The 2008-2009 spring sports seasons has officially ended with all Blair varsity teams having concluded their participation in playoffs. Many teams have achieved more wins in the playoff rounds than in previous seasons and collectively share a positive and aggressive outlook for next year. Some seniors also garnered recognition for exceptional performances and successful individual records throughout their sports careers. Promising athletes for next year, including rising sophomores and juniors, are visible due to exceptional athleticism during the season.
by Rose Wynn
Gymnastics finished their 3-2 season with a flourish. For the first time, the team placed second at the county competition only 11 points under their primary competitor Bethesda Chevy Chase High School (BCC). Because of their success, the entire team advanced to the state competition for the first time, and competed as one of the two best teams in the county. With an incredible display of skill and agility, the girls narrowed their gap behind BCC significantly for this second competition, and just barely missed first place by four points. Coach Hillary Wynn was elated by the team's record-breaking accomplishments. "We did fantastic," she beamed. "We did even better than we ever thought possible."
Headed by senior co-captains David Fegley and Josh Gordon, the team built on their skills and experience from previous seasons. The Blazers advanced to the second round of playoffs before being ousted in a 3-1 loss to Quince Orchard. Regardless of the loss, the Blazers exhibited a mean offense, with junior Sammy Denenberg pitching a no-hitter until the sixth inning. "We had a good pitching staff with [sophomore] Peirce Marston and Sammy," junior catcher Ben Hukill said.Towards the end of the season, the seniors stepped up their game to provide even more runs and victories for the team. Heavy hits and big plays from seniors Ettinger, Corran, Gordon, Fegley, Greg Friedman and Giulian Garruba gave the team an undeniable advantage over their opponents. "We were able to put up a fight in all except one game," Denenberg said.
The team will be losing six valuable seniors to graduation but can look to rising seniors and co-captains Alex Egber and Denenberg to lead them to more victories. Denenberg is positive that the team will be able to step up next year. "We are losing six seniors, and most of them played a big role that were going to have to fill somehow," he said. "All the rest of us are playing good summer ball and will improve.”
by Julia Wynn
Varsity softball concluded a triumphant 13-5 season with three strong playoff games that left the team only two runs away from state championships. The players' final loss to Sherwood 5-4 in the regional semifinal was especially disappointing considering their initial 4-1 lead as far as the sixth inning. The previous playoff games against Whitman and Northwest ended with Blazer victories of 5-0 and 7-4, respectively. Head Coach Louis Hoelman cited these final games as some of the strongest of the season. "We played our best at the end of the year," he noticed.
Although the team suffered five defeats in regular games, four of these were lost by only one point, according to Hoelman, revealing a better team than the record shows. "We're right up there with the best teams in the county," he said.
Horne especially praised senior Susie Branson, who is the first Blazer lacrosse player to have been recruited for a Division 1 college. Branson, who scored a record-setting 67 goals during 12 games this season and was named as a player to watch in the Gazette, will be playing for Presbyterian College in the fall. "She had a ridiculous year," Horne said.
Next year, the team is setting their sights high, as Horne explained the girls always do. "It's always state championships for us," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get there."
by Fran Djoukeng
A heart-breaking but hard-fought county championship loss to Richard Montgomery High School halted the boy's varsity volleyball team's outstanding record of 14-2. Having advanced the farthest in competitions this year, the team was proud to have won over their rivals, Sherwood High School, early in the playoffs.
Still, four seniors on the team who were not only power hitters but starters are moving on from the team. The remaining teammates have learned some pointers and hope to emulate their athletic effort. "The seniors were a great inspiration for the entire time but we're still getting new and fresh talent each year, so we don't have to concentrate so much on our losses," junior Peter Qiao said.Many senior members on the team dominated the court and brought large doses of technique, agility and perseverance. Heavy-hitters and seniors Nic Vujcic and Willy Li were constant forces on the team and led many matches with formidable kills and acute aces that kept Blair winning some matches with considerable margins.
"The captain's showed great leadership and extremely good serving and they set great examples,” junior Pin-Joe Ko said.
With a strong performance in the playoffs, the rest of the rising athletes have a focused attitude towards a strong finish in next years' competitions.
"We have a lot of hope for a strong season next year especially if we work on serving, because it killed us during the Richard Montgomery game,” Qiao said.
Overall, the younger athletes hope to improve on their faulty areas and believe it will translate into solid wins next year. "We played outstanding and we are an overall strong team. I'm very happy with our defense but this year our weakest technique was serve-receive and serve consistency. If we work on that we will have a good chance,” Ko said.
"We need to work on team spirit. All we need to do next year is come together more as a team and with better serving, hopefully, we can take our wins all the way,” Qiao said.
Fran Djoukeng. More »
Rose Wynn. I love piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and the ladies of the Blair Pom Squad. More »