If you don’t know Sako Gekchyan, let me tell you. He’s a senior at Costa Mesa High School. He has two younger brothers, John and Greg, who also attend CMHS. He’s on the Wrestling team, oh, and he’s legally blind.
Sako’s family comes from the edge of Costa Mesa and Santa Ana. Although he was born in LA (North Hollywood/Glendale), he still considers himself a LA kid at heart. Sako lost his vision during his first year of life due to a bone condition that affected the back of his head and damaged his eyes.
He decided to go out for the school wrestling team during his freshman year, but soon after joining he realized that season had just ended. He dropped the sport after only being in it for a month, only to realize that there was an off season. The following year he continued with the sport and he’s stuck with it his four years of high school.
| |Who inspired you to join wrestling?
Well it’s actually a pretty funny story. You see, It all started when I saw this Disney movie about a blind wrestler. I know it sounds kind of up-scene, but after watching it I told myself, “Well if he can do it, why can’t I?” This really motivated me to try it out, besides I looked into other sports and saw no real way of be having a good chance at them (out of my league). There’s a lot of contact in wrestling, so I figured this would make the sport a whole lot easier for me. Who helps you the most while you’re practicing?
Well, no one helps me in particular; but when I am having trouble with anything I talk to my coach and he really helps out. He listens and really tries to make things clear for me so I can understand.When someone practices sparring with you, do you get mad if they go easy on you?
Yeah, I mean if I’m not having a good day or didn’t get much sleep the night before; I let them know before hand and ask them to be lenient. Otherwise if I feel good (most of the time), I expect them to treat me like any other wrestler in the room. I fell ready and I’m ready to go hard and hope they do the same. What is the biggest challenge that you face when it comes to a wrestling match?
Reaction time. The other person might be faster and have better agility. All in all I would have to say that my reaction time is probably what kills me at times, but I’ve been working hard and it’s been improving.
--------Read Also: Mrs Shears: A New and Crucial Part of Sports
-------- When was your first win?
My first win was during my first varsity tournament. I can’t quite remember against what school, all I remember was that it was my junior year and it was great! How do you feel after a match (win or loss)?
Well when I win, I feel great! I feel accomplished and relieved; it feels good to know that all that hard work and dedication finally paid off. If it’s a loss, it doesn’t feel so good. I’ll tell you this, sometimes I get so frustrated that I storm out of the gym and slam the doors. Although I am mad at that moment, I don’t let it stop me. I use it to my advantage. I use it as fuel for my next match. I gather up all that frustration and power and input it into my next match. How do you feel about having your brothers in wrestling and following your steps?
It feels great, man; I’m the one who got them into it. They’re pretty good too! They have some wins and are stacking up their stats sheet. I’m very proud of them. Do you intend on doing wrestling throughout college?
Yes, I mean I plan on going to OCC and although I don’t think they offer much help; I also intend on taking classes at Santa Ana College (SAC). SAC has a great program and I’d like to join their team and give it my all.
Written by Jose Palacios
Photos by Raymond Andrade
The basketball team stretches in preparation for the game.
Mesa was neck in neck with our longtime enemies, the Estancia Eagles. It seemed dim for the Mustangs as the Eagles kept scoring, coming in strong during this first quarter. The score kept on doubling on the Eagles side. The Estancia side of the court was exploding in cheers and foot stomps, ripping down the signs that their ASB made and waving them at the Mesa side, jeering and smirking. Suddenly, with a burst of intense energy, varsity seniors Noah JeyaRajah and Andrew Ziegler shot a respective two pointer and three pointer, taking the score to 6-8 and thrusting the Mustangs in the lead for the rest of the game.
On Wednesday night, the annual Battle of the Bell Boys Basketball games took place, with all three Mesa teams taking the coveted bell home. With Coach Dan Krikorian's support from the sideline, the varsity team defeated the Eagles with a score of 47 to 56.
Intensity filled the air of the gym as the two long standing enemies filled the stands. Although these Battle of the Bell games are traditionally meant to foster friendly competition between the two schools, the rivalry often borders on hostile. Plastered all around the walls of the gym were signs that cheered on favorite players and boasted the prowess of the Eagles' basketball teams, with sayings such as "Your mom called. She said you left your game at home."
Key players include junior, Daniel Azurin, who scored a total of 14 points, junior, Kyle Hefner, who scored a total of 11 points, and senior, Andrew Ziegler, who scored a total of 12 points.
The first quarter started off in favor of the Eagles, but with Ziegler's and JeyaRajah's scores it became Mesa's round. Starters Sean Comer, Hefner, Azurin, Wyatt Ferris, and Jeyarajah began the game with intense energy, and the quarter ended with a score of 9 to 12.
The second quarter started off intensely as Estancia crept ahead, gaining an initial two points as the clock began. Instead of allowing overconfidence to take over, Mesa soon began to pad their score. With intense defense and offense from our Mustangs, the score ended in Mesa's favor, with a score of 16 to 28.
The break between the quarters featured a performance by the Estancia Cheer Squad. Cheerleaders from both teams entertained by back flipping across the court and spreading school spirit for each team---
Read Also: Close Game at Boys' Battle of the Bell Basketball Game ---
The third quarter was equally disappointing for the Eagles. Although they gained an additional ten points, Mesa gained 15, ending the quarter with a score of 26 to 43.
The final quarter kept the Mustangs at the edge of their seats as Estancia crept ahead, gaining a total of 21 points. The Mustangs, refused to allow them to get ahead, playing with intensity and showcasing their basketball prowess.
As the last few seconds of the quarter started counting down, Estancia made desperate, feeble attempts to close the margin of the win.
Estancia hit nothing but net, and Mesa won the game, ending with a score of 47 to 56.
Written by Loralee Sepsey
Photos by Jose Palacios
| || |
Heather Orduña, head varsity coach for the girl’s softball team, will be coaching her 4th year at Costa Mesa High School this 2013 school year. This will also be her 1st year coaching as the head varsity coach.
In previous years she has been head JV coach as well as the Varsity assistant. Orduña started coaching in 2009, and has enjoyed it ever since.
This year, tryouts were held on Saturday December 8th.
She was excited to see several returners along with a lot of new girls trying out.
Orduña commented, “It was difficult choosing the teams this year because there is such a large senior class.”
Though this is true, the decision was made two days after tryouts. The Varsity team consists of: Dulce Gomez, Nicki Delgado, Maria Diaz, Molly Settles, Nisha Degante, Itzel Garcia, Alofa Skipps, Jennifer Santiago, Cynthia Morelos, Katie Chapel, Nathaly Aguayo, Alicia Rederscheid, Luiza Daraban, Bridgette Smitheram, Ashley Beall, and Jasmine Herrera.
Many of these players have known coach Orduña for about 4 years or more, and see her not only as a coach but as a friend as well.
----Read Also: A New Trainer for Old Students by Maya Lee-Lopez
Senior, Dulce Gomez, was asked, “What do you think about your coach?” and responded by saying, “She’s a really great coach and is like a best friend to all the girls.”
Senior, Nicki Delgado, also commented,” She’s made a big impact on my softball life and she’s awesome!”
Players from both JV and Varsity are both nervous yet excited to begin playing softball this year. The tournament, which both varsity and JV will participate in, is the La Quinta Tournament. Varsity will also be hosting their annual tournament, located at Tewinkle Park, which lasts for the first two weekends of March.
Although winning each game and playing your best is a goal that Coach Orduña has taught her players, she believes that athletics should teach each player how to develop character.
Academics are another important factor to Coach Orduña. She will not allow the grades of each player to go down because of sports. She encourages tutoring and is willing to help any of her players.
In addition, she believes that community involvement is vital, and she would like to see the community and the softball program come out to games this season.
The players thoughts on Coach Orduña:
Written by Nisha Degante
Photos by Catherine Debbas
Kelsey Armstrong and Dina Pineda
Angel Jesudasen and Hayley Smith
Photos by Catherine Debbas
The 2012-2013 Cheer Squad
Last Sunday the CMHS cheer squad took the win once more at the UCA Regional Competition. The competition this year was held at the University of Irvine.
Mesa’s varsity competition team was up against four other squads. Among the other included Santa Monica cheer squad, our rival of two years. The past two years Santa Monica has beaten us by only one point. This year we stepped up and
pulled out a win.
The squad took both first places in their division. Cheer competitions are scored by many different judges. The squads are judges by various things such as stunt difficulty, jumps, and overall impression. Judges are usually given between two numbers to put done how they feel the team did. These numbers are usually decimals; most squads don't get a solid number. Once all the scores are in for the different sections they're all added up and that’s how the final score is decided. Costa Mesa's cheer squad had a final score of 86.25.----------------------------------------------------Read Also: Cheer Dominates the Dance Floor by Kori Johnson
Mesa’s cheerleaders competed in the large varsity squad division and the pom dance division. This competition season the girls competed in four competitions and have taken first in all.
The competition team coach Kori Johnson says," I couldn't be more proud of the girls. They had a very difficult routine and scored very high," She goes on to say, "This victory meant more than others because we beat our rival squad Santa Monica." Although the team has a bid
to nationals in Orlando, Florida, there is still a lot of work to be done to compete at the national level.
Kori also says, "The team is very committed and hopefully we will do just as well as we've been doing."
Written by Collette Rhoads
Pictures by Ana Puga
Brittany Menchaca is the resident athletic trainer for Costa Mesa High School as of August of the 2012-2013 school year.
Maya Lee-Lopez: So, what is the job of an athletic trainer?
Brittany Menchaca: So basically we work with athletes at any level--it could be high school, it could be professional, it could be collegiate--and we work with evaluation, rehabilitation, and prevention of injuries along with emergency situations.
Maya: Are there specific sports that you're mainly working with?
Brittany: Not really. I'm kind of here for all the sports on campus. If anyone injures themselves, I'm here. If anyone needs any rehab--I work with basically all the sports.
Maya: How long have you been working in this profession?
Brittany: I've been here since August. I’ve just graduated from Cal State Fullerton so I'm kind of new, but I've been doing athletic training for about four years now.
Maya Lee-Lopez and Brittany Menchaca
Maya: Why did you decide to be an athletic trainer?
Brittany: I kind of stumbled into it, and just the idea of seeing someone start to recover from an injury and get all the way back to full participation in sports, it's just a good feeling to be able to help someone move along a little bit faster.
Maya: So if you're not down in your normal place, like your room, where would you be?
Brittany: If I'm not here in the training room I would be court-side, field-side, wherever there's a game going on, wherever there's practice going on. I like to roam around and see what's going on.
---------------------------------------------------Read Also: The Soft Side of Football by McKenna Patton
Maya: What's the most interesting injury you've ever seen?
Brittany: I've seen a few. One of the most interesting for me, I would think, are concussions, 'cause every concussion I've seen is different. Everyone has different symptoms, all recovery times are different, and it's interesting to see how the brain recovers, because for broken bones you could see the injury--you could see what's going on--but when something happens to the brain, there's no way for you to know what's physically going on.
The many tools of our trainer.
Maya: So why did you decide to work here?
Brittany: Here--I love the high school setting. It's a good age group to work with, it's a lot of fun, and I like giving advice because I've been through my share of things and know every high schooler, and it's nice to be able to put my two cents forward when someone comes to me.
Maya: So what's your favorite thing about it?
Brittany: I think it would have to be the students themselves. Every individual has their own personality and its fun getting to know them, getting to work with them, and then at the same time helping them move forward to get to participation--to get back to the game that they love to play.
Maya: For those who would like to be an athletic trainer, what would they have to do in college or even in high school?
Brittany: I didn't do anything until I got to college. I didn't know much about athletic training until I got there. There is a National Athletic Trainer Association that pretty much regulates what athletic trainers do. You have to go into an accredited program at a university and I did 1500 hours of experience before I could sit to take the certification exam. Then you pass the exam and then from that you're pretty much cleared and then people do graduate school after that.
Written by Maya Lee-Lopez
Photos by Serena Ozonur
The referee blew his whistle as a yellow card was awarded to Costa Mesa High School's water polo coaches. Seconds later, Aliso Niguel High School's team shot the ball into Mesa's goal, bringing the score to 4-4, and inciting a time out from Costa Mesa.
This Wednesday, the girls' Varsity water polo team won against Aliso Niguel High School.
It was both teams' first game of the season. "They're good competition," said Varsity player Melissa Folkerts, sophomore, in regards to the opposing team.
Once the game started, senior Kellie Thorsness won the sprint, leading the team to their first offensive play. However, minutes later, Aliso had the ball and scored the first point of the game. Mesa followed by scoring two points, shot by Kellie Thorsness and Aubry Hill. After several missed and blocked shots between the two teams, Aliso scored, bringing the score to 2-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Alicia Rederscheid and Kellie Thorsness began the second quarter by each scoring a point.
Moments later, Aliso scored, bringing the score to 4-3. Costa Mesa was then yellow carded. Several JV players stated they felt the call was unfair. Right after the card was held up; Aliso scored another point, causing Costa Mesa to call a time out. No more points were scored by the end of the second quarter and the teams were tied 4-4.
---------------------------------------------Read Also:Rivalry shows at Polo's Battle of the Bell by Collette Rhoads
"We're playing well," said Coach Postiff at halftime.
In the third quarter, Aubry Hill scored a point, and soon after Kellie Thorsness scored another. The teams battled until Aliso scored, bringing the end of the third quarter to a score of 6-5.
Alicia Rederscheid scored Mesa's last point in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The score was held throughout several time outs, called by both teams. Finally, the whistle was blown. Costa Mesa won 7-5.
"[It was a] great win to start the season," said Aubry Hill.
The game also marked the first of Costa Mesa High School's winter sports teams to win a game so far.
Written by Natalie Tetreault
The Cross Country Boy’s Varsity team placed 10th out of 16 teams this Saturday at Cross Country CIF Finals held at Mt. San Antonio College. They didn't advance to state because only the top 7 teams proceed, but they still made history. After many struggling years, Mesa’s Cross Country team finally made it to finals.
The Boys’ team went up against some of the best Division IV teams in Southern California. This however didn't intimidate them, because every runner ran their best time. Before coming into the race the Boys’ were ranked 13th, then after the race they were ranked 10th.
The top 4 boys Brett Bermudez, Dakota Alford, Jorge Jeronimo, Anuare Magana, were all under the 16:00 minutes. While the next 3 runners David Alcala, Jayson Baker, and Brian Maclean were between 17 to low 19 minutes. The team average dropped drastically from when they first started practicing 18 weeks ago.
The Cross Country Team received a new coach back in 2010, Steve Moreno. Since then he has been trying to develop a strong team by helping runners daily.
When asking Coach Steve Moreno what drew him into coaching at Mesa, he replied, “I have had the pleasure of coaching Cross Country and Track for over 20 years. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach all ranges of athletes from Youth to Collegiate to Elite Athletes. The one area of coaching that I had not had the opportunity as a coach was to be a Head Coach at the High School Level. So, with changes in my career 3 years ago and a position opening for a Head Cross Country Coach at Costa Mesa H.S. presented itself, I applied for the opportunity. As a resident of Costa Mesa for over 15 years, it has been a great experience to be part of developing a program of local talent and be part of the Costa Mesa tradition.”
Also, Coach Steve Moreno was asked what the hardest part about coaching was he said, “Coaching athletes has always been a joy for me, but if there is one challenge in regards to ‘hardest part of coaching,’ it would be to get new potential new athletes to try the sport of cross country or track. The experience that one would find in being part of a Team can be one of the best high school experiences.”
Written By Jocelyn Gutierrez
Photos from the CMHS Cross Country facebook page
Everyone looks forward to the long weekend, but a long weekend took a different meaning to the CMHS cheerleaders over the Veterans Holiday. The team competed in not one but two different competitions this past weekend.
Competition season is where cheer becomes a sport. You’ve got to be flawless to win against other teams. On Saturday the mustang cheerleaders traveled to Los Angeles and competed against some of the best in the area. Winning Grand Master Champions, the team took home almost every award. They won first place in their division beating out 5 other teams. They also won first place out of all divisions with the highest score of the day, being victorious over even co-ed and all-star teams.
They also swept the individual stunt group competitions. Natalie Fowler, Lexi Stroman, Emily Strodel and Laura Vaugious took 1st place. Andrea Ross, McKenzie Soldin, Paige Labare and Rachel Keane took 2nd, and Alyssa Dasca, Alyssa Lopez, Allie Ross and Jordan Weir took 3rd.
In the tumbling division, Alexis Dasca took 2nd place and Allie Ross came in 3rd. In the JV tumbling category Lea Mitani won 2nd place. The JV stunt group consisting of Collette Rhoads, Jordin Peurrung, Abby Bonilla and Priscilla Zieglar received 2nd place.
The team also competed in the dance division for the first time and ended up coming in 2nd place in the advanced pom division, losing out by 2 points to a dance studio- Yucca Valley Heat.
--------------------------------------------Read Also: Cheer goes to Nationals by Eduardo Hernandez
In the turn’s category, Alyssa Dasca, 1st, Alyssa Lopez, 2nd and Jazzy Jaime 3rd. Alyssa Dasca also won 2nd place in toe touches and 1st in leaps. In high kicks Jordin Perrung placed 2nd and Rachel Keane placed 3rd.
The Mustangs won the title Grand Master Champions and a bid to Nationals because of their cumulative points for the day.
Not resting on the laurels of Saturday the team did it once again on Sunday. The team traveled to UCI and competed with over 75 other teams at the Southern California Classic by GSSA. The team not only won the division championship but 5 seniors were chosen as semi-finalists for the West Coast Region Scholarship Team. Alyssa Dasca, Courtney Hatch, Selena Arreola, Megan Settles, and Natalie Fowler were selected from their performances during the competition and now are giving the opportunity to win a share of over $10,000 towards college. CMHS has had 3 members of their cheer team be awarded scholarships- in 2009 Ally Krikorian received $1,000, in 2010 Patricia Cruz received $400 and in 2012 Kerlly Castellano was named Cheerleader of the Year for the Western United States and was awarded a $2,000 scholarship.
Coaches Kori Johnson, Frank Molina and Maria Cabande were very proud of the girl’s accomplishments both days. Competition season is a time for us, for our team, we spend so much time giving back to others whether it be raising school spirit, cheering on our other athletics teams or performing community service- competition is about our skills and what we can do as a team, how we can compete against other teams and be victorious. But there is no time to dwell on the victories of this weekend, practice continues and we are aiming for the state title in 3 weeks.
Written by Kori Johnson
Koreen Johnson (Kori) has been the cheer coach at Costa Mesa High school for seven years. She has been involved in cheer and gymnastics for over 35 years. In her years of coaching the team has won numerous awards through UCA, GSSA, and Sharp organizations. Along with being coach she has won many different awards on her own including being part of the top 100 influential people in Newport Mesa.