Falling into the season


Expectations high as high school sports set to start

Editor’s note: Coaches and team managers are encouraged to submit results and photos through The Light’s Web site at

Summer’s end may be more than three weeks away, but as far as high school athletes are concerned, the fall season is in full swing.

Gone are the long days soaking in the sun and sand of La Jolla’s beautiful beaches and the even longer nights. In their place come shoulder pads, swimming caps, tennis rackets, golf clubs and field hockey sticks.

As athletes from La Jolla High School, La Jolla Country Day and The Bishop’s School prepare to kick off the fall season, we take a look at what to expect this year.


La Jolla High School went 6-5 last season and advanced two rounds into the postseason, and did so with a strong core of senior leadership at key positions, so there will be some questions to answer for the Vikings early in the season.

The biggest one will be who will lead their offense- senior Henry Nawahine and junior Zach Zlatic will battle for the quarterback job. The Vikings had two talented seniors running the ball last season in Jerrell Agnew and Ja’Rodd Watson.

This year, seniors Robbie Beathard and Victor Rangel will look to duplicate the tandem’s success. Yoshi Rothman is expected to be the top receiving target, as he caught nine passes for 149 yards in 2007.

The Vikings are strong on both sides of the line, with seniors Hans Baker and Francisco Garcia and junior Jose Aviles expected to play both ways and bring experience up front.

La Jolla returns three of its four starting linebackers in Nawahine, Thomas Bowman and Harper Allan. Beathard and Rothman head the secondary. Kicker Lee Abelkop and punter Ethan Swerdlow both return from strong 2007 campaigns, so expect the Vikings to be solid on special teams.

The Bishop’s School is coming off a monumental season in which it won the CIF San Diego Section Division IV title and went 12-0. Even with the graduation of key components in quarterback Tommy Wornham, running back Tim Costello and linebacker Will Peck, expectations are high.

While the Knights are still searching for a signal caller, their running game should be strong with first-team All-Coastal League back Jacob Kelly returning and Mike Jensen seeing some time in the backfield. Jensen and Micah Seau will anchor the defense, and Jesse Ramey, Ray Felix and Alex Carrill make for a formidable line on both sides of the ball.

La Jolla Country Day has won the Pacific League title every year since the league was formed in 2004, but the Torreys have always seemed to stumble in the playoffs. They haven’t advanced past the first round since they went to the semifinals in 2005, so they’re hoping to find a way to capitalize on their success this season.

To do that, they’ll lean on junior quarterback Derek Hatfield, who returns after winning the league’s offensive player of the year award in 2007. Montell Allen, also a returning first-team all-league player, will get the bulk of the carries at running back, and senior receiver Kees Thompson figures to be Hatfield’s favorite target.

The defense will be led by senior defensive end Doug Rogers, who earned a spot on the All-Pacific League first team last year after leading the Torreys in sacks. Allen is expected to be the leader of the linebacking corps.

Cross country

La Jolla High School’s girls’ team returns its entire lineup from last season, including state qualifiers Nihal Kayali and Courtney Avampato, both seniors. Seniors Tess Plant-Thomas, Meagan Bautista and Christie Richmond, junior Jeanine Mejares and sophomore Callan Parra should round out the top seven.

La Jolla’s boys’ team has a good group of runners back from the team that tied for the Western league title last year and placed second in the CIF SDS Division III meet.

Junior Michael Conroy is expected to lead the pack, and sophomore Andrew Farkas should be close behind. Other runners who should contribute include Bryant Hammershaimb, Alex Eve, Dylan Colburn, Daniel Holl and James Giammona.

La Jolla Country Day’s boys’ team returns all its runners from last year’s CIF San Diego Section Division IV championship team, so the Torreys hope to defend that title and perform better at the state meet than they ever have.

Senior Alex Poyhonen will lead the charge after placing second in the section last year and 12th in the state. He’ll be joined by juniors Dennis Roth, Alex Fleischhacker and Jason McCallum and sophomores Lee Klitzner and Phillip Poyhonen.

The Torreys’ girls’ team is filled with inexperienced runners, so team goals are simply to be competitive. One individual, however, is aiming for a standout season. Senior Sasha Binderow finished 18th at the section meet last season and hopes to earn All-CIF honors in 2008.

The Bishop’s School fielded a girls’ team last year that won the Coastal Conference and the CIF San Diego Section title while also placing ninth at the state meet, and returns four seniors from that squad. One of those, Elizabeth Schulze, is the defending conference and section champion. She’ll be joined in a strong lineup by classmates Naomi Wagner, Laura Wyatt and Alicia Triana.

Boys’ water polo

The Bishop’s School has been to the CIF SDS II championship game 13 straight years, so expectations are always high for the Knights. They’ll hope to match or better their 22-7 record from a year ago, and will rely on a pair of returning all-section players - senior driver Justin Wolfe and senior driver Scott Siegel - to do so.

The Knights are also expecting big contributions from senior goalie Christian Ronald, senior center defender Billy Tifft, senior center forward Demian Tschirn and sophomore point guard Drew Hoffenberg.

La Jolla Country Day hopes to win its league and advance to the postseason, and will seek to achieve those goals with a team short on experience.

Senior Henry Clausner will be looked to for leadership, and junior goalie Ryan French also will provide an upperclassmen’s presence. Sophomores Liam Devine, Nick Augustine and Donald Dean are expected to contribute important minutes for the Torreys.

Girls’ tennis

The Bishop’s School won its sixth straight Coastal League championship last season, but graduated its No. 1 player and its captain. Still, the Knights have 13 players returning and are hoping to be competitive this season. Co-captains Jameson Kearney and Elizabeth Alexander will lead the squad.

La Jolla Country Day expects to have a better season this year than it did it 2007, when the Torreys struggled. The Torreys expect solid contributions out of freshmen Lindsey Kostas and Sophie Najera-Salas. Elena Najera-Salas, Sophie’s sister, is a sophomore transfer from Cathedral Catholic, and big things are expected from her after she reached the section final last season.

Girls’ volleyball

La Jolla Country Day will field a young team with just one senior, but many of its players are returners with varsity experience. Senior middle blocker Jordan Krant will be joined by a talented group of juniors that includes setters Mary Mack and Jesse Altman and libero Cheyenne Gieseke. Sophomore Lauren Birks is back after earning all-league first-team honors last year, and Mollie Rogers is a returning second-team player.

Field hockey

The Bishop’s School struggled to a 6-11 record last year, but gained some valuable experience and expects better results this fall. The Knights will be led by seniors Lia Sagerman, Jeanne Vaccari and Ali Lauer at midfield/forward and junior Christine Wang at midfield/defense.