By Sammi Dorfan (’18)

“Just keep one foot in front of the other and don’t think about anything else (Dalia Benson, ‘19)!” “We’re playing together as a team, not as individuals (Aleksis Livshitz, ‘18)!” “We can’t just throw in the towel and give up on our season (Sebastian Mayer, ‘18)! “Uno, dos, tres, Ole! Ole! Ole (Sharon Cohen, ‘18)!” Intensity increases as teams reach the apexes of their seasons and captains from cross country, tennis, football, and volleyball respectively impart wisdom to their teammates before bidding farewell to the hours of sweaty after school practices and, in some cases, the entire world of high school sports.

Something that distinguishes this season from ones in the past is the amount of new talent across all fields, courts, and trails alike which will hopefully restore equilibrium once some of the veteran athletes depart for future academic and sporting endeavors. Aleksis Livshitz (‘18) has noticed that the tennis freshmen have not only contributed to the athleticism of the team, but to the morale as well. Livshitz anticipates that “many of them will claim the top spots next year,” but this isn’t nearly as impressive as their “excitedness to play tennis and to be on the court.” Similarly, the cross country team is bursting with new potential and Captain Dalia Benson (‘19) recalls, “My favorite moment of the season was when we all bonded at one meet when we got there early.” The coalescence of runners young and old, unseasoned and adept resulted in what Benson described as “a really successful meet.”

Aleksis Livshitz (’18) levitates as she prepares for a forehand. Photo: Mr. Prohoroff

The football team also welcomed several newcomers who increased the number of players on the team drastically from years past. Captain Joseph Vilenski (‘19), however, views the situation as more of a challenge and admitted, “It was hard to show them [new players] what football was about without scaring them off.”

However, when 4 players were injured in a game against West Shores, the football team realized they had bigger things to worry about. Despite the bump in the road, the boys were able to recover from a score of 0-7 in one game against Calvin Christian and win arguably the most important game of the year- their homecoming game.

Reuben Veinbergs (’19) bounds for a ball against Horizon Prep. Photo: Mr. Prohoroff

Though the volleyball homecoming game didn’t work out quite as favorably as that of the football team, the volleyball girls experienced plenty of other excitement throughout their season. In a match against Orange Glen, Captain Sophia Flores (‘18) recalls, “We lost the first two sets by a lot but then we were tied with them and played a fifth set. In the fifth set, not only did we win 15-13 but our assistant coach got a yellow card!”

Meanwhile, the tennis team made SDJA history when they were ranked 6th in their division. Livshitz (‘18) described this as “the greatest moment of the season.” After beating University City High School at home, the team made it to the second round of CIFs. They played against Mira Mesa High School and came teasingly close to tying at 9-9 but accepted defeat with a score of 8-10. The team still has individual CIFs to look forward to on Thursday, November 2.

All around, captains are optimistic about the futures of their teams now that they have experienced the high athletic aptitude of the athletes in the class of 2021. And so that captains bid farewell to their teams as confidently as a tennis player would smash an overhead ball that aligns itself perfectly with the center of the racket.


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