions.  

Women’s Basketball 

The women’s basketball team has a positive outlook in mind when approaching this season.

 Players and coaches alike are looking forward to bond as a team and shoot for new heights.

“Our team is most excited to continue what we started a couple years ago which is an opportunity to compete for the league championship,” said head coach Jeff Rodriguez. 

Last year, the team had one of its best seasons in program history, finishing second in the EBAL and boasting an overall record of 22-8.

In order to top this impressive season, the team has been preparing extensively in summer leagues and individual training.

“We’re constantly working out, going over plays and the rest is top secret,” said sophomore forward Kaelyn Blackwell. 

Rodriguez also expects the team to compete at a very high level and thinks the girls will continue to get better.

But the competition looks tough this year with other impressive teams in the league.

“The entire EBAL is very tough this year but I think San Ramon Valley and Dublin will be strong opponents,” said Rodriguez.

The high school basketball experience is exciting and enjoyable for some players because of the extreme competition and rigorous games. This year, the team is focusing on improving strategy, defensive plays and persevering when games intensify. 

“My favorite part of high school basketball would have to be the level of play,” said freshman forward Claire Hinds. “The game is a lot faster, which I like.”

The women’s basketball team is also working on performing well together with a united mindset revolving around teamwork rather than an individual mindset. They also make sure to take into account  advice and encouragement from coaches and other peers. 

“I’m really excited to see how our team develops and becomes a unit,” said sophomore shooting guard Audrey Moulton. 

Key players this year include both senior point guard Mikaela Bismillah and senior guard Gabby Edmond, who have signed letters of intent for basketball at Division II schools.

As the team continues to work hard to the best of their ability, the season ahead looks very promising.

“I really like playing for the coaches who care and are as passionate about the game as we are,” said Blackwell. “They bring out the best in us and push us to limits we didn’t know we could exceed.”

Siena Sharpe 

Men’s Basketball

The Cal High varsity basketball team is looking to rebound after last season.

The Grizzlies are coming off a season where they finished 4-9 in league, 10-16 overall, and failed to qualify for the NCS playoffs.

But they started their season on a high note this year by defeating Castro Valley, 56-49, on Nov. 30 in the opening round of the Washington-Fremont Tournament. Unfortunately, Cal (4-2) dropped its next two games in the tournament to host Washington, 60-51, and league foe Granada, 54-50.

But the Grizzlies are proving to be resilient and won their next three games, including both games they hosted in the Cal Classic last weekend.

Coach Tony Khoo said he is excited for this season, especially after the first game when he said the team showed they can win a game without being selfish and having many players contributing in a variety of ways.

Despite losing graduating senior captains Ryan Kwong and Torian Parmalee, Cal returns several players who gained valuable experience last season. Senior Jack Hinds, juniors Marshall Lott, Skylar Robinson and Brody Steinhart, and sophomore Jalen Pierce all will contribute in helping Cal improve this season, especially away from home where Cal recorded a 1-7 league record.

Khoo said many of the close losses on the road, including 1-point losses to San Ramon Valley and Dougherty, provided fuel for the returning players and helped push them to become better in the offseason. Khoo said winning these games is very important in order for the team to succeed this season.

Since winning their opener, Cal has struggled to play a complete game against Washington and Granada. In the second round game against Washington, Cal jumped out to a 17-12 lead after the first quarter and was tied at halftime before getting outscored 31-22 in the second half. Cal trailed Granada only 23-21 at the half in its final tournament game on Dec. 2, but fell behind by double digits after the Mators opened up a 45-34 leading heading into the fourth. Cal outscored Granada 16-9 in the fourth to make it close.

As league play approaches, Khoo said the team will approach every game with the same focus and intensity the varsity team displayed in its impressive fourth quarter against Granada.

Regardless, it is hard to look past some of the more key games this year, including the opener of the Tustin Holiday Classic against Compton, a team Cal defeated last year. That four-day tournament is Dec. 26-29 in Orange County.

Another game that not many teams look forward to will take place in Concord, against De La Salle on Jan. 16. Cal has struggled against the Spartans, posting a 0-19 record that dates back to the 2004 season.

Cal opens league play on Jan. 2 at home against San Ramon Valley.

While this season does look promising, Khoo said the main goal is for Cal to improve each and every game as a team.

– Aidan Trejo 

Men’s Soccer

 Cal finished the non-league portion of its schedule 1-2-1 and headed into Tuesday’s league opener after beating College Park 1-0 on Dec. 9. 

Unfortunately, the Grizzlies (1-3-1 overall) lost 1-0 in their league opener to San Ramon Valley on Tuesday.

The Grizzlies are lead by captains junior Blake Hazelton, and seniors Jacob Edwards.,Seth Frankenburger, and Israel Mendoza. 

This group of experienced players looks to lead Cal’s improvement from a four-win season a year ago.  

The team  also hopes to qualify for NCS for the first time in many seasons.

– Aidan Trejo 

Wrestling 

If there is a sport that the Grizzly Den can take pride in, it is our prestigious, high-ranked wrestling team. 

The team has experienced a large amount of success the past few years, including a fourth place finish in NCS a year ago.

Many members of the team attribute this victorious trend over the past few seasons to the wrestling team’s coaches, Chris Chamberlain and Bobby Rios.

“The coaching staff has improved,” said junior Cole Waskey. 

“We are focusing more on technique rather than conditioning, obtaining a solid ground on both.”

Waskey said his drive and guidance from his coaches has set him up for success, having a lot of potential this season.

“Cole Waskey beat the wrestler who went on to take six matches in NCS during the league,” said Rios. 

Newcomer Itay Udler, a freshmen, utilizes his background in judo in addition to help from his coaches to set himself up for a hopeful career to come.

“Udler seems pretty good because of his background in judo,” senior Ryan Hurcombe said. “He may be familiar with this sport and could do well in the program.”

 “I like being on the team a lot. They’re helping me a lot to better understand concepts. Judo and wrestling have similar components,” added Udler. 

With new members funneling into the program, so starts another era of the wrestling program.

“It’s challenging each year to get new kids and prepare them and having to battle opponents like De La Salle and Granada,” said Rios. “But we’ve got a good group this year.” 

Cal sent a wrestler to the CIF State Championships two years ago. This was the first time since 2009 Cal had a wrestler at the State. 

The team expects this year’s season to continue strong as past years, motivated to return to NCS.

“We have an up and coming program at Cal with one of the best records,” said Rios. “The wrestling community recognizes Cal High because our guys are in shape and cracking heads.”

Even seniors who had different coaches can testify to the team’s positive trend in performance.

“I think coaching has attributed to our success,” Hurcombe said. 

Coaching aside, it all comes back to the resilient, determined wrestlers on the mats, performing to their fullest.

“The team’s success comes from their willingness to work in the off-season as much as 10 months,” said Rios.

The seniors are expected to thrive this season to round off their high school wrestling careers here. 

“Some top performers include Justice Besser who made it to NCS last year, Jonah Perez who got a rough draw last season, and Ethan Lister who didn’t get a chance to shine last year due to an injury,” said Rios.

Wrestlers such as Colton Rettig evidently find a lot of value from this program, learning much more than just how to overcome the opponent down on the mats.

“Wrestling is an amazing sport that celebrates good competition and builds character,” said Rettig, a 2017 graduate and former captain. 

“If I were to go back to relive it all, there wouldn’t be one thing I would change.”

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The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA
Grizzlies are ready to fight