CHS girls tennis endures heartbreaking loss, local college sports

My father, Fred Felsch, was fond of saying that life is a game of inches. It was far from an original thought on his part—however, it is an apt description of tennis, his favorite sport.

The ball can hit the net and dribble over, or it can fall to your side of the court. A beautiful serve that hits the line can be an ace or can be called out.

That was certainly the truth last Friday as the Claremont High School Wolfpack faced the Woodbridge Warriors in the CIF Division Two Team Championships at the Claremont Club.

There were close calls and heartbreak losses all day. There were also come-from-behind-wins, and moments when it seemed like victory was within grasp.

Unfortunately for Claremont, the result came down to the narrowest of margins, and this time it did not go their way. After hours of tough competition, the teams tied on sets at nine, but after tallying games the Warriors were declared the winners, 82-80.

The pendulum tilted the other way just two days earlier when the Wolfpack got an upset victory over number one seed South Torrance, that also came down to counting games. The narrow line between winning and losing is part of the game, as Coach Kathy Settles pointed out as she consoled her team following the match.

“We got lucky on Wednesday and it’s a total privilege to play here today,” Coach Settles said. “It’s hard I know and it’s going to hurt for a long while but lift your heads up high, you did a phenomenal job. This represents three months of really hard work, and you guys have come so far. There are 30 other teams that would love to hoist that [second place] plaque.”

As the first round ended it looked pretty bleak for the Pack. Only the number one seed singles, Goldie La, and doubles team of Caren Uribe and Camile Movafagian won their sets, giving a 4-2 lead to Woodbridge.

In the second round, Claremont turned the tables, and the comeback of the season award goes to doubles team Jahday Drewery and Salma Mohideen. The Pack was down 5-1 against Katie Park and Ilana Covino, but then won six straight games to take the 7-5 win. That turnaround combined with wins from La, her sister Sydney La, and Jacque Pearsall in singles, and another doubles win from Uribe and Movafagian, put Claremont ahead 7-5.

The girls needed to split sets with Woodbridge in the final round, but it was not to be. Both La sisters won their sets but Pearsall lost, which brought the championship down to a few doubles matches.

Drewery and Mohideen had another razor close match that they lost on a tie breaker, so the last match of the day came down to Uribe and Movafagian versus Park and Covino.

The Pack was ahead 4-2, but it was Woodbridge’s turn to come back winning the next three games. Claremont won the next two to get ahead 6-5, but Woodbridge forced the tiebreaker by winning the last game. There was an air of inevitability during the tiebreaker, with Park and Covino controlling the momentum and winning 7-3.

The court fell silent as the coaches tallied the games, but soon a shriek of joy came from the Woodbridge girls as they mobbed Park and Covino. The Claremont side broke down in tears.

As Claremont collected on a grassy area a short while later to pose for a photo with the runner up plaque, Claremont Athletic Director Mike Collins had a few words of encouragement.

“No other girls tennis team has ever gone this far, you are the best we have ever had and it’s a very old school,” he said.

Asked about the experience of reaching the championship game, Coach Settles echoed Mr. Collins’ praise.

“What Mr. Collins says sums it up, this is the best girls tennis team we have ever had. They are a fantastic group of girls and have been an absolute pleasure to coach. We have won a lot of amazing matches and beat a lot of amazing teams,” she said. “What I have asked of my girls is whether when it is over, did they do everything they could to win and I believe they really did.”

Only three players will be graduating, so the core of Claremont’s team will return in 2020. However, reaching the championship match means they will also be bumped up to division one. “It will be a whole new challenge,” Coach Settles said.

The season is not entirely finished, as Goldie La, Uribe and Drewery will represent the Palomares League in the CIF Individual Tournament, starting November 25 at the Claremont Club.

In order to qualify, players needed to reach the finals of the singles or doubles draw of the eight best players or teams in the league. Claremont went a step further, winning both draws, and will be the number-one player and team from the Palomares League.

—Steven Felschundneff


Wolfpack cross country advances to CIF finals

Both the boys and the girls cross country teams qualified for the CIF Southern Section Finals by placing third in their heats at the prelims last Saturday. Both the prelims and the finals are held at the Riverside City Cross Country Course.

Coach Bill Reeves rested five of his top male runners and one female, so they would be fresh for the finals. The boys will be up against a very strong Newbury Park team, so they will focus on locking down second place, although they will definitely be going for the win as well. Coach Reeves said there were several very deep teams in the girls race, and while he still felt CHS could win, it will certainly be in the top seven that qualify for the state meet.  

The Pack will be in action in the CIF finals this Saturday—the girls race begins at 7:45 a.m. and the boys at 8:25. The state meet is November 30 in Clovis.

Sagehens move on to Sweet 16

Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer team won the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Waverly, Iowa on Sunday after their 1-0 victory over Wartburg in the second round, according to Pomona-Pitzer Athletics.

With the win, the Sagehens improve their stellar season with a 19-1-1 overall record. The Sagehens reached the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament in 2016, but since then have been eliminated in the first round.

Pomona-Pitzer’s offense was led by sophomore Anna Ponzio, who scored the only goal of the day. Senior goalkeeper Isa Berardo extended the Sagehens’ shutout streak to seven straight games, and the 18th shutout of the season.

So far, Pomona-Pitzer has scored within the first 10 minutes of every postseason game this season, NCAA and SCIAC, and continued to keep that trend alive. A smooth move by Ponzio settled the ball in the box, then celebrated by dancing around the keeper to give the Sagehens a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute. 

On November 9, the women’s soccer team claimed the 2019 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship with a 3-0 win over Cal Lutheran at Pomona-Pitzer. With the win, the Sagehens claimed the SCIAC double (regular season title and SCIAC Tournament Championship) for the first time in program history. They are the first SCIAC school to win the double since Cal Lutheran in 2011.

CMS men’s soccer advances in NCAA tournament

Sophomores Ethan Tyng and Samay Rahim scored late second-half goals 3:33 apart, as the CMS men’s soccer team defeated host Trinity, 2-0, last Sunday to advance to the NCAA Division III Championship Round of 16, according to CMS Athletics.

With the win, the Stags improve to 16-3-2 on the season and a combined 31-5-3 over the last two seasons. They’ll face Centre College in next weekend’s sectional.

“It feels amazing,” said senior center back Adam Singer after the game. “Obviously I’m not quite ready to hang up my boots yet, I’ve worked so hard since my freshman year. I honestly can’t even put it into words right now I’m so excited.”

CMS has now won four postseason games, all by a 2-0 score, including wins over Occidental and Redlands in the SCIAC Tournament and wins over Texas Lutheran and Trinity at the NCAA Regionals. This year the Stags have shut out 12 opponents, including 27 in the last two seasons, over a span of 39 games.

CMS football defeats Pomona-Pitzer to claim Sixth Street Trophy

Running back Garrett Cheadle, one of 11 seniors honored before the game, rushed for 121 yards in his final contest, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team won back the Sixth Street Trophy with a 20-17 win over Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday.

Cheadle finished his career with 2,987 yards, just missing becoming the third running back in school history to reach the 3,000-yard mark. Sophomore quarterback Zach Fogel passed for 102 yards and rushed for 82 more, including one touchdown. Dylan Porter notched six tackles and two sacks to lead the defense. 

CMS ends its season at 5-5 on the year and 3-4 in the SCIAC, while Pomona-Pitzer concludes at 5-4 overall and 4-3 in league play. The Sagehens won the Sixth Street rivalry game the past two seasons, but the Stags returned the trophy back to the north side of Sixth Street in the 2019 finale. 


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