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Students who shine: Outside Sports Edition

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By Bisma Shahbaz

Why do students join sports? Some join to stay in shape or compete. Others join because they are inspired by their idols or family, find it relieves stress, and it’s a way to stand out from the crowd. But what if your sport isn’t offered at school?  What if you were a fencer, a mixed martial artist, bowler, or competitive cyclist? Four El Camino students share their stories behind why they joined their unique sport.

Kenneth Roque

Three to five times a week for about two hours, senior Kenneth Roque practices to compete against others in competitive cycling competitions.Roque’s uncle introduced him to cycling and he subsequently took a quick interest. Soon he wanted to take part in competitive cycling and race against other people. During his two- hour practices, he cycles between 15-50 miles, and sometimes on Saturdays he even cycles up to 200 miles. “I love the feeling of going really fast and racing to the finish line,” Roque said. He loves the fact the sport he chose is unique, and also a way for him to get around and most importantly stay fit. He finds it challenging to get into higher levels and race against really competitive people, but he keeps training, keeps practicing, and keeps a proper diet.When it comes to cycling, one can have any body type and still be good; for him, it’s all about endurance.

Ashley Jimenez

At the age of five, freshman Ashley Jimenez didn’t enroll in basketball, softball, or volleyball like her friends. Instead, Jimenez had her parents enroll her into a bowling league.Every Saturday, Jimenez practices at Serra Bowl for about two hours with her league to prepare for upcoming competitions. Even though competitions are tough, she enjoys them because she gets to make new friends and spend time with them. During competitions, she has a tendency to get frustrated easily when she’s not doing her best, and it throws her off. Her method of refocusing is to turn to her support, “My brother just talks to me and tells me to relax which helps a lot,” Jimenez said.Jimenez has won over $250 of scholarship money and countless trophies.

Allen J Obiniana

“Train hard, be humble, fight dirty,” is junior Allen J Obiniana’s motto.    Obiniana has been training in mixed martial arts since the age of six, after being inspired by the start of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).Two times a week, for about two hours, Obiniana goes to Pacifica to practice. “It’s become part of my lifestyle for 10-11 years now,” Obiniana said. Obiniana uses mixed martial arts as a way to relieve stress. “There’s nothing like the feeling of punching a guy in the face,” Obiniana said jokingly. He works hard to master new techniques, along with training to build his stamina. To him, the biggest challenge is doing push-ups, which he hates, but according to Obiniana, “What doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.” Obiniana hopes to one day have kids, and get them involved because, “It builds character,” Obiniana said.

Charlie Balton

To junior Charlie Balton, fencing is about “the hand that obeys the intellect.” Balton is on her way to carry her grandpa’s legacy of being a professional World Series fencer. She became interested in fencing because it had been a family sport, and so she had her parents enrolled her into a fencing league. Mastering the skills and techniques takes practice.  The most common mistake to her is getting distracted. “It’s a constant mind game. You have to read your opponent’s mind, and before they act it you have to know what to do to stop it,” Balton said.After receiving her first fencing jacket, she is now able to compete in a legitimate competition against others. Next year will be her first competition, and due to her years of training for this event she would not be surprised if she walks out with a gold medal around her neck.

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EC basketball wins over Westmont

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By Ray Concepcion

The El Camino’s Boys Varsity Basketball Team playoff game against Westmont high school Warriors February 24 proved to be exciting from beginning to end as the Colts won in a close game with a score of 48-45.

After losing the jump ball, junior Truman Lee managed to steal the ball only six seconds into the game. The Warriors quickly came back with a shot by Warrior Nick Wahl.

After a quick exchange of points, the Colts went on a streak with points by juniors Anthony Knight, Brandon Halal and senior Justin Eclavea. The first quarter ended with the Colts up with a score of 11-8.

Warriors Alex Kamara, Wahl, and Marlen went on a short lived hot streak bringing the score to 12-15. The Colts ended the first half with a score of 21-18.

Moments into the second half, Eclavea brought the score to 23-18, Kamara came back with a lay-up, leading to an exciting exchange of baskets. The Colts and Warriors fought for control of the game as Wahl had back to back to back baskets, tying the score at 26-26. Senior Allan Santos played a tremendous defensive game with a series of blocks and steals allowing the Colts to end the quarter five points ahead of the Warriors with a score of 34-29.

The Colts playoff game ended with the Colts on top at 48-45.

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ECHS cheerleading squad hosts successful cheer event

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By Erin Lynch

The El Camino Cheerleading Team hosted the eighth annual Cheer Around The Bay Competition in the big gym at El Camino High School on Sunday, January 23rd. Cheer and dance teams from cities and schools around the Bay Area came to El Camino to compete and spread their pride.

Teams and schools that competed included All Souls, Balboa High school, The Baypoint All Stars, Deer Valley High School, El Camino Advanced Dance team,The Eclipse Elite All Stars, Jefferson High School, Mercy Burlingame, Premier, The Rebels Elite, Sequoia High School, and Woodside High School. Teams competed in four different categories – cheer divisions, mascot, and dance. El Camino Cheerleaders, as the hosts, were excluded from competing and performing to prevent from any accusations of bias from the judges. Mercy High School was one of the more victorious schools, winning multiple first and second place awards in cheer and dance.

For the past eight years, El Camino had hosted this event to fundraise for the Varsity Cheerleader’s trip to Nationals as well as other competitions. This year the cheerleaders put all proceeds towards paying off last year’s budget shortfall of $20,000.

The main duties of the El Camino Cheerleaders were to take and sell tickets, help with crowd control, and to bring spirit and school pride to all those in the audience. “I’m glad to help because it’s important for the Varsity Cheerleaders to pay off their debt”, JV cheerleader Candace Chappell said.

Cheer Around The Bay was a successful fundraiser, raising one thousand dollars at the snack bar alone, and is expected to have raised more funds to put towards paying off the teams’ debt.

Top ten section finish with two wrestlers going to State

March 7, 2011 Leave a comment

By Ryan Kratsas-Love

For the first time in its history, El Camino’s wrestling team has not only placed in the top ten overall for the first time, but has sent players to CCS and the CIF Championships.  In league, El Camino placed third overall, while Half Moon Bay placed second and South San Francisco High School placed first. “We were expecting to do well this season, but not well enough to have a chance to send some people to state.” senior Omar El-Kurd said.After placing first at PAL’s, sophomore Marlon Diokno, senior Trevor Kelly, and senior Brian Ha, advanced to CCS. All three wrestlers along with senior Omar El-Kurd and senior Johnny Carr were given the opportunity of advancing to CCS. “Marlon has improved a lot this season” said Coach Dio Cerda. “He’s a lot more confident and just his skill in general has improved greatly since last year.” “I’m a little nervous for CCS” Marlon Diokno said. “There is another wrestler from Gilroy High School, Leif Dominguez, who is in my weight class and pretty good. He’s one of my biggest challenges. Despite all the nervousness, I’ll pretty confident that’ll make it to CCS” Diokno said. Although they had a successful season, the team had to overcome some obstacles not only as a team, but as individuals. “We’ve had some shortcomings, just getting everyone to show up to practice was a challenge in itself,” Omar El-Kurd said. “Not only that, but making weight was a big challenge for a lot of people. If they didn’t make weight, they wouldn’t be able to wrestle and any chance at CCS or even State would be gone.” “We were expecting to take PAL’s” said Omar El-Kurd. “I’m pretty confident that this year we’ll do pretty well at CCS.” El- Kurd said. At CCS, Marlon Diokno placed in the top eight, both Omar El-Kurd and Johnny Carr placed in the top 12, Brian Ha placed second and took the silver medal, and Trevor Kelly came in first place, taking the gold and becoming section champion. Both Trevor Kelly and Brian Ha will advance to the CIF Championship which was held on Saturday, March 5 in Bakersfield at the Rabobank Arena. This is also the first time the El Camino Wrestling Team has placed in the top ten overall in its years of competition.

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El Camino XC runs to State

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

By Katrina Nolasco

Mario Roussanov (Photo Katrina Nolasco)

As the end of the fall sports season draws to an end, the Cross Country team has made the best effort to make this season one of the most successful seasons they’ve had in years.
“We haven’t made it to State in all the years I’ve been on the team,” senior Boys’ varsity runner Jonathan Lee said. Apparently speaking too soon, Lee, as well as the rest of the team, is surprised and honored to advance both to CCS and State. Placing 6th in their league, coaches MacAnthony Felarca’s and Cliff Lentz’s hard work has certainly paid off in the long run.

In order to better prepare their runners for each meet, the coaches trained their runners harder than ever. “This year, we stepped up the training,” Lentz said. “[We have] runners that have the potential to do well enough to qualify for the bigger meets.” These coaches have never given up on a runner, and they never intend to.
“A coach has to take the time to understand each athlete’s personality,” Lentz said. “I build a relationship where trust and respect are a two way street.” Both coaches train each of their runners until they’re able to “run to the top of the mountains.”
There are individualistic sports, there are team sports and cross country is a little bit of both. “The best ways a runner can help out their team is by running their best individual race.” Lentz said. It’s important for these runners to have a dedicated team to train with. It provides a good sense of constructive criticism that pushes each athlete to be the best – something one wouldn’t achieve if they were running alone.
Since the team is familiar with their local competition, the PAL meet seemed not at all nerve wrecking. The team’s only real concern was that this meet actually counted. They’ve already been exposed to their competition through regular meets, so the team felt very prepared. Frosh/Soph and Varsity boys placed 6th out of 17. JV boys placed 7th out of 17 while Varsity girls placed 12th out of 17. The entire Boys’ Varsity team as well as Varsity Girls’ runner Adrienne Viray qualified to advance to the CCS finals.
The team didn’t cease to amaze during their CCS final meet in Toro Park, Salinas. The team recieved a placement of 6th out of 13. Expectedly, runners Mario Roussanov and Chance Vicino ran a good 16:43 and 17:10, making them qualified to advance to the State meet which took place in Fresno. Roussanov’s hard work also paid off in the long run as San Mateo County awarded him athlete of the week.
“I worked hard everyday at practice and outside of practice on my own,” Roussanov said. “I didn’t even think about earning awards or honors.” Roussanov placed 114 out of 204 runners while Chance took 151 out of 204. “I’m so thankful for everything that has happened.” Roussanov said. “Hard work pays off and anyone willing to do just that can be just as successful, if not more.
Coaches Lentz and Felarca feel a tremendous sense of pride for their runners. Through all the meets and training, the coaches were pleased to see how beautifully their work paid off with their runners’ astonishing performances. Though, both Lentz and Felarca can’t take all the credit. “Coaches can only provide a road map for their athletes,” Lentz said. “It’s up to the athlete to have the will to achieve their potential.”

Varsity Bell slips through EC’s fingers

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

By RJ Refuerzo

(Photo Katrina Nolasco)

On November 13, El Camino High School and South San Francisco High School football teams met once again to face off  for the Bell. But ultimately the Warriors defeated the Colts with a final junior varsity score of 58-28 and a varsity score of 29-22.

After a crushing 58-28 JV defeat, EC switched to running plays with wide receiver Tyler Rios scoring the first touchdown. The subsequent field goal brought hope to the Colts, but on the return kick of the next play the Warriors scored a field goal and tied the score 7-7.
The second quarter brought further tension as the Warriors were called on for holding and facemask penalties. Further success with the Colts’ running plays was diminished when an attempted pass ended in an interception and the Warriors took the lead when opposing player JJ Vaioli ran the remaining eight yards into the end zone.
When things looked grim after the Colts endured two consecutive sacks with a minute and a half left, the team landed a successful throw to wide receiver Tajah Childs and scored a touchdown and field goal, putting the Colts up 14-13.

Falling down: Colt Omar Reyes Medina and Warrior Brad Los struggle for possession in the annual Bell Game. Ahead for most of the game, the Colts’ fell short in the last 36 seconds of the game with a final score of 29-22. (Photo Katrina Nolasco)

“What you should be thinking right now is ‘These are my last two quarters.’ If we don’t miss tackles, we will stop them. If we don’t, they will score,” said Coach Mark Turner in his halftime speech.

The third quarter resulted in a scoreless 12 minutes due to both teams’ defense.
In the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, EC wide reciver, Ronnie Francesconi suffered an injury, followed by a Warrior touchdown and two point conversion, leading to 21-14. With eight minutes left, EC was pressed for time as they pounded aggressive running plays all the way to the end zone with tight end Justin Eclavea. A successful two-point conversion brought the possibility of EC taking home the Bell with their 22-21 lead.
“We made crucial plays on defense which set up our offense to drive down the field and gain the lead in the fourth quarter,” Huey said.
Unfortunately, after a failed onside kick and a strong Warrior offense, SSFHS sophomore Robert Johnson received a 16-yard pass, leading to the game’s final touchdown and two-point conversion in the last 36 seconds of the game.
“I felt the most spirited for the football team than I have ever felt in my four years of being here,” El Camino senior Chris Reyes said. “Nevertheless, I’m proud of our football team  for trying as hard as they did that day. It doesn’t take a victory to express greatness.”
The 2010 Bell Game ended with a loss for the Varsity Colts, with a final score of 29-22.

El Camino athletic director steps down from post

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

By Marivic Victoria

Anthony Khoo (Photo Ray Concepcion)

Athletic Director Anthony Khoo resigned from his position earlier this year due to personal issues. Taking the position, math teacher Sonny Lau replaced him as of October 29, 2010.
“My dad passed away in January, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in August, and I’m expecting my second child in January,” Khoo said regarding his decision to step down to focus on his personal responsibilities.
Prior to becoming the Athletic Director, Khoo started off as the basketball coach with large goals in mind.
“I wanted to establish El Camino’s basketball team as a local power. When anybody spoke of our team, I wanted them to speak about how they respected us for what we have accomplished,” Khoo said. As Khoo moved onto the position of Athletic Director, he saw it as an opportunity to expand his goals to the rest of El Camino’s sports.
While working towards reaching his goal, misunderstandings between Khoo, the administration, other coaches and boosters constantly came up.
“Time and time again I heard I was being selfish, but I wasn’t looking to coach the next Lebron James, but to coach a new coach to help inspire others,” Khoo said. Khoo felt the conflict wasn’t about him, but about the athletes, to create a great environment where they can pursue their talents.
Although there were disagreements, Khoo kept working towards his goal. As time passed by, he realized that it wasn’t an easy goal to accomplish.
“I’ve accepted that I’m not able to achieve the goal on my own with my circumstances, but I hope someone will complete my mission and push us to the full goal, for all the students,” Khoo said. As Khoo steps down, his position passed to Lau who has a background in athletics having participated in basketball and track and field in high school.

Sonny Lau (Photo Ray Concepcion)

“Naturally, I was the person to fill in the position as I was the assistant athletic director previously,” Lau said. As time progressed, Lau found himself setting new goals as the new athletic director from continuing to run a successful athletic program to encouraging students to come out and participate in athletics. Another substantial goal for Lau is for students who are not athletes to come out and support the school at their athletic events.

Although Khoo has stepped down, he is still helping in a different way. Khoo still continues to coach the varsity boys’ basketball team and continues to help through fundraising for the entire athletic department. Lau continues to pursue Khoo’s goals for the athletic department, such as strengthening and expanding programs and creating a safe environment for athletes.
“For any athletic program, our first priority is always the safety of our athletes,” Lau said.