veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

Eagles’ October sports recap

Oak Park seniors give their perspective on their respective seasons

As the month comes to a close, some fall sport seasons have concluded and others are advancing to CIF playoffs. The conclusion of a season is bittersweet, as it marks an end for Oak Park High School seniors. Now, they reflect and give their impression of their final season. 

Football

Although this season didn’t entirely go their way, football finished off strong with a victory of 47-8 against Royal. With an overall record of 3-7, the boys played three games this month, losing to Camarillo and Newbury Park and winning their last game of the season against Royal. 

“[Nothing] stopped us from giving everything we had in practice and on game day,” senior captain Blake Wiltfang said. “We faced a ton of good competition and came so much together as a unit.” 

Wiltfang made sure to really leave it all out on the field, giving everything he had and doing the best he could, leaving no room for regrets.

“[My] favorite moment was definitely seeing a fellow senior Nate Kaptiz scoring his first touchdown against Royal. Nate [tried] out this year, never playing football before, and is one of the nicest dudes on the team,” Wiltfang said. “It was so cool to see his culmination of hours of hard work pay off.” 

Wiltfang relishes his final and fourth season and reflects positively on his favorite moments. He shows gratitude for all the skills he acquired from the program and the sport in general.

“Being a senior and seeing all my closest friends grow up with me was my favorite part of the year,” Wiltfang said. 

Cross Country

The 2023 season thus far has been one of achievement and improvement. The runners participated in the Clovis Invitational where girls varsity placed 7th and boys varsity placed 2nd. After the Ventura County Championships, the team raced at the Mt. Sac Invitational where the girls placed 12th and the boys placed 3rd. At Moorpark High School’s King of Track Classic, girls varsity swept the podium with runners Katarina Modrzejewski, Tate Creason and Michelle Vu placing first, second and third respectively.

“My favorite moment so far has to be the Clovis Invitational, where the entire team went to Fresno and hung out together, which was fun,” senior Neal Pettit said. “The actual race was a blast. I was constantly passing people which gave me adrenaline hits the entire race and in the end, I hit a 5k [personal record] and placed really well.”

Preparing to say goodbye to a team is never easy. Pettit struggles with this while still savoring the rest of his senior season. 

“As a senior, I’m sad to be leaving a team I love so much,” Pettit said. “But until then, I’m making the most out of the time that I have, I’ve really tried to leave a positive impact on my teammates and do what I can to push the team to be the best it can be.” 

With the amazing talent and dedication of every runner, they are determined to continue to improve and push themselves at their Coastal Canyon League Finals on Nov. 8. 

Girls’ Volleyball

This year’s girls’ volleyball season has come to a close this month. With an overall record of 7-12 and a league record of 2-6, it was a season of ups and downs. 

“This season was a building season, our strengths and weaknesses were highlighted and we learned what it takes and means to be a successful team,” senior captain Mikaela Merilles said. “I love the girls more than anything, they’ve been there for me and did what they could to make it good.”

Merilles acknowledged that there is always room for improvement and a chance to do better next season.

“It was just frustrating to see us give games we could’ve taken after all the work we’ve put in,” Merilles said. “Some games the energy, effort, and fun didn’t lack a second, while at times we didn’t put in that 10% of extra effort when that 10% is what could’ve made the difference.”

Merilles looks back on her senior season as captain proudly with fond memories. 

“My favorite moment of the season was our first game against Bishop Diego. It was a great bonding moment with the team where we all fought and played our hearts out and it also happened to be my birthday,” Merilles said. “I like to think of it as a little birthday gift from the team.”

Girls’ Golf

As the regular season comes to an end, girls’ golf remains reigning league champions four years in a row. They are now headed to CIF playoffs. 

“There’s definitely been highs and lows,” senior Catherine Cheng said. “But as a team, we all support one another to the best of our ability.”

Cheng looks back on all of the great experiences and friendships she has gained from the program.

“I’m definitely going to miss everyone on the team,” Cheng said. “But I’ve developed lifelong friends on the team, and will continue to stay in touch.”

Cheng will spend her last moments with the team playing for the CIF championship which she feels confident heading into.

“We have a strong lineup this year, and we all have a feeling that it will go well this year,” Cheng said. “Regardless of the outcome, we will still remain a big, supportive family.” 

Girls’ Tennis

After a victorious league season with sophomore Niyati Gurum winning the title of champion, the team heads into CIF playoffs. 

“I feel like it’s been going really well,” senior captain Michelle Teaca said. “We’ve gotten really far as a team and I’m happy with the way our season has come out so far.”

As Teaca spends her last practices and games with the team, she looks back on all the joy this season brought her. 

“I had a lot of fun and everyone got so close this season so it’s upsetting to know it’s my last,” Teaca said. “But I feel like this season was a good season to end off with.”

This season is the team’s first opportunity to play for the Division I CIF championship. 

“Honestly I have no expectations for the match,” Teaca said. “I know it’s going to be difficult but I think we’re going to put it all on the court and see what happens.” 

Girls’ Flag Football

As one of the newest fall sports added to the list, girls’ flag football has made OPHS history. In addition to winning games back-to-back, the girls are league champions. 

“Overall, I am super proud of the way we have played all season,” senior captain Avery Pryor said. “We have improved so much since summer and it shows in every game.”

Pryor is happy with the outcome of her first and last season of flag football and gives a lot of credit to her fellow teammates.

“I feel like our team got along really well and that translates to how we play on the field,” Pryor said. “Overall as a senior, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and motivated team.” 

Boys’ Beach Volleyball

The boys concluded their season as two-time Marmonte League champions. With some close calls and tough games, the players stayed resilient and worked together. Ending with a record of 15-1, the season left all the players with a sense of accomplishment and pride. 

“The season was fun, especially it being my last year,” senior Nikko Songco said. “I expected that our team would win because of all the talents on our team.” 

Water Polo

As OPHS’ newest sport, boys’ water polo had a season full of resilience and growth. Though they started out with barely any players, they ended up beating Moorpark not once, but twice. 

“I thought the season was a good start for the next year and it was so fun to have experience because I used to play water polo,” senior Hunter Glass said. “This was my first and last season because the team is so new, but it was overall so fun to be the only senior on a sports team.”

Glass describes the players’ strong dedication to building and improvement.

“My favorite moment this season was watching everybody get so good at the sport,” Glass said. “We all put so much effort into it, and it really played off.” 

Cheer

Along every sideline of the football games is the OPHS cheer team. After a season of dealing with challenges and perseverance, the girls made many great memories along the way.

“I am so sad that this is my last season as a senior on the team. I’ve been on the team my entire high school career and have grown with the rest of the girls on my team,” senior Amber Gilman said. “We truly are a little family and I have no doubt that we all stay friends after high school.”

Gilman is confident leaving the team knowing the underclassmen will be there to continue to grow the team in a positive direction. 

“My favorite moment by far was senior night where we had a team dinner beforehand where underclassmen gave goodbye speeches to the seniors,” Gilman said. “We all cried and reminisced on funny memories we had together and winning the game made it even more memorable.” 

Even though the football season has concluded, the cheer team will continue to make appearances at the winter sports games. 

Dance 

The end of football season does not mark the end of the dance season, but the beginning. However, football game performances are the dance team’s personal favorite.

“Overall football season has been very successful,” senior Nathalia Valencia said. “As a team we were very prepared for every performance and gave our all.”

As Valencia’s last football game performance has passed, she reminisces on the past four years with the program. 

“It feels bittersweet,” Valencia said. “I feel like it was just yesterday when I performed at my first football game but I am proud of everything I’ve accomplished over the past four years.” 

The dance team will continue to provide performances at school events and games. 

Marching Band

After three months of marching and performing at football games, the OP Brigade will be entering their competition season. 

“Competitions are going to go amazing,” senior Andrew Kunesh said. “We have a challenging show but we are performing pretty well and the effort everyone involved puts in just justifies my answer.”

Kunesh hopes through his leadership as a senior to inspire the young marchers. For Kunesh, the program has been a vital piece of his high school life. 

“As a senior, it’s pretty bittersweet to be seeing all of the new people just starting out and learning for the first time because after this year I’m gone,” Kunesh said. “I am going to miss it all but I’m not going to pout about it until it’s all over.”

With confidence and determination, OP Brigade marches into the month of November of competition and championships. 

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Jessica Qi
Jessica Qi, Sports Editor
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Amanda Feldman, Social Media Manager
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