This article originally appeared in the winter 2015 Harker Quarterly.
This fall marked one of the most impressive athletic seasons in Harker’s history. From junior Niki Iyer making another run at a state title, to the football team making it to the postseason for just the second time in school history, there was plenty of action to cheer on!
In addition to the extraordinary athletic season, the Eagles also dominated in the classroom. The Central Coast Section (CCS) recognizes the top five team GPAs per sport for each season, and the Eagles cleaned up! Boys and girls cross country, boys and girls water polo, girls golf, girls tennis, and girls volleyball all placed in the top ve in their sports, with boys cross country (3.792), boys water polo (3.779) and girls golf (3.822) leading the CCS in their sports. Congratulations to all the hard-working student-athletes!
Varsity football finished its regular season with the best-ever record for a Harker football team (8-2) and a second place league finish. The team lit up the scoreboard all year long to the tune of 38 points a game, and the defense sti ed opponents, allowing fewer than 14 points a game. These kinds of numbers gave the football program its second postseason berth in school history. The season ended in the first round of the North Coast Section D4 playoffs at Fortuna High. But the future looks bright for the Eagles as they graduate only five seniors and will return seven starters on offense and nine on defense.
The team also piled up many league accolades:
Bay Football League Co-Offensive MVP: quarterback Nate Kelly, grade 10
Bay Football League Co-Defensive MVP: safety Anthony Contreras, grade 10
First Team All-League: James Pauli, grade 10, Demonte Aleem, grade 9, Jadan McDermott, grade 10, Johnathon Keller, grade 12
Second Team All-League: Jalen Clark, grade 10, Saketh Gurram, grade 11, Trenton Thomas, grade 12, Will Park, grade 11
“Our players were committed all season to being the best young men that they could be, on the eld, in the classroom and in the community,” said coach Mike Tirabassi of the athletes he worked with this season. “We will continue to work hard off-season to proudly represent our school.”
The girls volleyball team had another terrific year, qualifying for the program’s 16th CCS appearance! Finishing up the regular season as co-champs in the WBAL with an 18-8 record, the team entered the CCS D4 playoffs with a No. 3 seeding and a first round bye. In the quarter nals, the team defeated Santa Cruz High in three games led by 11 kills from Rachel Cheng, grade 11. The semifinals matched the team with a familiar foe in league rival Menlo. The scrappy Eagles fought on until the end but, ultimately, fell in four games. Lauren Napier, grade 10, and Jackie Chen, grade 12, led the team with 12 kills each.
In addition, Doreene Kang, grade 12, and Cheng were each given rst team honors in the WBAL. Chen, Melissa Kwan, grade 10, and Lindsey Trinh, grade 11, were named to the second team, and Shannon Richardson, grade 12, was an honorable league mention.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the girls this year,” stated coach Theresa “Smitty” Smith. “Our seniors have been on the varsity team all four years so it was a great run with them.”
The girls cross country team qualified for CCS for the rst time since 2008, and ended its season with an eighth place section finish. Leading the way was Niki Iyer, grade 11, who was the league champ for the second time in three years, as well as the second place finisher in the D4 CCS finals. Her CCS finish allowed her to race in the state finals where she finished fifth in a field of 192 D4 runners.
“Niki continued to develop into one of the top runners in the state, and certainly the best in Harker history,” said coach Scott Chisam.
The boys team was led by Connor O’Neill, Jack Rothschild and Lev Sepetov, all grade 12.
“This group trained better than any previous team,” said Chisam. “Both teams had an excellent group of freshmen join the team, a wave that will show fine dividends in the next years.”
The girls golf team nished the season with a 6-4 record and a win at the WBAL Championship at Poplar Creek in an exciting tie-breaker over Menlo. Ashley Zhong and Daphne Liang, both grade 12, posted career bests at Poplar Creek, and Katherine Zhu, grade 10, won the individual league title. That team win also gave the Eagles their first CCS berth in 10 years, where they finished with a respectable eighth place. Zhu tied for third in CCS and ended her season at NorCals tied for 12th place overall in a field of 83 golfers, a substantial improvement from her 19th place finish last year on the same course.
The boys team ended the season with an impressive 15-9 overall record and a 12-5 league record, averaging almost 15 goals a game. The girls team ended its season with a 6-16 record, going 4-13 in league play.
Ending the season with a strong 13-3 record, the girls tennis team continued its stellar play in the WBAL league tournament. For only the second time in school history, Harker had league champions in doubles as Lizzie Schick, grade 10, and Pam Duke, grade 9, teamed up to place rst overall in the doubles bracket. Freshman Liza Egorova placed third in singles, while the team of Gloria Guo, grade 10, and Izzy Gross, grade 12, placed fourth in doubles.
The Eagles received a No. 8 seed in the CCS team tournament which sent them directly to the second round, where they defeated Sacred Heart Prep.
Waiting for Harker in the quarter finals was eventual CCS champion Menlo, which ended the Eagles’ season. But the team of Duke and Schick still had a chance for CCS glory in the doubles tournament where they were seeded No. 2. Duke and Schick defeated Mountain View and Mitty in the first two matches, sending them to the semi nals to face Menlo-Atherton. In the semis, Schick and Duke won a highly contested three games, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, to become the first Harker doubles tennis team to make the CCS finals. The duo fought hard, but lost to a very strong Los Altos duo. Congratulations to both on an amazing season!
Overall, it was a great fall season. Congratulations to all the Eagles!