A peek into flourishing fall sports

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Cross Country:

After 31 years of coaching Redwood’s cross country team, Laura Schmitt retired in the offseason after helping Redwood reach the state championships. Now the new head coach, Nicole Graydon, is hoping to pick up where they left off. 

Junior and captain Hudson Grace believes Graydon’s fresh coaching style is a positive for the team.

It is a good experience to have a new coach. Obviously it is a totally different dynamic because Laura was a much different coach in terms of how she led the team,” Grace said. 

Laughing with his teammates before their daily run, junior captain Hudson Grace leads the team through warm-ups.

This year, the team also lost two-time state champion and now Stanford student-athlete, Liam Anderson, who was a role model to everyone, according to Grace. 

“As a hard worker and a good influence on everybody, I think we lost someone who helped us keep the structure, but we also still have people who know how we used to run things, such as myself, and will continue on that path for the athletes who come after us,” Grace said.

Stepping up as a new captain, Grace is hoping to continue Redwood’s successful past through the next generation of runners.

Looking forward, Graydon will lead the team into their first meet of the season on Sept. 9, against Novato. 

Waterpolo:

After losing several talented seniors last year, such as captains Mackenzie Allen and Ely Seldon, both the girls’ and boys’ varsity water polo teams are depending on every player to contribute, according to juniors Amy Jordan and Tommy Mcknew. Furthermore, the team dynamic has become a key factor in rebuilding for the approaching season.

Preparing to shoot, senior goalie Edvard Messler participates during practice.

As an experienced three-year varsity athlete, Jordan believes that relying on each other’s strengths will ultimately lead to a desirable outcome. 

“Since we don’t have one stand-out person, we all depend on each other. We are working on communicating and playing better together as a team,” Jordan said. 

On the boys’ side, Mcknew says the team aspires to stay on track with their academics, as it proved to be an obstacle last year after struggling with ineligibility for playing time during games. As a result, they are more concentrated on growing in both the classroom and in the pool as a team. 

“It is important to keep in mind that a lot of the problems last year were that there were all these individuals and there wasn’t a big group chemistry. I would say that overall the energy is a lot more focused,” Mcknew said. 

Field Hockey:

Still a relatively new sport at Redwood, the girls’ varsity field hockey team is determined to have a rewarding fifth season for the program. With their record set at an equal 1-1, head coach Jen Reidy and assistant coach Aline Copp are fixated on improving their fundamentals.

Racing towards the ball, senior Maddie Loebakka attacks during practice.

“We really want these young women to reach their peak performance. We feel good about how the season has been kicking off, but we need to dig in and work harder if we want to see and experience greater success,” Copp said. “If we get [the fundamentals] correct, then, with the right field hockey principles, it will just elevate our game to a higher level.” 

Because the field hockey program at Redwood has not received funding to form a junior varsity (JV) team, they have players from all classes. Despite their difference in age, according to senior and captain Camille Goodhart, the team mixes well together.

“We are all super supportive. There is not a big distinction between the grade levels and everyone wants to help each other and improve,” Goodhart said.

Self-proclaimed the “competitive sisterhood,” the team’s goal is to strengthen their foundation of skills and win the prestigious MCAL title.

Football:

Although football involves getting up close and personal with the opponent, Redwood’s Coach Allen Talley insists that the best way for his team to develop is to focus only on themselves, regardless of who they might be tackling.

Coming off the field, senior Maximo Tribuzio high fives his teammate.

After a close loss against Berkeley on Aug. 31, the team rallied against Maria Carillo, prevailing 51-16.

“Every team is a rival. After every Saturday we want to be 1 and 0. Then we go on to the next week and reset all over again, so we don’t care who we play,” Talley said. “We are trying to get that attitude of ‘don’t worry about this team or that team, just worry about our team,’ and I think this year [we are] built around that.

With the majority of the team composed of returning upperclassmen, Talley recognizes that they are all flexible players.

“A lot of these guys got exposure last year, which is good. We are a little new upfront on our whole line, so we had guys who really stepped up and changed around positions,” Talley said.

With the leadership provided by Coach Talley and the experienced returning upperclassmen, the boys’ varsity football team is off to a determined start.

Girls’ Volleyball:

After losing the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) championship game to Marin Catholic last fall, the girls’ varsity volleyball team is ready to come back and redeem themselves this year. They ended the previous season going 14-2 in MCALs. The 2019 roster holds 14 players, two of which are verbally committed to play volleyball in Division I schools: senior captain Lucy Walsh and junior Ella Green. The team also carries two freshmen, Kaley Mathews and Katelyn McKnew. Mathews is especially excited to be on the varsity team this year, as she has looked up to several players on the Redwood team when watching her older sister play.

The girls’ varsity volleyball team huddles to perform their pregame cheer before facing the Albany Cougars.

“They are really welcoming, Lucy Walsh especially. I love being on a team with her, because I have always looked up to her as a setter and now we are on the same team,” Mathews said.

Walsh has decided to direct her focus on the team camaraderie, as it is imperative to a successful season.

“The team dynamic is really important to winning games. You have to all be on the same page. The team dynamic is not that different [this year compared to last]. There’s just a lot of new kids, which makes it fun and diverse,” Walsh said.

Each player has their own goals for the season, but the team goal is clear: snag a win against Marin Catholic’s strong roster of college commits and claim the title of MCAL Champions.

Girls’ Golf:

This fall, the girls’ golf team has an extremely young roster compared to previous years, but they are optimistic about the season and eager to improve both individually and as a group. According to senior captain Cambry Weingart, the younger age of the team will only create more opportunities to grow and enjoy playing golf. As someone with experience playing at a high school level, Weingart feels a responsibility to encourage each player.

Starting to swing, senior captain Cambry Weingart strikes the golf ball during one of their team practices.

“I want to help [the] girls who are new to golf to learn the sport and love it as much as I do,” Weingart said.

While the team looks forward to competing against other MCAL teams, one of their primary goals this year is development.

“Our goal is to have as much fun on the course as we can this season…We just want [the] girls to love the sport,” Weingart said.

Weingart also hopes to offer a safe space, not only for golf players but also for all students seeking a sport.

“I want the team to start to be a little haven for girls who don’t have a sport or are looking to pick up something new,” Weingart said.

Girls’ Tennis:

The varsity girls’ tennis team is conditioned and prepared for this year due to off-season summer workout programs led by head coach Charlie Fager. According to sophomore and two-year varsity player Georgia Harms, the team was adjusting to a new coach last year and had a shaky transition into the season. However, this season, the team has already shown a lot of improvement. According to Harms, the team has become more organized with the security of coaches and players. 

Working on her tennis game, senior Lindsay Dubin focuses on spinning her first serve in toward the middle of the service box during practice.

Harms has already established relationships with her teammates and is eager to see how this will affect their approach to matches.

“I want us to really support each other as a team because last year it was different. We weren’t as connected, but this year I already feel like the team is super passionate about supporting each other and having a really fun time,” Harms said.

The team hopes to carry this support and passion to a match against their rival, Branson, as they lost to them 4-3 last year during MCALs.

“This year, I feel like we’re stronger and ready to take [Branson] on as a team, not just with our individual matches,” Harms said.

Cheerleading:

Cheerleading season has just begun, and the varsity cheer squad has been preparing for their 2019 season since last April. First-year varsity coach and Redwood alumni, Shannon McGuinness, sees promise in this year’s squad due to their strong connection with each other exhibited in preconditioning practices and team events.

The team engaged in clinics, fundraisers and camps at UC Davis this past summer. McGuinness is excited to advance the skillset of the squad.

Rallying for the varsity football team, the Redwood cheer team performs a chant.

“My main goal is for them to have fun and enjoy it, as well as advance their skills. Last year the team was still pretty advanced, so it’s a little harder to advance the skills even further. They seem to already be learning stunts that the team prior couldn’t do,” McGuinness said.

As the season continues, the cheer team hopes to fundraise money to bring in instructors and choreographers. These new instructors and choreographers will help achieve their main goal of improving throughout their fall season and getting their competition squad ready to perform.