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Local high school athletes ready for 2009 season

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

Football

La Jolla High School has a new coach in Rey Hernandez, who has big goals for the Vikings and wants to establish himself quickly with a winning season. Keys to that success will be quarterback Zac Zlatic, running back Matt Petch, wide receiver Braden Fudge, two-way lineman Jose Aviles, tight end/linebackers Andy Jones and Taylor Davis and defensive back Mario Saldana. La Jolla appears to be strong offensively, but could take some time to develop its defensive identity.

La Jolla Country Day looks to improve on its 8-4 record of a year ago, and the Torreys have the weapons to do so. Senior quarterback Derek Hatfield and senior fullback Montell Allen will key the offense, and should have some help in third-year starting guards Indi Lavarious and Blake Mohseni. Linebacker Connor Gerhart and defensive tackle Fiaali Togiaso will be defensive cornerstones.

The Bishop’s School has a new coach in Joel Allen, and is hoping to better its 7-7 record from a year ago. The Knights played well late in the season last year, and made a return trip to the section championship game.

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Girls volleyball

La Jolla High School should get a big boost from the return of senior middle blocker Haley Cameron, the University of Texas-bound star who missed last season with a knee injury. While the Vikings lost some key players to graduation, the combination of getting Cameron back and having solid players like outside hitters Grace Drozda and Madeline Lee, as well as setter Ryan Farley, should make them competitive for league and section titles.

La Jolla Country Day appears to have the depth to be among the top teams in its division, as seven starters return to the Torreys. Setters Chloe Mathis and Jessie Altman, outside hitters Lauren Birks and Mollie Rogers, middle blocker Gillian Howard and libero Cheyenne Giesecke are all experienced players.

The Bishop’s School could repeat its section title performance, and is gunning for a state championship. The girls kicked off their season ahead of other teams with an exhibition match Monday night against Scripps Ranch in the CIF Rally Classic.

Setter Ina Kamenova, defensive specialist Hannah Seber, outside hitter Maddie Lord and middle blocker Thea Derrough will be key players for the Knights.

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Boys water polo

The Bishop’s School is looking to defend its league and section titles, and having graduated five standout players, will be challenged to achieve those goals. The Knights will look to Drew Hoffenberg, Emilio Marrero, Matt Michalko, David Higginson, Adam Wrobel, Charlie Reed, J.P. Engh, Blake Lee, Travis Webster and Ollie Feune De Colombi to keep the team’s long tradition of winning going.

La Jolla Country Day graduated only two seniors from last year’s squad, so expect to have the veteran leadership needed to win consistently. Senior Ryan French and junior Liam Devine should be integral in that effort. Juniors Nick Augustine and Jack Hipikins, and sophomores Adrian Everku-Kaku and Kai Tuits will be counted on for contributions.

Cross country

La Jolla Country Day’s boys team won league and section titles last year for the third consecutive season, and is gunning for a fourth. Senior Dennis Roth will lead the way, while junior Lee Klitzner and senior Alex Fleischhacker put the Torreys in an enviable position with their top three.

The Torreys’ girls haven’t been as successful, but have some young and talented runners. Sophomore Samantha Staszak could challenge for a top-10 spot at CIF this fall. Classmates Emily Dominaco and Maggie Taylor are also expected to contribute.

The Bishop’s School’s boys team is hoping to improve upon its fourth-place finish at CIF last season. The Knights will look to Will Wilde Botta, Hoagie Hoagland and Chris Kuntz to lead the way.

The Knights’ girls’ team could repeat last year’s second-place finish in CIF despite graduating four seniors. Junior Lauren Collins will be the leader of the pack.

Girls golf

La Jolla Country Day finished third in the Coastal League last year, and if the Torreys can get solid play from their fourth through sixth players this fall, could improve. Senior Jenny Kim and juniors Brooke Mehregany and Francis Kim should form a solid top three.

Field hockey

La Jolla High School graduated eight seniors from a team that went 14-4 last season, so will be looking to re-establish its foundation. Senior defender Cami Felt and Anna Parma will lend their experience to a young team that will need some underclassmen to fill big shoes.
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