Sports and More Sports: LWHS Spring Sports Preview

Brandon Balladeres unloads on a pitch last season photo Eleanor Sanandman

Brandon Balladeres unloads on a pitch last season
photo Eleanor Sanandman

LWHS baseball returns triumphantly from a Playoff Tournament victory in 2014. Although the team said farewell to three graduated seniors, LWHS baseball is ready to pick up where they left off. The team is led by seniors John Kevane ’15, Alfredo Lopez ’15, Frankie Lewis ’15, and Jack Browning ’15. John says, “Hopefully we can repeat—I just love my squad.  We have a tougher schedule this year, but we stack up well to the competition and we’re up for the challenge.” Fortifying the roster is the strong junior class, plus a record number of underclassmen are expected to come out for the team. Head coach Scott Garlow is back for his 13th year with the team and 3rd year as the head coach. Nico Madrigal-Yankoski will be in his 3rd year as assistant coach.

The 2014 Girls Soccer team had a pretty successful year. They placed third in the BCL West league (perhaps one of the most difficult leagues in northern California high school athletics) and qualified for NCS, losing out in the first round. “We should’ve won,” explains center back and captain Sabrina Larsen ’15. Although things went well last year, with the loss of six seniors, it seems it’ll be tough to come out with the same results or better than last year. Sophomore Chloe Lombardo ’17 adds, “Last year we did really well. It was probably the farthest a Lick girl’s team has gone. But with the loss of six seniors, it could go either way, good or bad. It will be interesting to play University considering they lost a bunch of star seniors as well.” With the help of coach Gavin Birmingham, and the 3 senior captains, Sabrina Larsen ’15, Antonia Duble ’15, and Maggie Decena ’15, the girls will still have a strong squad. Lombardo adds that, “In addition to the talented group of girls we have now, there are a few promising freshmen who could make a significant impact on the team for the next four years. 

LWHS boy’s tennis is also setting big goals for the 2015 season. Jacob Shaw ’14, runner up to Bryson Lee in singles last year predicts, “We’re ready to defend our BCL title and take NCS this year. I’m excited for our new coach and new freshmen to step into their roles.” The team last year had a solid run in the NCS tournament, beating fourth seed Bishop O’Dowd in the first round, and gave top-seeded Piedmont all they could handle in the quarterfinals of the tournament, but fell just short. Justin Peters ’15, Daniel Bunimovitz ’15, Kiran Shridhar ’15, and Will DeSnoo ’15 are the seniors ready to guide the team to greatness. “Really excited for this year,” Justin said. “We have a great team and I am positive we will perform well.”

Boy’s Lacrosse is also back in form for 2015. Gordy Webb ’15 likes the team’s chances this season and is ready. “I’m excited about this upcoming season! Last year we only lost two seniors and based on the kids who came out to the lacrosse lunch meeting, we have a lot of young talent coming out. Based on our preseason workouts, I expect our team to have a record well above .500 and a spot in North Coast Section.” Leading alongside Gordy are Robert Blatman ‘15 and Nathan Wertheimer ‘15. Junior Nathan Lam ‘14 looks to the youth as a strength for this year. “I’m very excited for this season; we are a very young team,” he said. “Most people think that’s a bad thing, but I feel like it can be one of our advantages and I feel that this season can be an improvement from past seasons. This year we have new coaches and we’re going to keep it fun but competitive—we’re aiming to win. It’s going to be a great season.”

LWHS Swimming is also ready to test the waters in 2015, led by seniors Yanni Velasquez ’15, Bianca Lau ’15, Morgan Valentine ’15, Adam Theriault-Shay ’15, Eril Smith ’15, and Emma Rose-Wirshing ’15. Yanni is amazed at how far he and the team, have come, saying, “I can’t believe that I’m actually a senior and have the amazing opportunity to be one out of the four swim captains for Lick’s Swim Team. I’m especially excited simply because I remember coming into Lick as a freshmen ready to show everyone what I got, and now seeing so many freshmen join this year blows my mind. With all these new additions ranging from freshmen to seniors, we have so much potential to show everyone that swimming is one of the best sports out there. Also, I think having swimmers join who already have years of experience increases our chances of qualifying for NCS once again.”

Lick-Wilmerding Badminton returns after another successful season as co-Girl’s League Champions. Even with the departure of the two-time NCS Girl’s Doubles Champions, Whitney Tse and Natalie Sun, the Badminton team has a lot to look forward to. “We got a bunch of really talented new team members last year,” says Amelia Roskin-Frazee ’15, co-Team Captain. “Our Mixed Doubles team, which came in third in BCLs last year, is returning this year. We’ve also got some great new Girl’s Doubles teams, and strong Boy’s Singles players. And those are just the returning players. Who knows what other great new players we’ll get? I’m excited.” The team faces tough competition, but armed with improved rackets, uniforms, and a talented group of returning players, they are poised to contend for the league title.

Girls Lacrosse captain Sarah O’Connell ’15 is excited to kick off the new season as well. “We have good new talent, and we’re hoping to succeed under the new leadership.” She added, “it’s easily the most fun sport at Lick.” Julia Howard’16 also has high hopes for the team.We’re starting off in a much different place than usual, and I suspect this season will bring a lot of change for the team. It should be really interesting to see how we progress and adapt to the circumstances. Our main goal is to have fun out there, but on a more tangible level, to have a few wins this season.

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About Franklin Lewis

Frankie is a senior at Lick-Wilmerding High School. He lives in San Francisco with both his parents in North Beach. Frankie runs cross-country and plays baseball for Lick. He wrote and edited his elementary/middle school paper from 5th to 8th grade. This is his second year on the Paper Tiger staff. Frankie manages the sports section in the Paper Tiger.

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