Grizzlies shine in postseason

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Grizzlies shine in postseason

Andrew Sousa, Staff Writer

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Senior Daniella Hawkins ended her high school swimming career on a high note.

Hawkins placed second in the 500 freestyle event at the CIF State Championships on May 17-18 at Clovis West High School. 

“I was really excited to get second, because I had never placed that high in state before,” said Hawkins, who will swim for UCLA next year. “With that being my last meet, I felt it was a good way to wrap up my swim experience at Cal.” 

Hawkins also finished ninth in the 200 free after placing seventh in the event last year. She took eighth in the 500 free last year.

For Hawkins, this level of success is nothing new. Hawkins won the NCS title in the 500 free this season after placing second last year. She  also placed second in the 200 free this year after finishing third in the event last season. 

“It’s been such an honor to represent Cal High, and it’s been great to score really high for my teammates,”Hawkins said. 

The women’s swim team represented Cal well at state as the team finished 19th out of 78 schools. 

Juniors Amber Gardner and Caitlin Tan, and Monica Beltran also joined Hawkins at state and made up Cal’s  400 free relay team, which placed fifth at NCS. They finished 13th at state.

Hawkins, Gardner, Tan and sophomore Claire Kennedy advanced to state in the 200 free relay after placing seventh at NCS. They finished 25th at state. Gardner also  placed eighth at NCS in the 200 and 500 free.

After having a successful season last year, qualifying for NCS and state in many areas, expectations were high for Cal’s swim program. The team definitely met expectations by placing seventh at NCS.

Softball

Cal’s softball team was back in the running for an NCS championship this season behind their exceptional pitching and high caliber defense.

Unfortunately, the No. 3 seeded Grizzlies came up a short of the title game, losing 10-0 to No. 2 Heritage on Wednesday in the NCS semifinals. 

Cal (22-7) reached the NCS semifinals by beating EBAL rival Granada 5-1 in the quarterfinals on May 17. The Grizzlies also breezed past American 7-2 in their NCS opener on May 15.

“One of the reasons we’re doing good is that we are all close friends, which makes it easier for all of us,” senior captain Maddi Calcagno said. “We’re super confident…because we work great together as a team.”

Cal had a great regular season, winning the Mountain Division on the last day of the season by beating Carondelet 1-0 on May 2.

The team opened the season on a 10-game winning streak and ended the season by winning 11 of their last 12 games before falling to Amador 4-1 in the EBAL playoffs. Cal also lost to NCS top-seed Foothill 3-2 the final week of the season.

“We’re doing good as a team and we’re almost there,  just two more games and we win it all, just have to take it game by game,” senior captain Alyssa Troiani said after the team’s quarterfinal victory. “We have a great group of athletes including nine seniors and we’ve been training hard for these moments.

“We’re always ready for our games mentally and physically and this helps our team not to make a lot of mistakes and makes us play properly,” Troiani continued.

– LV Viswanathan

Track and Field

As the days heat up and school nears its end, Cal’s track and field stars are sprinting toward the finish line and jumping to reach new heights.

And after the NCS Meet of Champions, one athlete will have one more chance to showcase his skills with the best in the state.

Senior Marshall Lott qualified for the state finals by placing fifth in the high jump at NCS, held May 17-18 at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. 

By clearing the jump of 6-feet, 4-inches, Lott advanced to the CIF State Track and Field Championships, which were last Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High School in Clovis. Results were not available before The Californian went to press.

“Marshall had a really great season. He was one of the top guys in three events this season,” coach Mark Karbo said. “Last year he made state finals in high jump and so we’re hoping that he can do that again this year”.

Cal’s men’s team placed fourth overall at NCS after winning the Tri-Valley Championships on May 11.

Other highlights at NCS included sophomores Michael Brown and Giovanni Phillips teaming up to win the unified long jump and place second in the unified 100-yard dash.

“He [Brown] had a really great season and preformed great at Tri-Valley and we are really happy to have him on the team for two more years” Karbo said.

Karbo was very proud of the team and how well they performed.

“We were surprised that we did so well,” Karbo said of the team’s performance at Tri-Valley. “We figured that we would be one of the top teams but the kids really stepped up and it helped us win the meet.”

– Andrew Sousa              and Ben Rettig

Men’s Lacrosse

The men’s lacrosse team’s season came to an end on May 6 with a 14-7 loss to Monte Vista in the first round of the NCS playoffs.

Heading into NCS, the team had great momentum and was playing together as one.

  “The team in whole had great chemistry I thought,” junior Daniel Desoto said. “Especially the defense, they all worked as one cohesive unit.”

Through hard work and a hot stretch of 10 straight wins, the team finished the regular season 16-4 overall, 6-2 in league. Cal earned the No. 10 seed in NCS, but the Grizzlies ultimately fell to their EBAL rival.

For the seniors, the NCS loss was tough as it was their last game playing for Cal.  But for the underclassmen, this season provided great experience for the next few years.

“This season’s been great because I’ve gotten to hang out with and learn from the older guys,” said Matthew Hansen, a freshman on the team.

The boys were strong right from the beginning of the season, winning four of their first five games and never looking back. During their 10-game winning streak earlier in the season, the team wasn’t just winning, they were dominating. Eight out of their 10 wins were by eight points or more, including a 21-1 smackdown of Newark Memorial.

While the premature end of season may sting for a while, there is no doubt that the players will learn from this and be even better next year with newfound experience and drive.

– Andrew Sousa

Women’s Lacrosse

The women’s team fell in the first round of the NCS playoffs, 13-12, to Marin Catholic on May 7.

With an 11-8 record overall, and 8-3 in league, the team earned the No. 7 seed in the NCS playoffs, but were taken out in the first game.

While the season may have ended quicker than some were hoping for, it shouldn’t take away from the great season the team had throughout the year. 

The team finished strong, ending the season on a five-game winning streak, including a win over Dougherty Valley, and a 21-1 hammering of Livermore on the road. The team was also able to secure a road win over longtime rival Monte Vista, 13-12, on March 1.

Throughout the year, the team experienced many tough moments, but the team persevered. 

“The season started out really hard, but we got better as the season went on” said Lindsey Lee, a senior on the team who will be playing Division 1 club lacrosse for Cal Poly.

For the seniors, the season was bittersweet, as their  NCS match was their last game playing for Cal.

“This season was super fun,” Lee said. “We would go to T-4 after practice and we all had a really good time.”

The end to the season may have felt like a disappointment to some, but the future looks bright for the Grizzlies. Of Cal’s 18 varsity players, 13 are returning next season, including seven underclassmen (two freshman and five sophomores).

While a playoff loss will always sting, the players now have a whole season worth of experience. It’s without question that when the team gets ready next season, they’ll play with newfound confidence and motivation to show this season’s success was no fluke. 

– Andrew Sousa