Spring captains bring spirit and pride to Gabrielino

Spring captains bring spirit and pride to Gabrielino
Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Jeffrey Wu, Connor Tran, Sarah Banh, Gwendolyn Chu (Bren Belmonte)

   Swim captains Sarah Banh, senior, Connor Tran, senior, Jeffrey Wu, senior, and Gwendolyn Chu, junior, manage a large and diverse pool of swimmers. Despite the team’s successful performance in CIF and the division, managing the team has been no seamless task. With all kinds of personalities on the team, the captains have worked hard to ensure the team remains stable and united. 

   “Things get pretty chaotic since our team is so diverse in personalities. Even though we are all united, there are a handful of cliques,” explained Chu, who has been on the varsity team for two years.

  Tran, who has been on the team for four years, shares Chu’s feelings regarding the team’s diverse personalities. “Our team is also extremely dedicated and hardworking, but I think we are successful because we just remember to have fun, and not take things too seriously,” Tran said with a grin. 

   Banh, who has been a swim captain since her sophomore year, hopes the underclassmen will learn from her leadership  on the team. 

    “The best advice I can give to other swimmers is to make other swimmers eat your bubbles,” Banh shared, laughing.

   Wu believes the “Swim experience” includes memories and team celebrations that underclassmen will remember long after the season. 

   “We always have an annual team dinner and Korean BBQ; it’s a really good way to bond with everyone, send seniors off, and reflect on the hard work of the year,” said Wu, who has been on the team his entire high school career.

Track and Field
Left to Right: Kyla Penamente, Ajani Romero (Bren Belmonte)

   Track and Field captains Kyla Penamante, senior, and Ajani Romero, sophomore, lead a team of over fifty athletes. The pair are known for their ability to micromanage, filling in the gaps for the Track and Field coaches by ensuring each individual event within Track and Field–including Pole Vault, Shotput and Discus, Jumps, Distance, and Sprints–are given equal attention and adequate care. 

   Penamante has spent four years on the track team, but this year is her first as a captain outside of her event, and for the entire track team.

  “Field events are ninety percent mental and and ten percent performance,” explained Penamente, who is also one of the captains for her individual event, Discuss and Shot Put.

   Romero has spent two years on the track team, and this year is also his first as a general team captain.

  “I would describe our team dynamics as passionate, since we all just really care about the sport and our own individual events,” Romero said with a smile. “I’m looking forward to the end of the year banquet, since it’s a time to reflect and wish all of the seniors well.”

Boys Volleyball
Left to Right: Seth Asaoka, Nathan Truong (Bren Belmonte)

   Boys Volleyball captains Seth Asaoka, senior, and Nathan Truong, senior, are known for giving advice to their teammates that goes beyond volleyball. The pair give insights into issues related not only to playstyle, but also how to remain spirited despite repeated losses.

  “We always tell the rest of the team to support each other no matter what,” explained Asaoka, who has been on the boys volleyball team for two years.

  Truong finds the team to be special, believing Volleyball is unlike other sports because it requires players to play all over the court.

   “I think that our team dynamics can be described as very fun-loving,” shared Truong, who has been on the Boys Volleyball team for his entire high school career. “We have some people who are really energetic, and others who are mellow, but we are all able to come together and play hard regardless.”

Boys Golf
Left to Right: Alex Hoe, Benjamin Ta (Bren Belmonte)

   Boys Golf captains Alex Hoe, senior, and Benjamin Ta, senior, lead the very small, close-knit boys golf team. The two lead their team on a philosophy of perseverance, believing that remaining determined is key to success in golf.

   “Golf is a mind game, so I think it’s important to just stay persistent,” explained Ta, who has been on the boys golf team for his entire high school career, and is the only player to qualify for CIF. 

  Hoe agrees with Ta, believing the team’s small size also helps enhance focus and improve each player’s abilities.

   “Our team is really small compared to sports like track or swim, so we have all really gotten to improve and know each other well,” stated Hoe, who has played on the boys golf team since his sophomore year. “We make sure to go out every match and celebrate, regardless of whether a game is a win or loss.”

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Destiny Lopez, Sophia Guerrero, Alexia Rovles, Melissa Lopez (Bren Belmonte)

   Softball captains Destiny Lopez, senior, Melissa Lopez, senior, Sophia Guerrero, junior, and Alexis Rovles, senior, are committed to making their teamspace feel welcoming, close, and familial. The captains preach always to enjoy softball–regardless of whether the team wins or loses–and to be communicative. 

   “We all really respect and love each other,” said Destiny Lopez, who has been a part of the Softball team since her sophomore year. 

   Melissa Lopez agrees with Destiny’s feelings regarding the friendly atmosphere of the team.

   “I would say we are one family; even if we don’t know each other well, we have created a welcoming space where we can talk openly with each other,” added Melissa Lopez, who has been playing Varsity softball since her junior year. 

   Guerrero shares Melissa’s feelings of familial love for the team. 

   “We always try to have fun; it’s really important to us that we don’t stress too much so that we can actually enjoy the game,” explained Gurero, who has played on the softball since her freshman year. 

   Rovles, who joined the softball team during her junior year, believes it is important for the team to prioritize having fun. 

   “To keep team morale and motivation, we still mess around from time to time. One time, we all dressed up as our coach and sprayed him with the water hose.” stated Rovles. “It was so much fun, and created something we could all bond over,” Guerrero commented, laughing. 

Left to Right: Nash Castillo, Jacob Delindo (Bren Belmonte)

   Baseball captains Nash Castilllo, senior, and Jacob Delindo, senior, push their team to strive for the best, encouraging them to go “beyond homeruns.” Both captains emphasize the importance of priorities, pushing the rest of their team to take advantage of practice.

   “We always tell the team to use practice as a chance to improve; instead of goofing around, we try to make the team take things more seriously,” stated Castillo, who has been a part of the baseball team his entire high school career.  

   Delindo believes the team is unique due to the players’ hardworking spirit and determination. “We’re a team that’s very explosive; we start each game off fast, and just don’t quit,” shared Delindo, who has also been a part of the Baseball team all four years of his high school career. 

   Castillo recounts many positive memories with the team, hoping that the players will take the experiences with them entering into their future seasons.

   “When we were both freshmen, Jacob and I learnt a lot from the seniors; they didn’t just carry us, but also taught us life lessons, such as how to be more respectful and responsible,” explained Castillo. “I’d say that now, as seniors, we both do the same for the younger players on the team.”

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