veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

Fall sports recap

An OPHS fall season to remember

Football

The Oak Park High School varsity football team ended the fall season with an overall record of 3-7 and a league record of 1-5, placing sixth in the Coastal Canyon League. Unfortunately, their wins in the league games were not enough to make it to the playoffs. Through the hardships, the team still finished the season strong.

“I had a lot of fun during the season even though I wish we could’ve won some competitive games that didn’t turn out our way,” captain Austin Ritz said. 

As the team reached new heights and made fun memories, some of the best victories that were accomplished were after hard work and resilience.

“Some highs of the season were the home games against Brentwood and Royal,” Ritz said. “The team faced a low spot after losing some consecutive games in a row but persevered to finish the season strong.”

“The strongest aspect of the teams’ dynamic is its IQ and ability to communicate both on and off the field,” Ritz said. “Personally I love the teams’ sense of community most, but the uniforms are a close second.”

As the seniors finished their last high school football season, Ritz echoes the seniors encouraging messages for the underclassmen for the next fall season.

“I would say to the underclassmen that they have a lot of skill and potential but it’s vital to still have focus and discipline,” Ritz said. 

Cross Country

After a record-breaking season, the cross country team is proud of putting their all into every race. Girls varsity tied for 10th in the CIF Sectional Championship, only falling a few places short to qualify for state. The boys varsity team made it to CIF state for the first time in nine years. 

“We finished 10th in California for our division,” senior Neal Pettit said. “I’m proud of the team, the work we put in and what we were able to accomplish.”

The team has an unbreakable bond and faces hurdles of challenges together like a family. 

“In our training and races, we strategize together, run together and succeed together,” Pettit said. “Because of this, not only do we have a close team bond, on race day we have one of the tightest 5-man gaps in the division.”

The 5-man gap is the time between when the first and fifth runner finishes for each team. 

“We’re a tight group of friends,” Pettit said. “It turns running, something that seems like an individual sport, into a team sport which makes all the difference.”

As the season concludes, the seniors are sad to leave but are thankful for the experience.

“I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates for an awesome final season,” Pettit said. “I’ll be gone next year but here’s a quick take: if you thought we were good now, just wait for next season.”

Girls Volleyball

Varsity girls volleyball finished with a league record of 2-6 and an overall record of 7-11. 

“Every one of these girls has worked so hard to create an uplifting, hard-working team culture and it paid off in the end,” junior Natalia Galstain said. “Being one of the few injured players on the team, it was a mental challenge not being able to play on the court, but these girls patiently helped me get through it.”

One of the highs of the season was beating Calabasas. 

“It was one of our first few preseason games, so we were still trying to find our momentum and rhythm together on the court,” Galstain said. “All of our team talks, film, goal setting and hard work paid off. It was a five-set match, and we were able to fight through and give our 100%.”

Another special moment for both upper and lower classmen was senior night. 

“That night was so heartwarming and memorable to all of us, and reminiscing on all the special memories shed lots of tears that night,” Galstain said. “As a senior next year, saying goodbye to these girls is going to be so hard, as we all have such special bonds through all the adversities we’ve faced together in life and on the court.”

Even though it is sad to see the seniors leave, the girls are ready to see what they can accomplish next season. 

Girls Golf

The girls golf team finished another fall season going undefeated in the Coastal Canyon League. Their league record was 13-0 counting all non-league and league matches. The team had high expectations going into the 2023-2024 season. 

“I believe that we can be undefeated again for the fourth year in a row. Our team is special because every person has their own skills which makes us competitive against each other,” junior-captain Joanna Hong wrote at the beginning of the season.

The competitiveness and the drive is what differentiates this girls golf team from other schools in the area. 

“A goal for this season is to make it to state as a team this year, I think we can make it farther than where we got last year,” junior Sailor Graham wrote. “Going to state would mean a lot for the program and would make others recognize that the girls golf team at OPHS is really good.”

The season ended after the second round of the team portion of CIF. Though the team has made history for OPHS girls golf program, for the first time ever the team has placed first in the Coastal Canyon League for four consecutive years.

Girls Tennis

The girls tennis team celebrated a successful season going 7-1 in league. Competing in Division I level for the first time in school history, the girls made it to round one of playoffs where they unfortunately lost to Brentwood. The season ended with the girls finishing tied first for league with Camarillo but going into playoffs as the second place team ranked overall due to the amount of wins Camarillo has over Oak Park.

“Everyone on the team definitely improved a lot from the beginning and I am so proud of them,” senior Michelle Jiang said. “Also, the team got really close and we are all really good friends now.”

With many team bonding activities and time together, all the girls felt like they were closer than ever.

“The highs of the season were definitely all the time we spent together including team dinners, talking on bus rides and more,” Jiang said. “We are all good friends and get along really well. Everyone is so supportive of each other, which creates a really amazing team dynamic.” 

Like all the other sports, the seniors leaving the team is a bittersweet moment. 

“I’ve had so much fun on this team and I’ve made so many amazing memories with the other girls,” Jiang said. “I truly wouldn’t trade this experience for anything as it has definitely made my high school experience so special. At the same time, I’m really sad to leave my friends and I will miss the team so much.” 

Girls Flag Football

Girls flag football became a CIF sport this year and was added to the OPHS athletics program this fall season. In its historic first year, the program remained adaptable and optimistic as equipment parameters changed regularly and rules were being interpreted weekly. 

This didn’t stop OPHS athletes from excelling and winning. The girls finished the season with an overall record of 11-5 and a league record of 6-2 making them Coastal Canyon League champions.

“The strongest part of the teams’ dynamic was the fact that everyone was super positive no matter what and there really weren’t any cliques or exclusive groups,” senior Ema Alikian said. “No matter what grade, skill or position everybody on the team talked to everyone and made jokes. There are very few teams that are so cohesive and inviting, making me feel like I got to know every single one of my teammates.” 

The team started with the basics but progressed their skill set throughout and concluded the season knowing how to identify different defenses to running trick plays. 

“I valued the way this team picked each other up and motivated each other,” senior Avery Pryor said. “After a tough loss or mistake, we were lifting each other up and moving on. This really helped us throughout the season.”

The coaches and athletes are confident next year will without a doubt be another thrilling season with greater achievements. 

Boys Beach Volleyball

Concluding their almost undefeated season with an overall record of 15-1, boys beach volleyball are Marmonte League Champions once again. 

“The season went very well, although there were some close calls and tough games, we killed through,” varsity player Chase Brewer said. “Gotta be my favorite season, no better way to end senior year beach volleyball than as champions.

Boys Water Polo

Boys water polo started its first season in OPHS history. As with any new sport, the team faced challenges as they navigated rostering and building skills. Despite the challenges, the team developed powerful connections and celebrated two wins during the season. After having to forfeit their first game because they did not have enough players, the boys finished the league season with a record of 2-6. 

“The highs of our season were our games against Moorpark, as those were the games in which we played the best and were able to win,” junior Mason Lewis said. “My favorite moment was probably our first win in which almost everyone on the team scored a goal. We all played really well and I think we really deserved that win.”

Throughout the season, the boys recognized their strengths and weaknesses. 

“One of our main issues was endurance, and with more time to prepare, we will be in shape and more ready to play,” Lewis said. “The strongest part of our team’s dynamic is definitely our chemistry. I think we all get along really well and enjoy each other’s company in and out of the water.”

Lewis believes the program is filled with the element of fun in their games and practices making it enjoyable for both the players and the coaches. Determination and practice will make the OPHS water polo program continue to grow and have a bright future ahead. 

Cheer

If you attended the rallies, you may have noticed the impressive stunts performed by the cheer team. The team has worked hard on building technique and learning new skills and stunts.  

“Something that stands out to me is one of our first rally practices. We focused on putting together stunts – specifically stunts that we had never tried before,” junior Molly Fingerman said. “Within one practice, we hit every stunt we attempted. Watching the team come together as one, both emotionally and from an athletic standpoint was heartwarming. We all put in our best efforts and successfully put together an entire routine.”

This season, coaches and athletes worked extremely hard to build up and improve the team. Through dedication and improvement, the whole team is proud and appreciative of this season’s success. 

“We inevitably endured some ups and downs, but our team’s bond thrived nonetheless,” Fingerman said. “It was a season of growth, love and persistence.”

The team recognizes how strong their bond is. Through all the highs and lows, the team is side by side persevering and they come together and inspire each other. 

“The strongest part of the team’s dynamic is the undying support,” Fingerman said. “I always know I can count on my team to motivate me and push me to be my best. The foundation of the cheer team is love; we are driven by the hugs and kind words that stem from our team’s dynamic.”

After a high energy football season, cheer switched from the football sidelines to the basketball bleachers, where they continue to bring the spirit to every game. 

Dance

The new choreography and endless hours of practice led the dance team to new heights this school year. Dance works hard and practices throughout the year to perform at all the rallies and sports games’ halftime shows. 

“The season was so incredible with such a large team,” senior Neala Blank said. “We had a very successful season so far and have all gotten really close this year.”

The dancers agree that performing at the football games and rallies are their top moments of the year. They also cherished celebrating their seniors.  

“My favorite moment from this year was senior night,” Blank said. “It was really nice to celebrate with the team and the other seniors and we were all so thankful for the work our coach put into the night for us.”

The team is supportive of one another, dynamic and strong. 

“The strongest part of the team’s dynamic is definitely our ability to hype each other up,” Blank said. “When we watch each other perform the energy gets so high and we all encourage each other making the environment really fun.”

 

Marching Band

Aside from performing at football home games, OPHS marching band also attends competitions. This year at the preliminary competition in Moorpark, they ranked 16/32 for the 2A division. 

“Overall, the season went well,” senior Jameson Roesner said. “While we did not get to Championships, the band performed very well.”

Marching band is largely student-run and without the leaders, it wouldn’t be able to function as a whole. 

“The high of the season was the elementary school tour when the band went to each elementary school,” Roesener said. 

One of the most student-recognized moments performed by the band is the sousaphone run and flip, which is also one of the performers’ favorites. 

“I love our team’s ability to work as one and put on a wonderful show,” Roesner said. “I am sad to leave the band but I know that the juniors and underclassmen will continue building on what is left.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to Talon
$238
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Oak Park High School - CA. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Jessica Qi, Sports Editor
Lily Huynh, Editor-in-Chief
Donate to Talon
$238
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Talon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar