This article was originally published in the fall 2012 Harker Quarterly.
Harker athletics started the 2012-13 year on a high note with wins in football, volleyball, tennis, water polo and cross country. As the fall sports season had just begun at press time, the most recent results were not available, but stay tuned to Harker News Online (news. harker.org) and keep an eye out for the winter 2012 issue of Harker Quarterly for the latest!
The Eagles got off to 2-0 start after victories over Yerba Buena High School and Andrew Hill High School. “They executed very well,” said Ron Forbes, head coach. “When we got a big lead the boys didn’t play down – they did well for a young team.” Defensive play has been key, thanks in large part to defensive coordinator Mike Taribassi.
Boys Water Polo
Boys water polo started the season with an overall 4-2 record, going 2-1 in consecutive weekend tournaments, with victories over Harbor High, San Lorenzo Valley, Willow Glen and Santa Clara and losses to Monterey and Pioneer.
Harker lost an early-September non-league match to Notre Dame-Belmont, but Kristine Lin, grade 11, led all golfers with a score of 38.
Varsity began the season 2-1, after a five-set, exciting win over Priory, a victory over Fremont and a tough loss to a seventh-seeded Homestead. JV also started strong, going 3-0 with crushing defeats of Priory and Fremont and a close win over Homestead.
The runners’ season opened with a solid performance in a late-August scrimmage at Gunn High. Harker had first and sixth place finishes in the boys varsity race, and the girls had one runner in the top 10.
Harker had a great start on the courts in early September, decisively defeating Milpitas High and Fremont. The girls had a particularly strong showing against Fremont, winning every set.
Golfer McNealy’s Summer Highlights Include Top Eight Finish at USGA Tournament
Harker golf standout Maverick McNealy, grade 12, had an eventful summer highlighted by a top-eight finish at the prestigious USGA Junior Amateur Championship in July. McNealy faced Canada’s Matthew Scobie in the quarterfinal match, where he rallied back from four down after eight holes, winning three straight holes with birdies. On hole 18, McNealy earned a par to force the match to extra holes. Both players scored par on hole 19, but Scobie parred on the 20th hole to finally win the match.
“I was very, very happy with my first performance on an international stage,” McNealy said. “By making the top eight, I earned an exemption from qualifying for next year’s Junior Amateur at Martis Camp in Tahoe! Very exciting!”
McNealy’s second place finish earned him the final spot in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship by a single shot, becoming one of 150 golfers in the country younger than 18 to compete in the championship.
He wrapped up his summer in mid-August by making it to the quarterfinals of the Northern California Golf Association’s Amateur Match Play Championship. After winning his first two matches, he later fell behind by two with four holes remaining. He nearly rallied with two birdies to force a playoff, but hit the bunker in the sudden- death playoff, allowing his opponent to advance.
Earlier in August, McNealy won the Silver Creek Valley Junior, shooting 65-72. He scored birdie no fewer than seven times in the first round. “It felt good to finally win one, though my results in bigger events have been exciting,” he said.
Frosh Wins Nationals after taking Three Golds and a Silver on High Performance Camp Training Tour
Harker volleyball team member Shannon Richardson, grade 9, wrapped up a stellar July by winning the USA Beach Junior Volleyball Championships (National Division) age 14 and under category, with her partner, Alexandra Kim of Daly City. The event was held in Milwaukee. In the two days of play, Richardson and Kim went undefeated.
Richardson and Kim competed against 16 other teams from around the country for the title.
In her warm-up to nationals, Richardson had a great round in July, including four tournaments and a high performance camp and mini- tournament that was even tougher than the national event.
Her first event was July 14. Richardson and her partner for the trip competed in a California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA) Cal Cup Qualifier in Pacific Palisades, earning first place in the age 14 and under category, qualifying them for the Sept. 2 championships in Manhattan Beach.
Next stop was the USA Junior Beach Volleyball High Performance Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. There, Richardson participated in a mini-tournament; she was the only camper who did not lose a single match with any of her partners.
Immediately afterwards, Richardson moved on to the USA Junior Beach High Performance Championships at Hermosa Beach, July 19-21. Richardson’s team advanced to finals where they took the gold medal, beating the one team they had lost to in pool play.
Next, July 22, the pair went after the 16-and-under category in a CBVA tournament in Doheny, Calif., where they earned second place.
Richardson’s last outing in this trip was a CBVA Qualifier in Santa Barbara July 24, where Richardson and her partner took first place, beating the team they lost to in Doheny two days earlier. The Milwaukee triumph followed.
Richardson has played volleyball at Harker since grade 4 and clearly has a great future!
Cross Country Team Gains New Head Coach
New to the Harker athletics coaching staff this year is Scott Chisam, head coach of the Harker cross country team. Chisam’s past experience includes head coaching positions at UCLA and Stanford University. At UCLA, he coached the women’s track team to its first two NCAA championships. He was also the head coach of the United States team at the 1984 World Cross Country Championships, and has served as assistant coach to a number of high schools in the Central Coast Sec- tion of the California Interscholastic Federation.
In addition to his extensive athletics experience, Chisam is also a certified emergency medical responder and was a member of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team. Chisam is sure to be a valuable asset to Harker’s fast-growing athletics program. Welcome!
Olympic Medalist Swimmers Speak to Harker Athletes
Harker athletes had the unique opportunity to meet two Olympian swimmers Sept. 6, when three- time gold medalist Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines and silver and gold medalist Cullen Jones spoke to students at the Singh Aquatic Center at the upper school campus.
Gaines, who won his three gold medals at the 1984 summer games in Los Angeles, shared his story of perseverance and determination. He began swimming competitively at age 17 after being denied spots on his high school football, baseball, basketball, golf and tennis teams.
“I am living proof it’s never too late to achieve your dreams,” he said, reminding students that setbacks are a part of the journey, such as when he broke a world record in 1980, only to find out the next day that the United States would be boycotting that year’s Olympic games.
Undaunted, he pressed on, practicing rigorously six days a week, winning SEC and NCAA titles and qualifying for the 1984 games, where at age 25 he became the third-oldest Olympic swimmer to date to win a gold medal.
After Gaines spoke, Jones took his turn to tell about his experience at the 2012 games in London, touching on his stay at the Olympic Village and his daily regimen, which consisted of a near-constant cycle of training and nutritional intake. Gaines was also at the London games, as the swimming commentator for NBC.
Aside from winning the silver and gold, highlights of the London games for Cullen also included meeting athletes such as NBA stars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James as well as tennis legend Serena Williams.