Reviewing a Giant semester in sports

Nicole Johnson

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Though autumn brought sporadic wildfires, power-outages and homecoming dance cancellations, Redwood’s varsity sports teams maintained their composure, reeling in considerable feats throughout the season. Across the board, many teams swept rivaling schools in highly-coveted victories, reached league playoffs and set precedents for years to come. Here’s a look into Redwood’s giant fall season.

 

Cross Country

Following the departure of veteran head coach Laura Schmitt after the 2019 track season, cross country’s future seemed uncertain, as the team’s leader of over three decades had instilled a sense of stability and purpose to her runners. However, new head coach Nicole Graydon, alongside assistants Sarah Hughes and Brooke Wells, slammed existing doubts with tough, dynamic coaching comparable to that of Schmitt. To sophomore Helena Janku, the new season was a smooth transition packed with newfound young power, which manifested itself as the undefeated girls’ team swept the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) title in November.

“The coaching change couldn’t have gone better. Going into the season, I was a little nervous, just because [Schmitt] had been there for so long, and there was such a set schedule around how things were taught, but our new coaches really stepped up,” Janku said. “Half the girls coming in were freshmen, and [the team] really [tapped into] their source of new energy. It’s really exciting to think [about] years [to come].” 

 

Water Polo

Water polo stirred local waters as boys’ varsity landed third place and girl’s took fourth in November’s MCAL playoffs. Though neither team could beat MCAL powerhouse Drake, Redwood’s boys topped the league in games won, gaining a slight advantage over Tamalpais, who shared their 6-1 record, with an additional 13 points scored.

Junior Tommy McKnew, a member of MCAL’s 2019 All-League First Team and Redwood’s top scorer at 95 season points, felt a plethora of support this fall.

“I think we had a good coaching staff that was really involved in our wellbeing. We also had strong player chemistry—although [many] of us were all friends in the water, a lot of us hung out away from the pool as well,” McKnew said. 

 

Football

For Giants football, autumn proved to be a landmark season. The boys of Redwood’s varsity team managed to bag eight wins, making significant strides toward an MCAL title, which they ultimately brought home for the first time in 19 years.

Senior Henry Minturn, named MCAL’s Defensive Player of the Year, claimed the tight-knit nature of the group carried it to a league win. 

“We really came together as a team after losing our first game. We played for each other and that’s what allowed us to succeed. A highlight was beating Tam and San Marin at home and making a statement to the league that we were the clear champions,” Minturn said.

 

Girls’ Volleyball

Girls’ varsity volleyball paved a similar path to an exceptional MCAL final, but fell to rival Marin Catholic in a heavily attended title faceoff. However, the girls’ team dynamic made for notable coordination and energy throughout the season, and senior Noe Corren can attest to the connections formed this fall.

“We had less games this year, and that gave us more time to bond in our practices. This really helped our communication on the court, because we were all super close this [season],” Corren said.

 

Girls’ Golf

Girls’ golf closed out the season with a 1-2 record, their win being a conference match against Novato in September. The team fell to an undefeated Terra Linda in its two other games.

 

Field Hockey

Varsity field hockey continued Redwood’s winning streak in securing the MCAL title in a double-overtime face-off against University High School. The girls’ victory served as sweet revenge from last year’s title game, where University bagged the win. Redwood managed to push through the only undefeated run in their conference. 

 

Girls’ Tennis

Tennis punched in another noteworthy effort, coming in second to Tam at their MCAL championship match. The team carried out a largely successful run this fall, evident in their 15-5 overall record. Junior Erin Roddy was satisfied with her teammates’ ability to coordinate their efforts. 

“Last season we had a new coach, so we were kind of getting used to things, but we pulled it together this year. [It helped] that the team was inclusive—everyone kind of hung out with everybody,” Roddy said.

 

Reaching several MCAL playoffs and breaking records of previous years, Redwood’s fall sports teams packed quite a punch into their seasons. Let’s hope winter sports ride on this hefty momentum.