Fall sport athlete profiles

Helen Le and Marso Beltran, Editor-in-Chief and Staff Writer

The volleyball team ended its season 10-0 and first in the SJAA league. Senior Mia Kahler, the setter for the Bruins, shares her thoughts about her final season.

“It was a really good team,” Kahler said. “I’m glad I got to play with them for my last year.”

She says favorite memories are going undefeated, getting to set the hitters that she had, getting to know every player better and watching everyone improve as well as seeing her own personal progress.

Kahler has played sports throughout her childhood, but volleyball is the one she stuck with through high school.

“In the very beginning, [I started volleyball] because my neighbor saw that I was tall for my age and said, ‘You should try volleyball!’” Kahler said. “But then I stopped growing, so now I’m short, but I just wanted to try it.”

Even when Kahler grows frustrated, she advises others to fight any challenges they face.

“There’s always ups and downs, there’s always times when you’re not at your best,” Kahler said. “It gets frustrating, but you have to fight through it, you have to get better [and] keep working.”

The girls tennis team placed third in the SJAA with a record of 8-4. Freshman Alexis Sam, the number one player on the team, reflects on her first season with appreciation.

“[Tennis] is fun,” Sam said. “The team is really supportive.”

Sam and her brother Logan are both top-rated players for the school; both siblings started playing at a young age.

“My dad said he just took us out to the courts at like five years old and we just started playing,” Sam said.

She says the biggest challenge she faces is her own self — focusing on her own match and her mental game. Throughout her matches, though, her victories show her ability to keep her composure.

Despite team defeats, Sam remains optimistic about her teammates as she advances to the NorCal section finals after winning her semifinal match in Roseville on November 6 and losing her finals match against Elk grove’s Franklin the next day.

“We went to Roseville as a team and we played [at sections],” Sam said. “Even though we lost, the team was still happy and supportive.”

Boys water polo ended its season with a playoff loss in sections, finishing with an overall 18-11 record and an undefeated 8-0 in SJAA league matches. Senior Kyle Fry, the team captain, plays hole guard/point and finished his fourth year of water polo, concluding a successful season despite some challenges.

“Although we have been undefeated against league the past couple of years, the teams we play against are pretty easy, which makes it harder going into sections and playoffs,” Fry said.

Fry said it was sometimes difficult and stressful from being one of the few starting seniors on the varsity team.

“For us to win games, an underclassman usually has to step up to the varsity level and it’s asking a lot,” Fry said. “It’s fun teaching them the ropes though — kind of like passing the torch.”

Fry says that he doesn’t the team’s early loss in the playoffs on his teammates because he remembers himself a first timer playing the sport in his freshman year. Despite the playoff loss he says that this season, like all other seasons, were fun because of his friends.

“I started playing water polo because of my sister’s friends and then I learned that my dad played in the collegiate level, but I stayed because of the camaraderie and friendships I built with my teammates,” Fry said.

The varsity football team ended its season with a 3-7 overall and a 2-3 league record finishing with a win against their last opponent and rival: McNair. Despite the win, defensive lineman A.J. Fuentes says the season left him a little dissatisfied.

“We had a pretty disappointing season,” Fuentes said. “We have the talent and athleticism but as games progress, we start losing focus and tenacity, putting less effort in.”

Fuentes said that in second half of the game, his teammates would often start letting their mistakes get to them and reading plays incorrectly, forcing him to correct his teammates on wrong calls.

“Miscommunication was a big issue, too,” Fuentes said. “It was frustrating knowing that we were capable of winning the games if we played correctly.”

Fuentes started football to condition for wrestling but he stayed on the team for more couple of reasons.

“I loved the physicality of the game,” Fuentes said. “Going out on the field with your teammates developed a brotherly bond between us.”

Girls water polo finished the season by losing the first round in the playoffs against Sacramento’s McClatchy High School. Despite their loss, senior Point Miranda Mora says she is content with how their season went.

“[It was a] great season,” Mora said. “All of the girls worked extremely hard and, although we did not win our playoff game, it was an extremely great game.”

Mora said she joined water polo because she liked its competitive and aggressive nature; practicing and playing with friends helped with the tough practices.

Mora says she doesn’t miss waking up 5 a.m. for practice but playing in tournaments, especially their senior night game made the season worth it.

Both girls and boys cross country teams hold a 21-4 record in the SJAA, with the girls team placing first and the boys placing second in the league. Senior varsity runner Chris Gevara finds himself improving in his last year of cross country, finishing as the second Bruin in the final center league meet at McNair behind top senior Justin Alexander.

His personal improvement was not without challenge, however. Gevara first struggled with low self-esteem and lack of confidence in addition to learning how to run his races.

“I never could [hold my pace] at the time, so I would always burn out,” Gevara said. “I wouldn’t be able to go as fast as I wanted to. I had to get in my mind that it’s always just a mental race and how smart you run the race.”

Gevara says he chose to continue cross country and took fewer AP classes to lighten his workload and embrace the opportunity to develop into a threatening competitor in his races, since he was overly stressed when he was trying to balance classes, sports and clubs.

“It was just overwhelming trying to get enough sleep, eating enough [and] doing all my homework because of how exhausting the workouts were,” Gevara said.