Best moments in sports 2018/19

Otis Lyons, Editor in Chief

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The 2018/19 year in high school sports is reaching an end. The school claimed three regular season pennants and five MCAL championships, along  with an NCS title in boys cross country. Two teams placed in the top three in the state, while pole vaulter Brooke Simon qualified for the track and field state meet as well. Here is a look at the highlights of the year in sports.

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Senior Kate Wulff attempts a jump shot in a league game against Tam. Wulff led the team into new territory this season.

Girls basketball reach new heights, among best in MCAL
The girls basketball team exploded onto the scene this year, making the playoffs after an eighth-place finish in 2018.
Entering the fray as a dark horse in a tightly contested league, the squad went into the winter break at 3-0. January began the tough part of the schedule, and losses to powerhouse Redwood and San Marin could have dampened the spirits. However, a win over Marin Catholic away from home reinvigorated the team at a much needed time. Led by seniors Allie Korst, Kate Wulff, Alyssa Freed, and Hailee Eastus, and junior Stephanie Coghlan, Tamalpais, and Branson were the next victims of a hungry group. “It was super fun,” Korst said. “It was a change from past years which has been incredible in making a step forward for Drake girls basketball.” The league season finished with the team in third, behind only Redwood and Marin Catholic. Their position so high up the standings is a testament to the core group of players that stuck through many tough seasons. Despite a semifinal exit in the MCAL playoffs, the team qualified as the fifth seed for NCS, the best of any winter sports team. A win against Piner in the first round capped a breakout campaign, the first postseason victory since 2010. Coach Jim Purkey hopes that next year’s team can continue the success seen this season.

XC Boys run through the smoke to second at states

James Cacciatore Marin Independent Journal
Drake’s Nicco Pompili comes in fifth during the MCAL cross country championships at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus

It was another successful season for the boys cross country team, as they hung up two more banners on the gym wall. After placing runner up in the 2017 CIF State Championship, the Cross Country team (lovingly called the ‘V Boys’) went into the fall with high hopes. Returning a core consisting of their top five, there was only one goal this season: victory in Fresno on Nov. 24. “We were looking to win States, and we were on track with that,” senior Gabe Reuter said. Reuter suffered a stress fracture at the beginning of the season. A lock as a top five runner, the injury forced Reuter to the sidelines for two months. The squad flexed its depth, cruising through the regular season without Reuter for the bulk of it, winning MCAL championships while placing four runners in the top 10. Senior Cooper McCarthy capped an impressive league campaign with second, while junior Amir Barkan and senior Nicco Pompili placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Owen Wolford, Reuter, Josiah Russell, and Oliver Arnesson completed the top seven, the runners to represent the school in the coming weeks. However, as they prepared for the NCS and State meets, smoke filled the air, the Camp Fire in Butte County filled the news“The fire took a toll on us. Our training was very limited, and obviously that affected us a lot,” Reuter said. The NCS championship race, the qualifier for States, had to be called off due to poor air quality. The section committee awarded berths to State via vote. While this seemed unfair to the bubble teams whose season’s ended by the judge’s gavel, it was no matter for the V Boys, who ‘earned’ the 1 seed out of NCS and into Fresno’s Woodward Park the following week. Meanwhile, the team hadn’t been able to run outdoors in Marin. The seven runners had to get creative, utilizing treadmills in local gyms and traveling south to train in cleaner air. Despite all the hardships, the squad completed the year as runner-up in Fresno for the second straight season. They may have been disappointed to not come out on top, but considering the adversity, it was a feat to have gone so far. “We had a lot of challenges,” Reuter said. “Between my injury, Owen’s asthma, and the fire, it was a tough year. But I think that we managed it the best we could

Girls and boys water polo sweep MCAL titles

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Senior Logan Anderson shoots in a game
against San Marin.

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Kate McCarthy shoots in a league game against San Marin. McCarthy will play for UCLA next fall.

On Oct. 27, the girls and boys water polo teams won back to back MCAL championships. Tam served as host for both games but was defeated by a 10 goal margin at the hands of the Pirates. Interestingly, the two teams went 8-0 in the league season and lost in the first round of the NCS Open Division tournament.

 

Baseball squad rounds into form at right time reaches MCAL championship

The baseball team had a down year, and many thought they wouldn’t participate in the MCAL playoffs for the first time since 2006. The squad, led by future Santa Clara Bronco catcher Eamonn Lance, fought through adversity to reach an MCAL playing game, thanks to San Marin falling to San Rafael on the last day of the season. The squad beat San Marin 7-2 to enter the playoffs, before knocking off top seed Tam 2-0 in the semifinals. Despite a spirted three-run comeback in the top of the seventh inning, the boys fell to Redwood 6-4 in the MCAL championship. A strong league performance earned the team a home NCS game with the potential to rematch Tam in the quarterfinals. However, No. 11 Alameda spoiled the party, ending a strong few weeks. The silver lining: Lance hit a home run in his last at-bat as a Pirate, breaking the school record for home runs in a single season.

Boys soccer exceeds expectations after slow start

As of Jan. 12, boys soccer were underperforming in MCAL. At 3-3-3, they were in sixth place, and a top-four playoff spot appeared unattainable. From there, they won all seven of the final MCAL matches, clinching the league pennant with a 1-0 win against Branson, defender Riley Weller the star with a last minute goal. Despite a heartbreaking penalty kick loss to Terra Linda in the league semifinals, the ‘Bleachboyz’ rebounded in NCS. A first round win against Novato was followed by upset of second-seeded Campolindo in the quarterfinals. The Cinderella run would end in the semifinals, as the Bleachboyz traveled to third seed Ygnacio Valley. The match seemed destined for extra time, but with four minutes left Ygnacio broke the deadlock, eliminating the squad. Ygnacio would go on to reach the championship match in NorCal, and the 2018/19 Bleachboyz are in the conversation for best ever boys soccer team.