Varsity Swim Flip Turns into Season

KENNY LAM

Staff Writer

Swimmers, take your marks. Boop! The sound of a horn indicates that swim season has arrived, swimmers gather their suits and goggles. Like all other sports, a few of the best swimmers have left since last year including several CIF qualifiers. Now the team has to prove to themselves as well as everyone else that they have what it takes to be successful.

“I feel pretty confident about the swim team this year as I have seen much growth in everyone,” Captain Leslie Gutierrez said, “However, I am sad that we lost many of our best swimmers last year. As a team, we can improve together by motivating each other and cheering for each other during our races. For practice, we work on a variety of techniques to improve our strokes so that we are able to swim faster and better.”

Gutierrez believes that no matter what happens, they will in fact be successful. The Moors will go on to perfect their dives as well as their skill set focusing on both technique and speed. Since swim is an individual sport, it is an important factor to trust oneself and in others during relays. With the season here, the Moors must build up their faith and reliance on one another. The team is preparing for their next away meet against the Montebello High School Oilers on March 9.

Varsity Track and Field Pacing Through Their Pre-season

ANTHONY NASSER

Staff Writer

As the temperature picks up and the rain dims down, various spring sports teams begin to prepare for their upcoming seasons. One sport in particular, the Alhambra varsity track and field team, has been working tirelessly since their pre-season practices began in the middle of December. With their first meet coming up, the players on both the field and the track set their personal goals for the season.

“My goals beginning this season [are] breaking my personal record in at least one of my events, such as the [one mile],” senior Distance Captain Donovan Zavala said. “We are looking pretty well as a team so I believe we’re going to [be successful] on Saturday.”

With a new season comes new players to the team. This year’s newcomers seem to be adapting and working well alongside the returners. The coaches and captains often see newcomers as an opportunity to get the most out of the team as a whole. Teamwork is often the most important thing in a sport. Without a team, a player does not have the necessary influence to reach their individual potential.

“There are a good amount of new throwers,” junior Throwing Captain Allen Sasso said, “I am looking forward to seeing how their first year of throwing goes for them individually. Hopefully they are in it for the long run and come back next year.”

Looking ahead seems to be a common thread among the various events of track and field. Some of the groups have been preparing for the season by attending all-comer meets. These meets pushed them to strengthen their skills and allowed newcomers to have a taste for the competition. As with most sports, the team’s long-term goal is make it to CIF at the end of the season. Competing allows the team to have an early advantage over other teams.

“Pre-season has been great so far,” Zavala said, “[We have] been practicing since winter break, so I feel ready [for the season]. I’m striving to make it to CIF alongside the runners we have this year. I have a good feeling we’re going to do great this season.”

The players are expecting the best for themselves, individually and as a team. The primary goal of most of the players is to surpass their personal records and create new ones.

“The players this year are working very well alongside the returners,” Sasso said, “We expect success in our first meet and for the rest of the season. More practice and hard work leads to more wins.”

Hopefully, the team is fortunate enough to carry out their plans and accomplish their various goals. With new talent combined with the returning players, the season is sure to be full of promise.

Wrestling Their Way To CIF

BRIANA THAI

Staff Writer

On Feb. 17, the varsity boys wrestling team boarded the bus to Grand Terrace High School. All 12 of the team members had qualified to compete at the preliminary rounds of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championships.

After placing second in the Almont League, the boys continued to practice every day after school for two hours, perfecting all the moves they know, from lateral drops to jap whizzards. For the last 30 minutes they practice their moves by wrestling with each other.

“CIF was a really tough tournament for the majority of the team, but overall, a great experience,” senior Captain Brandon Ly said. “Hopefully, we can improve our results next year by practicing harder and [recruiting] more students into the team for a full line-up.”

The CIF finals were held through an elimination process, and only the top six would move on to CIF Masters. Unfortunately, the majority of the team was eliminated throughout their preliminary CIF matches, with only senior captain Robert “Bobby” Ramirez placing fifth in finals. He is advancing onto CIF Masters and if he places in the top eight, he will continue onto the State Championships.

“CIF was a learning experience for [the team] and I hope they will perform and place next year,” said Ramirez.

Despite most of the team not being able to advance to higher rounds of CIF, the wrestlers have high expectations for next year, as they hope to become a larger and stronger team.

Varsity Boys Basketball Ends Their Season

KENNY LAM

Staff writer

ERIC HUANG

Sports Editor

On Feb. 15, the Alhambra boys varsity basketball team fell to Twentynine Palms High School in their preliminary CIF match-up with a score of 83-60. This marked the end of their run in CIF playoffs as well as the ending of their 2017 season. For the team, this season came with high expectations. After narrowly losing the league title last season, the squad entered this year with a chip on their shoulders. Through it all, the Moors have managed to fight battle through injuries and finish the season with a 4-6 record, placing them fourth in the Almont League.

“This year was different because we had expectations of ourselves,” senior forward Jason Trang said. “We knew we were playing for a title.”

With these expectations in mind, the Moors entered the season ready to prove to the league that they were a team to be reckoned with. Being the tallest team was something that the coaching staff hoped to use to their advantage. Alhambra, however, did not begin the season the way they had expected to. Having lost their first couple games, the Moors found their season goals out of reach. As the season progressed, injuries also played a significant part in the team’s performance.

“Despite our record, we had many challenges such as injuries and team problems that we needed to overcome,” Trang said.

Despite these setbacks, the Moors managed to regain their momentum and finish the latter part of their season strong, beating League teams such as Bell Gardens, Mark Keppel and Montebello to secure their spot in the CIF playoffs. For the seniors, these games had been the last of their high school career. Throughout their hardships and determination, the team was able to truly bond in a special type of way.

“On the court, my teammates had the biggest impact on how I carried myself,” senior forward Rodger Lee said. “They helped me stay confident when I lost my rhythm, and made sure that it was also important to be fun and creative on the court. I would advise the younger players to always play confidently and don’t let other’s criticism deter their love for the game.”

These were the last words of Lee as he hung up his Alhambra High School jersey for the final time. Nonetheless, these athletes pulled through in the end to accomplish their goals taking them to CIF. Though they did not make it far through the CIF competition, the team still showed us what it truly meant to be a hardworking and determined Alhambra Moor.

JV Boys Soccer Triumphs in Final Games

ANTHONY NASSER

Staff Writer

With their season coming to a close, the JV boys soccer team is attempting to do this in their daily practice. Throughout their season, the team has progressed and improved together to get the most out of their individual skills. Compared to the beginning of the season, the team’s communication has dramatically grown.

“[We were] expecting a better start in the beginning of the season,” sophomore JV Captain Kristopher Delapara said. “We recently lost a few games but [we] are now on a win streak. Hopefully we are able to end the season strong.”

The team has had a variety of good and bad games throughout the season. Their overall record currently stands at 9-6-2. With only a few games left in the season, it is important to the team that they maintain this record.

“Hopefully our team continues to improve for the short remainder of the season,” sophomore JV Player Bryan Albarran said. “We shouldn’t let a loss discourage the spirit of the team. We still have much to improve [on] but I am confident that we can end this season on a good mark.”

The team’s most recent away game was against Mark Keppel High School. Due to their methods of learning and training, Alhambra managed to win with a score of 2-1. They also won the previous home game, which was also against Mark Keppel.

“We focused a lot on shooting and set pieces in [practice],” Delapara said. “In our most recent game, we used these tactics to get us the win.”

The team is still working hard to ensure that their season ends on a good note. Hopefully it all pays off in their last game on Feb. 9 against Bell Gardens High School.

Little Team Packs a Punch

BRIANA THAI

Staff Writer

For the last two years, Alhambra High’s varsity wrestling team has placed in the top three in the Almont League. The team has gotten smaller over the years, but this little team packs a big punch. All 12 of the team members have qualified to compete at the preliminary rounds of CIF championships.

“Our team has done great,” senior captain Brandon Ly said, “We have 12 wrestlers and eight are new or first year wrestlers. [We are hoping to] recruit more wrestlers for a full lineup [14] next season.”

To ensure they represent themselves well, the team practices every day after school from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. For the first two hours of practice, the team primarily focuses on mastering drills, such as jap whizzards, lateral drops, hip tosses, back drops and high crotches. During the last 30 minutes they practice their new moves and wrestle with each other.

“We have really good team chemistry because we all share the same goals and motivations,” junior Waidat Hin said, “[The team] bonded a lot during the season through tournaments, getting food and hanging out after practices.”

The team won second place in the Almont League, trailing behind Montebello High School. They are continuing to practice for their upcoming CIF match on Friday, Feb. 17.

JV Girls Basketball Persists Through Season

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LISA PHUNG

Staff Writer

As their season comes to an end, the JV girls basketball team is holding more wins than losses. Currently, the team holds a winning record of 15-3 which proves that the countless hours of practice paid off.

Every week, the girls have been going over their plays and learning new ones to keep them updated and strong to counter the other teams in the league. They have also been training in a wide array of skills as well such as ball handling, strategy, teamwork and other areas they think they lack in. Learning new plays every week is a big part in their growth as a team. These skills help them overcome challenges they face on the courts such as decision making and communication. Additionally, the girls have also been building on their overall friendship as a group in order to keep a stronger bond on the courts and improve on their communication.

“My biggest challenge on court is taking things at a slower pace and working on decision making,” junior Guard Sandy Nguyen said, “I will overcome this with time on the court and with practice makes perfect.”

The girls are determined to win their last few games. They hope to keep up with their high intensity practices as they prepare to compete with other schools.

The Lady Moors’ next home game is today against the Aztecs.

Varsity Boys Soccer Claims a Winter Win

ANTHONY NASSER

Staff Writer

On Jan. 26, the varsity boys soccer team played against Bell Gardens High School. In the first half of the competition, both teams seemed to be evenly matched. With consistent defense and offense on both sides, the score remained at 0-0. This soon changed as the second half progressed.

“Our team [was successful] because we managed to get our act together and work hard to pull off the win,” varsity player Eduardo Flores said, “In addition, the continuous attempts to be [on] top paid off in the end.”

The second half was more eventful than the first, with offensive bursts from both sides. The Lancers scored a single goal while Alhambra managed to score 3. This made the final score 3-1 with Alhambra taking the win.

“Beating Montebello was a great achievement, but it isn’t the end,” varsity Captain Aaron Robles said, “We won the game due to alertness and aggressiveness. We just wanted it more and communicated well. The energy was there.”

The energy seems to have been there since the beginning of the season. The team’s league record is 2-1-1, while their overall record stands at 6-7-2. This shows their consistency throughout the season and the constant effort they put in to compete, whether it has been in their daily practices or during their games. Doing this may allow the players to have a successful end of their season and achieve the goals that they set out for themselves at the beginning of the season.

“It’s too soon to tell if the season will end well,” Robles said, “Our team has improved dramatically over the years, but we lack consistency. We play extremely well against the top teams in our league, but for some reason, struggle against lower tier teams. If we remain aggressive, humble, and hungry, this season should be a good one for us.”

The team has practice nearly every day, and through that they are working to improve themselves as much as they can.

Hopefully their work in practice pays off at their last game on Feb. 9 when they have a rematch against Bell Gardens High School.

Varsity Girls Water Polo Treads Into the end of Season

ERIC HUANG

Sports Editor

Kenny Lam

Staff Writer

It was not always the best time in the pool, but the Lady Moors have fought through a tough season which is now coming to a close. On Jan. 25, the varsity girls water polo team played their second to last league meet of the season in their home pool against the Montebello High School Oilers. Having lost their previous two league games, the outcome of this game would decide whether or not they would be attending CIF playoffs. As the team drew closer to this crucial game, as well as the end of their season, they began preparing for what would be a battle to come.

The intensity of the game was prevalent in the opening quarter, mixed with a bit of uncertainty due to the presence of new referees. The Oilers scored their first shot early in the first quarter, but the Moors were not looking back. Through intense back and forth battles, Leslie Gutierrez of the Moors managed to score, bringing the game to a tie. As the first quarter wound down, the Oilers managed to score and ended the quarter up 2-1. The game started out close but in the second quarter, a mix of controversial calls came from the new referees working the game. Frustration built as a number of ejections were called.

“There were new [referees] and they seemed kind of biased,” senior wing Andrea Verdugo said, “We have never received so many ejections in a game before.”

The Oilers began the second quarter with a made shot, but the defense from both sides quickly picked up. The remainder of the second quarter saw a numerous amount of sprints up and down the pool, but none of the players had managed to score a goal. The first half ended with the Oilers ahead by a two point margin.

In the second half, the Moors played hard in an attempt to come back from the deficit, but their efforts were not enough. After watching Verdugo ejected from the game, the Moors saw that the game could not be won. After a late fourth quarter rally from the Moors, the Oilers ultimately won the game, 8-5. This meant that the team officially dropped out of contention for a spot in CIF playoffs. Through the loss, the team found some positives to build off of, such as the players’ continued perseverance and positivity.

“Our strengths are being able to support each other and always push through difficult moments,” senior Fiona Han said.

Although CIF is now out of the picture, the Moors have continued to battle through their season with tremendous effort. The team played their last game on Feb. 6 against Milken Community.

JV Girls Basketball Shoots Into Season

LISA PHUNG

Staff Writer

After many days of tireless hours of practice during pre-season, it will hopefully pay off in the long-run. Currently, the JV girls basketball team holds a winning record of 12-2 which demonstrates that hard work is the key to success. The team has also accomplished one of their own goals that they have set aside of winning at least 40 percent of the upcoming games given that they have a cluster of games ahead of them. This is a way for them to feel more encouraged and motivated to win more games after completing a challenge. Additionally, they have shown improvement in other goals such as teamwork and communication.
“We have improved our game as well as grown closer as a team,” junior guard Abigail Goy said, “Whenever we meet our goal of won games we get to go out to eat. Sometimes our coach is kind and generous enough to treat the whole team! As a result, our team gets to bond together on and off the court and I believe we have a great season ahead of us with many of these goals met and more to come.”
The girls are determined to have success and make the CIF playoffs as the season goes on. They hope to be able to keep up with their high intensity practices as they prepare to take on other schools by maximizing all their efforts. Under Coach Derrick Wong, they hope to be able to take on the goals they have set.
“During practices we work on a lot of offensive sets,” sophomore center Chanel Blue said, “We usually run through each one maybe five or more times so that we can perfect our movements. We also work on a lot of individual skills such as shooting and dribbling. Sometimes we have contests and that gives us a sense of competitiveness that we need!”
At their most recent game on Jan. 6, they played an outstanding game with a score of 54-15 against Temple City High School and they are still going on strong into the rest of their regular season.
The Lady Moors next game is an away game on Jan. 20 against Mark Keppel High School at 3:30 p.m.

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