After a successful Cross Country season and winning 4th place in the CIF Preliminary race, Costa Mesa high school senior, Robert Blackwell, qualified for the CIF Finals.
The race was held at Mount San Antionio College, a course infamous for its many hills. After a race of 17:06, Blackwell had placed 73rd in the overall race. The fact that he even qualified for this race is a huge accomplishment. He was disappointed, however, with his result, but happy that he had gotten so far in CIF. Blackwell stated: “If I wasn’t hurt for two weeks and was able to practice to my fullest, then I know for sure I’d be going to Fresno for the state meet on Saturday.”
Considering all of this, Blackwell was also the only runner representing Costa Mesa at the meet and this was also his first time making it to CIF for Cross Country. After running for Costa Mesa three consecutive seasons, Blackwell concludes his high school Cross Country career. He plans to continue to run in college for a college team.
Photos by Royce Friedmann.
Girls’ tennis held its first ever Shot-A-Thon last Thursday.
The Shot-A-Thon is a fundraiser where participants get donations for every shot they hit.
People donated between $0.01- $0.25 per shot, or a flat sum. They had one hitter and one counter at every court to count and record every shot hit on that court. If the shot was hit out of bounds then the counter did not count that toward the players finally number of hits. There were four courts where a player could hit forehands, backhands, volleys, or serves.
"It's a fun way to make money and a good system," said Coach Migaki.
The proceeds are going to the tennis fund to help pay for the girls’ and boys’ banquet and supplies such as balls and uniforms. Migaki expected to raise anywhere from $200 to $400.
The team chose to do a shot-a-thon because then the money goes directly to them and they can "cut out the middle man" as Coach Migaki says.
The team hit a total of 2,500 shots, amounting to an average of 300 shots each.
"[The shot-a-thon] is a good way to raise funds and have fun at the same time," said Yurika Joi, a senior on the girls’ tennis team.
A view of the CMHS tennis courts during the Shot-A-Thon.
On Thursday, November 10th, Costa Mesa HS's Girls’ Tennis team played Rancho Santa Margarita Catholic HS in round one of CIF Southern Section.
The girls faced a tough battle against last year's CIF Southern Section winners, Santa Margarita, the number one team in the Trinity League. However, the Girls’ tennis team is the only sport at CMHS that plays Division one teams. Tennis Coach, Janet Migaki, refers to the team as "the best of the best" and was proud to see the girls hitting with intent, displaying their athleticism and determination to play their best, and win a match.
All singles players won their matches against SMCHS' No.3 player. No.3 singles player, junior Catherine Debbas, started the sweep by defeating her opponent, Kayleigh Meech, 6-4 as did No.2 Yurika Joi. No.1 Singles, MahinaWon-Milho, ended the afternoon with her 6-3 win against Meech.
The team is third in league and is proud to have made it as far as they did. It has been more than 5 years since the Girls Tennis team has gone to CIF.
USPTA (U.S. Professional Tennis Association) certified tennis Coach Janet Migaki looks forward to working on getting the team ready for next year as they enter preseason this week.
Injuries and Eagles take Mustangs down.
CMHS loses Battle of the Bell to Estancia 28-14. After a week-long series of school events held at both schools to increase excitement and ticket sales, Mesa faced disappointment after a injuries plagued the team.
Mario Smith, CMHS’s star player, injured his shoulder in the 2nd Quarter. Subbed in several times during the game, M. Smith’s injury only got worse leaving a gap in the Mustang’s offense.
Mesa still managed to hold it's own till halftime. After a back-and-forth first half, the game was 14-14.
During Halftime, Jim Scott Jr. dedicated a new bell to whoever would win, in honor of his father.
As the third quarter started both sides fought hard, with Costa Mesa pushing its offense and Estancia keeping a firm defense. In the middle of the third quarter, Justin Smith, rolled his ankle and was pulled from the game.
The Eagles took advantage and were able to secure a touchdown by the end of the third, leaving the Mustangs behind them. In the fourth quarter, the Eagles snatched up another touchdown, securing the win.
After the game, Costa Mesa’s head coach, Wally Grant, stated how his team “played to their best ability, but just ran out of gas.”
Robert Blackwell, senior, came in second place at Mount Sac effectively taking him to CIF. For those of you who don’t know what Mount Sac is, it’s, in Blackwell's words, “the world cup for runners”. It is one of the largest in terms of audience, one of the oldest, toughest, and world renowned 3 mile courses.
Blackwell has been on the Varsity Track team since freshman year and started running for the Varsity Cross Country team since his sophomore year. He decided to join cross country in order to, "get in better shape for track," he explained.
Blackwell’s personal record 3 mile time is 15:42, his best mile time is 4:40, his best 800 is 2:01, and on 4x4’s his best split is 52.3. Blackwell runs an average of eight miles a day for distance runs, and then during speed workouts he runs six to seven miles.
He has been offered the opportunity to attend either Vanguard University, or Concordia University Irvine in order to run for their teams. He has met with both colleges and has run with their teams. Also, with both colleges he has the opportunity for a partial athletic scholarship. In addition, Robert wants to be a personal trainer or running coach by majoring in kinesiology.
When asked what his greatest accomplishments were, Blackwell responded with “I don’t like to be proud of myself, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished enough. I hold myself to a high standard, in terms of running, a standard that I haven’t quite reached. I don’t feel like I’ve performed to the best of my abilities yet.”
When asked if he wanted to add anything to the end of the interview he said, “I don't know. I just have the song 'I Just Can’t Wait to be King' by Simba stuck in my head.”
Jacky Dang and Lisa Vu are the number one doubles team for CMHS Varsity Girls’ Tennis.
Jacky and Lisa, both seniors and team captains, took 4th in league out of 18 teams. They only lost matches against Laguna Beach and Calvary Chapel, which was better than either of them expected.
When asked about their placement in league, Lisa said, “It’s a nice way to end my high school career.”
Jacky played tennis since her freshmen year and worked her way up the ranks to earn the spot of number one doubles.
“I was surprised that my senior year ended this well,” Jacky said.
Lisa began playing tennis when she was in 5th grade. After she joined the team, Lisa quickly became a star player.
Both enjoyed being captains, they said, because their teammates looked up to them and they got to help others become better players.
However, Lisa and Jacky did not always play as a doubles team. They were together for the majority of last year and all of this year. They were supposed to play together their sophomore year, but Jacky broke a toe and had to sit out for a good portion of the season.
“They are the strongest doubles that I have ever worked with while a coach at Costa Mesa,” said Girls’ Tennis Coach, Mrs. Migaki.
They have a bright outlook for the rest of the tennis team after they graduate. They believe the team is only going to get better as they collectively gain more experience.
The final race of the season for CMHS Cross Country took place at Godinez High School last Wednesday.
Godinez, Calvary Chapel, Estancia, Laguna, Saddleback, and Costa Mesa all participated at at the Orange Coast League Finals. In order for Costa Mesa to qualify for CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) as a team, they had to take at least 3rd place.
Robert Blackwell, notably, took 2nd place individually. First place was awarded to Jose Penalosa from Godinez, and Laguna Beach’s Jeff White took 3rd.
For the first time in years, both the CMHS Varsity Boys and Varsity Girls teams took 4th place, and the Girls JV team took 6th. Mesa had another 12 personal bests as well, finishing off the season strong.
Although Mesa didn't make it to CIF as a team, Robert Blackwell made CIF for individuals. He will have a chance to progress further at the CIF meet held at Mt. SAC, next Saturday, Nov. 12th.
Mesa's Best Times
*indicates Personal Best
Costa Mesa girls’ soccer tryouts are underway as of November 1st, and will come to an end November 15th.
The tryouts consist of drills testing the girls speed, endurance, accuracy, and distance when kicking a ball. There are drills like dribbling a ball through cones, kicking the ball for distance and accuracy, throwing a ball for distance and accuracy, drop kicking a ball to make it in the net, sprinting around cones, testing foot-skills, and even running the mile and sprinting the 400.
The second week of tryouts the girls have to prove themselves through scrimmage. This also give the girls who need to make up drills the opportunity to do so.
The drills are all based on a point system, and then rated relative to everyone else. After that the girls are ranked.
In regards to how the team is going to be this year, returner, Marjorie Velazquez, voiced “in my opinion it’s going to be so-so. We're going to have terrible games, but we're going to improve. But not everyone’s going to get along.”
When asked, what do you think we need to do this season to come through with a strong team? Daniela Benitez responded with “If we keep defense strong we’ll do well. And just communicate.”
The last time Costa Mesa girls’ soccer made it to CIF was in 2009, but a few of the girls that have made it know that that’s always what they're pushing for.
The CMHS Mustangs beat Laguna Beach in a high-scoring football game Friday night, ending with a score of 63-47.
The Mustangs are currently 8-1, counting non-league games.
It was a particularly great game for senior running back, Mario Smith, who rushed the ball 29 times, racked up 359 yards, and scored a total of seven touchdowns.
When asked what his key to success was by a L.A. Times reporter, Smith said, "Just staying physical throughout the game and never giving up."
But Smith was not the only one making astounding plays. Sophomore Oronde Crenshaw ran 50 yards in the first quarter. Senior quarterback Nathan Alvis threw 21 yards to Jake Comer in the 3rd quarter. Senior Jordan Walden made a successful one-handed interception in the fourth quarter. Junior Jake Lux accompanied all nine touchdowns of the night with good kicks.
The Mustangs enter Battle of the Bell week at 3-0 in league, tied with the also undefeated Estancia Eagles. This means that the winner of next Friday’s Battle of the Bell game will be crowned undefeated league champions for the season.
CMHS Girl’s Tennis team made it to League with their win over the Estancia Eagles last Friday.
This game was extremely vital to the tennis team because it was the win that they needed to qualify for league.
Jacky Dang, the team captain, along with her skillful partner, Lisa Vu, stole the show as they won all three of their team games, 6-2, 6-0, and another perfect game of 6-0. Nearly all of Mesa’s wins were landslides such as one made by Ciara Rudas’ team which was 6-1.
“They definitely went all out in the last games which I extremely appreciate, they did really well, all of them,” said Dang.
The spectators helped cheer the girls to victory and were very excited for their wins. Jackie Waldron, this year’s homecoming queen, said, “Yup I’m very proud of my Mesa girls.”
The tennis team celebrated their victory by singing Harry Potter songs and was then sent to the bus for the ride home by the happy coach, Janet Migaki.