Fall sports seasons come to a close

Teams aim to find success in NCS playoffs

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Samantha Contreras

Running back Devan Love (24) carries the ball against San Ramon Valley High during Cal’s 31-20 loss at home on Oct 29.

Vishwas Balla, Staff Writer

With the end of November coming around, the fall sports season is nearly at an end.

After a rather weird year of changed schedules and shortened seasons in 2020, Cal’s fall teams had a chance to get somewhat back to normal. This fall’s seven teams have done rather well, with most advancing to the North Coast Section playoffs.

Football

This has been a great year for Cal High’s football team, which wrapped a 7-3 regular season with an impressive 49-34 over Amador Valley on Nov. 5.  This marked a total rebound after last year’s 2-4 season, which was cut short because of COVID-19 and saw fewer players come out for the team.

“We’re definitely better this year,” junior backup quarterback Shawn Singh said. “This year everybody feels safer here. It’s just all around better, everybody is playing as a team”

After the win against Amador Valley, Cal earned the No. 5 seed in the NCS Division I playoffs.

The team exacted their revenge against EBAL rival Monte Vista, which beat Cal 27-22 earlier this season, by beating them 48-21 in the first round of the NCS playoffs. They then played Clayton Valley Charter in the semifinals. The results were not available when the Californian went to press. 

Women’s Volleyball

The women’s volleyball team had a rather solid season, finishing with a 16-16 record. The girls earned a spot in the NCS playoffs but lost 3-1 to Dublin in the first round on Oct. 26.

The team placed 6-12 and finished seventh in league, but they competed in two tournaments and won both of them. Compared to last year, the team’s fan base was also greater, especially during home games which only increased their motivation to play well.

One of the key factors to their success is how they were able to form a strong bond in a rather short time.

“Considering everyone was new to playing with each other we did pretty well,” sophomore Maneli Misaghi said.

Misaghi noted the team’s bond grew stronger as they spent a lot of time together, leading them to play better together as well. She also credited much of the team’s success to coach Brian Long and Bridgette Heins. 

Women’s Golf

Cal High’s women’s golf team reached the NCS Tournament of Champions this season, placing 10th out of 21 schools.

The team shot 443 at Diablo Creek Golf Course on Nov. 1 to wrap up a pretty successful season. Junior Sofia Fernando led the way with a 5-over 77, followed by senior captain Rhandy Weston’s 85, freshman Emily Zhang’s 88, senior captain Leah Keswani’s 90 and freshman Cassidy Chiang’s 103.

The team had skilled seniors this year alongside up and coming underclassmen. 

“Last year we only had like four players on the team,” Weston, a four year varsity player, said. 

This year, the team had nearly 20 girls on the team, 10 of whom played in at least one varsity match. Weston said that having more players on the team helped motivate her and gave the team an opportunity to switch out scores to end with a better overall score.

The team finished the season 6-12 in league and almost upset Dougherty Valley in the season finale, losing by only two strokes. Cal swept its matches against San Ramon Valley, Granada and Livermore.

Even though the two senior captains are leaving and junior Maggie Saur is graduating early, Weston believes that the underclassmen have the talent to continue lifting up Cal’s golf team.

Cross Country

The cross country team has had a great year especially after returning to a more normal season, allowing for more meets.

This year Cal High’s cross country team is loaded with great runners.

“Our seniors right now are really fast,” junior Thomas Wedewer said.

The top three runners on the boys team are seniors Matthew Alm and Ryan Dube and sophomore Andrew Pruitt. For the girls the top three are seniors Madison Chavez, Jenny Lin and Carly Kern.

With many of the team’s best runners being seniors it may seem like they will struggle next year, but that isn’t true.

“Obviously losing five of your top racers is going to be a massive loss,” sophomore Blake Lemmon said. But he believes that the younger runners are ready to move up and continue to lift the team.

The team also had a lot more participation this year compared to last which also helped give them a boost. 

“A lot more freshman have taken interest in cross country this year,” Wedewer said.

Women’s Tennis 

Cal’s girls tennis team has also had some successful players this past season.

Although the whole team may not have done as well as they may have wished this season, they still had some stars that made it far in EBAL. Cal (4-14)  had freshman Gracie Barco and sophomore Caitelyn Huang provided one of the team’s highlights by reaching the EBAL Doubles Championship before losing the match on Nov. 5.

Barco is the highest ranked player on the varsity tennis team, while Huang is also among the top-ranked players. 

Huang believes the communication between the two really helped them do well. Having fun and enjoying playing with each other also reduced stress for the both of them, Huang said.

Water Polo

Both men’s and women’s water polo missed out on NCS playoffs this year.

The men’s team finished 10-14, 3-5 in league, while the women went 2-12 overall, 2-7 in league play.