This article was originally published in the Fall 2011 Harker Quarterly.
Summer Programs Keep Students in Shape and Nurture Younger Athletes
For several summers, Harker’s upper school athletic department has offered the Eagle Iron program during the summer months as a means for our student athletes to stay or get in shape for the upcoming year. This past summer training ramped up to include younger members of the athletic community. Eagle Iron was modified to include students entering grades 7-8, and two new programs were added for athletes starting grades 4-6: Junior Eagle Iron, which is exclusively for Harker student-athletes, and Summer Sports Performance Academy, which welcomes non-Harker students as well.
All of the programs are specifically designed to progressively develop the fundamental components of sports performance – movement mechanics, dynamic flexibility, core strength and stability, balance, and speed and agility.
The new format of our summer programs reflects Harker’s development program for our student-athletes from the summer before grade 4 all the way through senior year. The introduction of the academy is a way to reach out to the community, bring young student-athletes to our campus and expose them to all that Harker has to offer.
“Eagle Iron averaged about 50 student-athletes per day,” said Ron Forbes, Harker’s strength and conditioning coordinator, “which is an increase from previous years.
“The new Junior Eagle Iron and Summer Sports Performance Academy programs were very well-received by parents and students alike, averaging 15 to 20 student-athletes per session,” Forbes added, noting that girls made up 40 percent of participants in all three programs.
“While all three programs were successful in terms of athletics and physical development, it was the communal aspect of the new format that was most impressive,” said Forbes, who has a long career in collegiate athletic training behind him.
“We witnessed shy, apprehensive seventh and eighth graders open up, bond with and create relationships with the upper school students, and vice versa. The incoming grade 9 boys and girls who participated in Eagle Iron were noticeably more confident and comfortable on the upper school campus during the first week of school,” said Forbes.
As for the younger kids, “Junior Eagle Iron created an opportunity for them to spend time on the upper school campus, use the upper school facilities and meet a lot of upper school coaches,” said Forbes.
“That program also gave upper school coaches a chance to meet and spend time with our future stars. By the end of the summer it was obvious the kids felt they were part of something much bigger than just fourth, fifth or sixth grade sports – they left as proud members of the Harker athletics department.”
Victories Pile Up as Fall Sports Seasons Open
Fall sports seasons had just begun at press time. Here are results from a few sports — be sure to follow teams via Harker News Online (http://skylark.harker.org/hno/backups) and check the winter edition of Harker Quarterly for season summaries of both upper and middle school seasons.
In season kickoffs, both varsity and JV football teams defeated San Jose High in early September. Junior varsity won 24-0, as quarterback Keanu Forbes, grade 9, threw for three touchdowns (two to Adarsh Battu, grade 10 and one to Ethan Ma, grade 9), and ran one in himself. In varsity play, San Jose scored first on an interception return, but the next play showcased Kevin Moss, grade 10, returning the kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to tie the score. Quarterback Spenser Quash, grade 11, threw for a pair of touchdowns to Rahul Madduluri and one to Daanish Jamal, both grade 12, to bring it home 34-13.
After a tough start to the season, the girls volleyball program got on track with a resounding victory over San Lorenzo Valley in straight sets. Varsity went 25-21, 25-15, 25- 23; JV scores were 25-11, 25-23.
Shreya Dixit, grade 9, Alisha Mayor, grade 12, Aura Dave, grade 12 and Divya Kalidindi, grade 10, have led the team in the first three matches in kills. Mercedes Chien, grade 10 and Lucy Xu, grade 12, have played some stellar defense, and freshman setter Caroline Howells has been adjusting rapidly to the pace of the varsity game.
Being a young squad, the girls have been handed the difficult task of trying to compete at the varsity level. The entire coaching staff is pleased with the positive attitudes of the girls and the hard work they put into their practices sessions.
Boys varsity water polo went 1-2 at the San Benito Tournament in early September, defeating San Lorenzo Valley High School before losing to Pioneer High and Monterey High. Goal scorers against SLV were: Ryan Hume, grade 11, with three; Akshay Ramachandran, grade 12 with two; Karan Das- Grande, grade 11, two; Tariq Jahshan, grade 12, Jagdeesh Kottapalli, grade 12, and Gilad Nilo, grade 11, all with one each. The JV team also went 1-2 at the Homestead Tournament earning their first win in the JV program’s history!
Arthi Padmanabhan ’10 had a great season on the tennis courts, finishing in June. Her team at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., completed the season ranked ninth nationally (ITA Division III), and ranked second in the ITA Division III West region. Padmanabhan finished the season ranked 12th in the west in doubles and was named an ITA Scholar-Athlete for 2011. In addition, one of the capstones of her freshman year was being named to the All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference First Team. Pomona has a combined athletic department with Pitzer College, another of the seven colleges that make up the Claremont University Consortium.