This story was originally published in the Fall 2010 issue of Harker Quarterly
Harker Athletes Excel at Summer Sports
For Harker athletes who wanted to stay in shape during the summer there was a plethora of options. These ranged from sportspecific camps and practices to the Eagle Iron program, which is open to all students. The goal of these offerings is not only to help athletes stay in peak physical condition but to prepare them for the upcoming seasons so that they are ready to compete at the top of their game.
Every year upper school athletes participate in the Eagle Iron summer training program.This year, Theresa Smith, middle school athletic director, ran the program with the help of coaches Karriem Stinson and Ron Forbes.
The group met every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from mid-June to the end of July, 9 a.m. to noon. Almost 100 athletes attended at least once over the summer, with most participating on a regular basis.
It’s a demanding program. “The athletes were put through an extensive dynamic warm-up to get ready, and then we’d break into three groups and work on specific drills,” said Smith. “Those drills were focused on developing speed, agility, quickness, jumping ability and conditioning.”
After drills, volleyball players did sport-specific training with Smith, and the rest of the athletes lifted weights with Forbes and Stinson.
Tara Rezvani, grade 10, attended every session to prepare for this year’s volleyball season. She felt the coaches were essential to her success throughout the summer. “They focused on mixing it up a lot so the drills would not become monotonous,” she said. “They also paid attention to each individual athlete and gave us personal advice on how to get the most out of each exercise.”
“It is great the school has a program that allows athletes to get and stay in shape over the long summer,” said Gautam Krishnamurthi, grade 12. “I encourage every athlete to come for this program as it really works wonders.”
Jason Mendel and Chris McCallaCreary, both grade 12, competed extensively throughout the summer. At the state finals McCallaCreary took fifth in Greco- Roman and was in the top 10 in freestyle. Mendel placed fourth in freestyle. Both qualified for the California team this summer and, as a result, went to Fargo, N.D., to compete in the national tournament, where McCallaCreary got his first win at the national level.
The football team was especially busy this summer with a camp, a passing league and double days. Since football began soon after the first day of school, it was important that the players started getting ready for the season during the summer.
The team continued the tradition of attending a weeklong camp at Oregon’s Willamette University in June. Head coach Karriem Stinson stated that the reason they have attended this camp year after year is that Willamette uses the same offense as Harker. This similarity allows players to work at college-level facilities with the accompanying level of instruction and apply it directly to their play in the coming season. Harker was joined at this camp by the Alaskan state champion football team as well as some tough teams from Sacramento and Sacred Heart Prep, making it an extremely competitive environment.
At the end of the camp several athletes were presented awards in recognition of their excellent performances throughout the week in their positions. Four Harker seniors were recognized: David Wu, sweeper; Jerry Shteynberg, lineman; Gautam Krishnamurthi, wide receiver; and Rishi Bhatia, quarterback.
Harker also started a summer passing league for schools in the area. Some of the teams who participated were Cupertino, Archbishop Mitty, Los Altos and Serra. Teams played each other in seven-on-seven matches throughout the summer to work on plays and stay in shape. Harker ended the summer with a 13-3 record, which is impressive considering their competition was some of the best in the area.
The team also competed in a passing tournament at Stanford University where they took the Consolation B championship.
At the end of the summer the team had mandatory practices twice a day, really gearing up to prepare for the school season.
The boys and girls basketball teams worked hard this summer in order to stay in top form. Both teams madehuge strides in their skills and abilities.
The varsity boys team, which includes students in grades 9-12, competed in a number of tournaments as well as the William C. Overfelt summer league. Their record was an impressive 7-3 in league play and 15-7 overall.
They had an especially impressive showing at the San Jose State University summer tournament, with wins over South San Francisco, James Lick, Menlo Atherton, Los Altos and James Logan. Their only loss was to Archbishop Mitty in the semifinals. The team ended up in third place, an impressive finale considering that most of the schools they were competing against have between 1,500 and 3,500 students.
The frosh-soph team gained a great deal of experience in practices and games while playing in the Los Gatos league.
The girls team held open gyms throughout the beginning of the summer. These practices were open to all interested students. Though their numbers may have been small, this gave each player a lot of face time with coaches and opportunities to work on their skills.
In addition to open gym the girls team participated in a summer league for the first time. They played two games a week, and coach Alfredo Alves was excited that it gave them a chance “to build chemistry and tune up for the upcoming 2010-11 season.” They also played against teams that they had never seen before. In their third to last game of the season they lost a nail biter to one of the best teams in the league. This was not all bad news as the loss inspired them to do better, and they finished off the summer with two big wins.
Michelle Markiewicz, grade 12, said, “It felt really good to have the team practically all together again and gave us each opportunities to improve on our skills and teamwork overall.”
This year marked the 13th summer that open gym volleyball has been offered. This year’s coed open gym volleyball was held every Monday and Wednesday night.
The gym was open to athletes ranging from those entering grade 6 to alumni.
Each night three courts were open with players divided based on their abilities. On most nights each court had more than 50 players, leading to a lot of fun for everybody.
Open gym began with warm-ups and proceeded to “a variety of scrimmagetype games, including six-on-six,” said coach Theresa Smith.
For the first time, several of Harker’s cheerleaders attended a United Cheer Association camp this summer at U.C. Davis. The camp ran from August 14-17 and was a great way for the cheerleaders to get ready for the upcoming year.
A typical day at the camp included “jump classes, stunt classes, learning dance routines and cheers, dance/cheer/sideline evaluations, cheerrelated games, private coaching, jump and cheer competitions, and team bonding activities,” according to captain Saira Ahuja, grade 11.
While only three Harker students attended, they were honored with a host of awards. Jessica Lin, grade 11, “tried out for the All-American Cheer team and made it, which means that she received a medal as well as the opportunity to cheer in Europe over Christmas break,” said Ahuja. Ahuja, along with co-captain Amanda King, grade 12, was offered the opportunity to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As a group Harker’s cheer team was awarded the superior award and the spirit award at the end of camp in recognition of their performance.
Coach Troy Thiele held open field soccer practices for the girls soccer team. As a team they decided to focus on three areas this summer: speed, strength and soccer-specific skills.
They were aided in this endeavor twice a week by Ron Forbes, who gave them specific tips to improve the mechanics of their running. The open field was a place “where players who were available could play soccer [and] bond before the season starts in the winter,” according to Monisha Appalaraju, grade 12.
Maverick McNealy, grade 10, did well this summer representing Harker’s golf program. Not only did he win a Junior Golf tournament, but he also tied for 12th in the Junior World Championships.
More Sports News
It was recently announced that Harker was awarded state academic championships in football, boys wrestling and boys swimming. Harker and a school in Southern California were the only three-team winners in the state!
At press time the varsity football team is 1-0 having won/lost their home opener against San Jose High on Sept. 3 14-6. Boys water polo was 2-1 after their tournament in Monterey on Sept. 4, and girls water polo to date has had victories over Evergreen Valley (3-0) and Santa Teresa (3-1). Girls volleyball won their season opener at Mount Pleasant in three sets and is currently 1-0.
Harker is extremely proud of all of the athletes who trained and competed this summer. We would like to give special recognition to Gautam Krishnamurthi, football and basketball player, and Tara Rezvani, volleyball, who have the honor of being Harker’s official “athletes of the summer.” They were nominated based on their work at Eagle Iron, where neither missed a single day, and the summer’s various open gyms and camps. Congratulations to them and good luck to all our athletes in the coming year.