Intro to fall sports

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The beginning of the new school year also marks the beginning of the 2019 PSAL fall season. Athletes from all 12 of the teams are gearing up for the new season. 

Badminton

The boys badminton team finished last season with a record of 8-4 and placed third in their division. In order for the team to defeat rival schools, Bronx Science and Hunter High School, the team must emphasize skill and consistency. Senior co-captain Vincent Lian said, “For our team, although we’ve lost our players who play the crucial role of first doubles, the main lineup is consistent from previous years with potential players filling up the missing spots. With most of our opponents going through a huge change in their lineup, I am positive to say that with our lineup this year, we will be the team that everyone tries to avoid.” 

Bowling

The girls bowling team finished their 2018 season with a record of 9-1. The Hawks finished with first place in their division and advanced to the second round of playoffs before losing to rival, Francis Lewis. After four talented seniors graduated, the girls must compensate by emphasizing the importance of practice. “Practice. Practice. Practice. The more we practice, the better our game is because it’s all muscle memory… We miss them [the seniors] a lot, and now it’s time to step up to the challenge,” said senior Dawn Lugo. 

After finishing with a record of 4-6 last season, the boys bowling team looks to find success in unity. Senior and co-captain Dino Mulani said, “Unity and having a fun time are the sole goals in my opinion. Regardless of our record, I want this year to be a stress free time for people to get closer and get to know each other… We [the seniors] want to leave the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen on the team with a positive attitude in bowling so they will continue to recruit members.”

Cross Country

In order to prepare for this season, the boys cross country team emphasized practice over the summer. Senior captain Denion Prifti said, “The team prepares over the summer by running lots of easy mileage to build up our aerobic capacity. We do hill work and strides to prepare our legs for the faster-paced meets.” At these practices, safety is a priority. “Our team avoids injuries through daily stretches after practice and learning proper technique from our coaches regarding how we should run and take care of our body,” said junior Andrew Mak.

In order to get the girls cross country team ready for the season, their coach, Timothy Connor, has been creating structured workout plans, to help the girls improve their skills. Junior Cynthia Hardy elaborated, “He gives us a combination of hard and easy days and modifies the workouts as necessary to do what’s best for us.” In addition to their coach, their captains are trying to help the team, by being an example for the underclassmen.“We’re role models for the freshmen and we have to show them that they need to have confidence in their abilities,”said Senior captain Julia Xia. “They need to know they can count on their captains and that we’re in this for the long run.”

Fencing

Last season, boys fencing finished in 3rd place behind Francis Lewis with a record of 6-4. In order to train for the season, the boys are working on conditioning and scrimmage. Their coach Chris Hackney prepares them in order to get ready for meets. “He [our coach] guides us throughout our training and informs us about ways to improve ourselves, like posture and technique, and looks for outside opportunities to help us grow in our abilities,” said junior Amar Maksumic. Many fencers set personal goals for themselves which helps the team succeed. Senior captain Jonathan Tran said, “My goals are to place top three in the competitions throughout the year and third overall in playoffs. I also just want to have fun and help set up the team for next year.”

Boys Soccer

The boys soccer team finished last season with a record of 4-6, placing 4th in their division. In order to make the playoffs, the team is focusing on improving their skills. This season we are working hard in practice, trying to play more scrimmages so we may learn to play as a team and to communicate more with each other. We also undergo drills involving attacking so we can have more chances at goals,” said Senior Joe Guartan. Senior captain, Rohan Iyer wants to achieve the team’s goals by being a committed captain. He said, “The biggest responsibility [for me] is motivating my team and being a strong leader. It’s important to keep them dedicated and lead by example.”

The girls soccer team finished last season with a record of 11-1 and tied for first with Scholar’s Academy. This year, the A Division is combined, so the girls will play more teams overall but only play each team once. Since the opposing teams changed, the girls needed to refine their skills. Senior captain Victoria Fraczek said, “Our strategy is to play more defensively and smart, we want to keep our defense and midfield strong and prepared for all games because you never know what can happen.” In order to apply their strategy in the game, they practice most of the week. “We do a lot of finishing and work with our goalie in the net. We also do some passing and skill work,” said junior Xandria Crosland.

Swimming

Last season, girls swimming finished in second place in the Queens Division, behind Benjamin Cardozo High School. After losing 14 seniors, the team has a new obstacle to overcome. Sophomore Elon Orr said, “We just have to work that much harder because we can’t rely on power in numbers anymore.  Every swimmer on the team has her strengths and as the season begins, we get to witness what we are truly made of.” 

Tennis 

The girls tennis team ended last season with a record of 9-1, tying with rival Francis Lewis for first place in their division. In order to gain an edge, the team must strategize which positions can take a win or a loss. Senior India Lott said, “Our main strategy is for our doubles teams to take wins and for one of our singles to pull through and win her match, especially our third singles, Fay Wong, who was the reason we tied with Francis Lewis for first place in our division last year.” In the long run, the girls hope to advance past the quarterfinal round in the playoffs and ultimately win a championship. 

Volleyball

The girls junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams began preparing for the upcoming season by holding rigorous conditioning practices over the summer. Last season, the junior varsity team finished with a record of 4-2, tying with Cardozo for second place. This season, the girls hope to surpass their standing record. 

Meanwhile, the varsity team placed second in their division with a record of 8-2, finishing just behind Francis Lewis. In order to match Francis Lewis, the girls need to gain an understanding of how they play. Senior co-captain Samantha Liu said, “I, along with many other girls on the team, have played with the [Francis Lewis] girls on club teams. Thus, we understand how they play out of the PSAL league and what weaknesses they have. We noticed that they lost some of their starting seniors but the competition still remains high.” To stay in shape and remain at their best, many of the girls play volleyball year-round. “With their participation in the Bayside Volleyball Club and the Cali Volleyball Club, the girls dedicated their time to volleyball in the winter and spring season. See, for us, volleyball isn’t just a school sport, it’s a passion,” said Samantha.

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