With the end of the school year right around the corner, athletes and coaches reflect on the success of their seasons and second year of Foothill sports.
This year, a total of 16 teams made it to a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) play-off game or meet, in contrast to the inaugural year, where only 14 teams competed in a championship.
The cross country team had a competitive season this fall, in which the boys’ and girls’ teams went undefeated in league and obtained the “Ventura County Small School Champions” title. The boys’ team placed second and fifth in CIF and State respectively, along with the girls’ who placed fourth in CIF and sixth in State.
Cross country coach Ken Reeves felt that the team did a “fantastic” job this season, proven all of the accolades they had received, and is happy with the way they competed.
“I am very happy with last season,” Reeves said. “I think next year’s team will continue to improve both athletically and academically and [I] don’t see a need for any major changes, [but] see a few possible tweaks.”
His expectations for next year are to have everyone understand the concept of a team, to work hard, and push the limits.
“Expectation is to help get 82 individuals to buy into the concept of team, to help people realize that the reward for hard work is the opportunity to do more, [and to have] each and every team member understand his/her limitations and then attempt to exceed them,” Reeves said.
The girls’ varsity team had a score of 44 at League Finals, and the boys’ varsity team had a score of 37.
This year was the inaugural season of the girls’ golf team. Due to the lack of participation, the team wasn’t able to compete last year, but had enough players this year to compete.
Junior Olivia Cate felt that the team performed well this season, despite having few team members and competing for the first time.
“A couple of the girls had never even picked up a golf club before, but as the season went on, we all definitely improved, whether we were already good or not,” Cate said.
She “definitely” feels she will remember the camaraderie her and her teammates had.
“I will definitely remember the closeness of our team and how supportive we were of one another,” she said. “We congratulated each other when we had a win and picked ourselves up when we had a lost. It was just a really great environment to be in.”
The team had 5-7 wins and losses overall in league.
The girls’ tennis team had a “good” season. The team made it into the playoffs, but only made it into the second round where they lost to Temescal Canyon High School, with an unreported score. They played the whole season performing with a 13-3 overall and 9-3 in league.
The girls’ volleyball team also had a “successful” season, due to making it to the CIF championships this year, according to junior Payton Grenier. The team finished their season with an overall record of 10-7, and a league record of 10-2.
Grenier feels that the team worked hard and she will look back on the cheer of the crowd and the achievements of her team.
“I will remember how enjoyable every game was, even though we didn’t win them all I will still hear the crowd cheering us on” Grenier said. “I loved the team itself and I’m happy for how much we have accomplished.”
The boys’ water polo team also had a difficult season this year. They played through the whole season and “worked hard” according to Coach David Wallace. The team had an overall record of 3-19 and a league record of 1-9.
Junior Evan Somma feels he will remember “all the friendships I built and the great experiences we had as a team” from this year. He hopes that the team will continue to improve next year.
“I think, as the team is almost the same from last year, we will be able to continue to build on our skills,” Somma said.
Though they did not quite reach the same heights as they did in their inaugural year, the girls’ water polo team nevertheless upheld their reputation as a powerhouse in their league, taking second place overall in CIF Division VII Championships this year.
However, junior Lezly Plahn was undaunted by the high-profile loss.
“I honestly think the last game, the CIF game, was so rewarding, even though we did get second [place],” Plahn said. “People are always like, ‘Oh, you didn’t get first [place],’ but it’s like, who cares? We played such a great game.”
Plahn felt that taking second place in the championships was just one more learning experience in a season where inter-athlete growth and confidence building were the major themes.
“I think we’ve definitely gotten stronger” than last year, Plahn said.
“[…] it kind of went to [where] we only had one senior, so it was kind of like a junior-affiliated team with sophomores too,” she said. “I think we definitely had to build ourselves up from that, from losing two of our main players. We got a lot more confidence in ourselves after being kind of shaky the first year.”
For next year, Plahn hopes to capitalize on the foundation the players laid during this year’s “bonding” season in order to reach new heights.
“I think our goal is to just get through that and kick butt in CIF again, and hopefully we’ll be able to make it this time,” said Plahn.
Similarly, junior Daniel Holst also believes that the boys’ basketball team had “more of a growing period for our program rather than us trying to dominate in our league,” but that his team still was able to “develop into a higher level.”
They finished the season with a 6-16 losing record overall, leading Holst to believe that the team needs to improve on their “aggressiveness,” both offensively and defensively.
“[It was] frustrating that after working so hard through the season, we didn’t really have that great of a record going through, so that was probably the downside of the season,” said Holst.
That aside, Holst feels that what the team lacked in a winning record, they gained in greater cohesiveness and a more familial atmosphere.
“I think we grew more as a team, like a cohesive unit,” said Holst, “instead of just – well, last year, it was kind of just one guy, and then nine other guys on the team, but now it was just a full 10 guys working together for a common goal.”
Though the girls’ basketball team advanced farther than the boys did, making it past the first round of CIF, they still, according to freshman Emiline Bova, faced challenges and disappointments of their own.
“We definitely improved a lot, but I felt like we weren’t completely prepared for CIF, because we weren’t in that good of a league,” Bova said. “We also lost one of our best players in the middle of the season because she got hurt. But we definitely improved.”
Part of the improvement came from the more positive atmosphere, which Bova noted as being in stark contrast to her experiences in middle school.
“[T]he team atmosphere was a really good experience. We hadn’t really had that before, like in middle school,” Bova said. “There was no conflict at all; everybody really liked each other and got along really well, and we played really well as a team.”
Next year, she hopes her team will improve their record and face tougher opponents in league play.
“We definitely want to have a winning record. I really want to win league and go far in CIF. Those are my goals, [and] I’m pretty sure they’re the rest of the team’s goals too,” she said.
Like the other athletes, sophomore Sabrina Almaraz believed that the 2015-2016 winter season was also a season of improvement for the girls’ soccer team.
“I feel like it’s gotten a lot stronger since the first year. It was kind of unorganized at first, but we seem to have found a good niche in the second year,” said Almaraz.
However, for Almaraz, “miscommunication on the field” was still one of the major factors the team needs to improve on if they are to meet her personal goal of making it past quarterfinals in CIF next year.
“[S]ince we all come from different schools, and we’ve all been taught differently, we need to come together and play as a team,” she said.
Even though he believed the boys’ soccer team made concrete improvements, freshman Mark Spencer was still disappointed to have lost to Grace Brethren once out of the twice that the Dragons played them this season.
However, he thinks they could have beaten them through smarter play, saying the Dragons might have won both matches against the Seraphs if they “could have just played a little deeper or marked up tighter.”
Looking ahead, Spencer hopes that, over the next season, he and the boys’ soccer team “can go farther than semifinals in CIF and lose [fewer] games in season.”
He feels that the Dragons can be underestimated by their opponents in league play, and hopes to send the message that “we’re not as bad as all the other schools think, and Foothill does a good job with their athletics.”
Foothill baseball Coach Clint Ellison thought that his team improved tremendously from last year. Last year the team had 11 wins and 15 losses. This year they turned the numbers around and had 15 wins and 11 losses.
“Since the beginning of the year, we made huge strides in the right direction,” said Ellison. “We started the season making about five errors a game and finished the year playing one of our best defensive games of the season.”
He said the team will continue to succeed next year “as long as we stay the course and keep working hard.”
Senior captain Josh Ellison said his team “came together” throughout the season.
“At the beginning of the season we were a little out of sync,” he said. “As we progressed throughout the year, the team coherence grew and we were able to make it farther in CIF than we did last season.”
The softball team also saw improvement from last year with an undefeated league season. Last season the team had a total of seven wins and three losses. This year, they went 10-0.
Sophomore Taylor Escobar was happy that her teammates came together to “work as a team.”
“Our team really has improved in many ways,” said Escobar. “The most important way was how we stopped playing as individuals and we began playing as a team.”
Boys’ volleyball player junior Ian Overton noticed the team working harder as the season progressed and improvement from last year.
“Going from being a last place team to a third place team just shows the improvement that we have made from last year,” he said. “The level of play from each and every position has grown tremendously and everyone has shown significant gains.”
The boys’ volleyball team collected ten wins and had four losses this season. The highlight of the season was winning over first placed team, Bishop Diego, and taking away their undefeated streak.
The boys’ tennis team had a season record of 4-6. Junior Gabriel Linnehan thought that the friendships he made is what made the season enjoyable.
“I think that as a whole, our team did improve since the beginning of the season both on and off the court,” said Linnehan. “We greatly improved our our tennis game from our practices, but also really built up our friendships.”
The boys’ swim team ended their season, 5-1, and the girls’ team went undefeated, 6-0. Senior Mitchell Caldwell said that he enjoyed seeing his teammates “enjoy the sport of swimming,” while also improving.
“I personally believe that we improved because we learned the value of teammates,” said Caldwell. “I learned to trust them in and out of the pool. Some of my teammates went from knowing almost nothing about the sport to competing at the varsity level.”
The boys’ track and field team split the season even with two wins and two losses. The girls’ team went undefeated with six straight wins.
Freshman Calvin Turville was new to the team, but was impressed with the “team chemistry.”
“Overall we did the best that we possibly could at every single meet,” he said. “I don’t think that there was one person that didn’t PR [personal record] this season. The chemistry of the team was amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a better year.”
The boys’ golf team scored top three in eight of their nine matches. Sophomore Spencer Selleck talked about how the golf team was a life changing experience.
“The team and I improved on things like driving, chipping, and putting,” he said. “My favorite memory was my first birdie. It was an amazing feeling.”
“Being on the golf team was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt,” he continued, “and I’m really looking forward to next season.”