By Joohan Kim
The man who broke the world record as the first sprinter to sweep three gold medals at three Olympic Games has lost one of his nine Olympic gold medals due to a doping case involving Jamaican teammate Nesta Carter. That man is Usain Bolt. According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Carter tested positive for methylhexaneamine, which is a banned stimulant, in re-analysis of samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
I suppose some people may wonder why the whole team was stripped of their medals. Unfortunately, Olympic rules state that the entire team must be stripped of their medals and titles if one member is tested positive. While this is usually the case, there have been some exceptions. For instance, American runner Marion Jones was stripped of her two relay medals from the Sydney Games for doping offences, but her teammates were able to protect theirs after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
In an interview with the Guardian last year, Bolt said, “It’s heartbreaking because over the years you’ve worked hard to accumulate gold medals and work hard to be a champion – but it’s just one of those things,” he said. “Things happen in life, so when it’s confirmed or whatever, if I need to give back my gold medal I’d have to give it back, it’s not a problem for me.”
Usain Bolt fans have voiced their concerns that this incident might burden Bolt as he starts his final season at the World Championships in London this summer. On the other hand, Bolt has remained calm and controlled by saying that his legacy has not been tarnished by having to hand back one of his nine Olympic gold medals.
“I’m not happy, but it’s just one of those things that happen in life,” he added.
*Additional information was taken from BBC and The Guardian.
By Lynette Aslanian
Despite their rough start, the Boys’ Varsity soccer team has high hopes and expectations for rest of the season ahead. During the beginning of the season, the team members struggled with their first three defeats, yet soon recovered, immediately regaining their strength and power with the next three victories . Unfortunately, they stagnated at this point, balancing out with another two losses and two ties, until they won against Blair and tied against Monrovia.
From last week’s Monrovia game, however, the players made further improvements utilizing their talents and skills. Displaying outstanding performance and sportsmanship, the varsity team played a fantastic match, despite the 2-2 tie. Senior captain Sam Adida made some especially remarkable plays, scoring the two goals and playing defensively. Although the result was not exactly what they hoped for, all the players demonstrated praiseworthy devotion and effort.
Senior Armand Manoukian also commented on the team’s chemistry, saying, “The chemistry is great. We love playing with each other, and we hang out at least twice a week. They can get annoying, but I love them.”
The team has bigger plans for the rest of the year, which include competing in CIF.
“So far it’s been a great season, since in the beginning we not only have developed as players but also as a team. We plan to win league matches as well as the CIF games,” said Ryan Cabello (11), in regards to the team’s fervent hopes.
The team still has eight more games to play as well as the CIF matches, so there are still a lot of opportunities awaiting them. We wish all the very best luck for our soccer team! Go Spartans!
By Andrew Kwon
The Spartan Boys’ Basketball season has arrived, and it seems like it will be a promising one. After winning sixteen of its first twenty games, La Cañada’s boys’ basketball team is continuing its tradition as a force to be reckoned with. Although the girls’ basketball team finished last year’s season with a stellar 29-4 record, the boys are hopeful that they can meet or surpass the girls’ successes to round out La Cañada’s outstanding basketball program.
Sophomore shooting guard Ryan Graves, talking about his hopes for the season, said, “It's going to be a good year, we are off to a great start and look to continue to get better with every game we play.”
After losing multiple senior starters and key players, there was definitely some concern about how well the team would perform this coming season. With the new additions from last year’s JV team to the roster, the varsity boys’ basketball team has racked up sixteen wins and dropped four losses so far in the first month of the season.
In the game against Bishop Alemany High School, the Spartans suffered a painful loss in overtime; moreover, all of the Spartans’ defeats have been decided by single digits, demonstrating that this year’s team is a strong contender for several titles.
With the team retaining most of its coaches and staff members, it still possesses the solid foundation of a championship program. There is no doubt that the boys’ basketball team will perform well, but just how good is the team and how far can they go this year? There’s only one way to find out. Come out and support the team, whether you’re tearing it up in the splash zone, buying refreshments from the snack bar, or simply attending the games. A great team still needs great fans!
By Kaylin Park
When her parents first signed her up for taekwondo in May of 2010, freshman Sarah Aparicio had no idea how rewarding and enjoyable the classes would really be. After attending classes and gaining a newfound enthusiasm for the sport, her passion grew tremendously as she discovered her blossoming talent and skill in Korean martial arts. Besides practicing taekwondo, Sarah also represents the LCHS Equestrian team. Last year, she competed against over 200 other competitors, ultimately scoring victorious as the Freshman Dressage champion, and as the Freshman Reserve champion overall.
Sarah has been practicing taekwondo at JK Taekwondo in Glendale for nearly five years. She is currently a first degree black belt and will be testing for her second degree this coming December.
In addition to attending classes, Sarah is an avid participant in taekwondo competitions. However, due to her current focus on training for her second degree black belt, Sarah has not competed at all this year. Her most recent competition took place on October 11, 2015, where she placed first in both sparring and in poomsae, which are patterns of defense-and-attack motions.
Sarah appreciates the way the sport strengthens her, both physically and mentally.
“I feel that I have greater self confidence from studying taekwondo since I am able to protect myself more effectively,” she said.
She also shared that her favorite lessons were the ones in which she practiced with swords and perfecting poomsae.
“I enjoyed them because they both placed a strong emphasis on refining a person’s skills in precision and in balance,” Sarah stated.
Her words of advice for those who are just starting out and those who are interested in learning taekwondo consist of three important points.
“Remember to respectfully communicate and cooperate with the taekwondo masters, practice consistently, and most importantly, keep your head up. Stick it through-you will reach your goal before you know it.”
By Andie Chung
Meet senior Emily Carr, a fantastic gymnast who is extremely accomplished, both in her academics and extracurricular activities. Emily is a Level 10 gymnast who trains at Club Champion in Pasadena, California.
“I have been doing gymnastics since I was 4, and I have been competing since I was 8,” the senior said.
Emily competes in all four women’s gymnastics events: vault, bars, beam, and floor. Among her role models is La Cañada alumni Sofia Menemenlis.
“We had a lot of similar interests, and I look up to her,” said Emily. “ She’s pretty successful.”
Because gymnastics is such a demanding sport, Emily dedicates a large portion of her time practicing after school.
“I have four and a half hour practices every day except Thursday and Sunday,” Emily said.
Throughout these hours of practice, Emily conditions herself for competitions.
“Our season is January to May. And during season, you go to anywhere between 6 and 8 competitions. Most of them are in California, but we do a few out-of-state meets. So far, the farthest that I have been is in Chicago,” said Emily.
Just over the past year, Emily has won many prestigious awards. Among them are: 7th place on the balance beam at SoCal State Championships, 3rd place in Vaulting and 1st place in Bars at Heart of a Champion, and 2nd place in vaulting and 1st place in bars at Lady Luck.
Emily’s favorite part about gymnastics is that she is “able to successfully do things that I was scared of doing before. Although there are hard days, the best days are when I get over my fears.”
She is also motivated by gymnastics because it “makes me feel really good about myself. My main motivation was to be able to compete on a college team. It’s a lot more fun than club gymnastics.”
With her busy gymnastics practice and rigorous academic schedule, Emily must manage her time to ensure that she finishes all of her work on time.
“You just have to not waste your time. You just have to get started on it right away after school, and get as much done as you can,” said Emily.
Emily is also a Senior Girl Scout. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano (which she has been playing since she was 4), creating digital artwork, and playing with her pets.
As for her gymnastics career, Emily hopes to continue competing in gymnastics throughout college.
“I hope to qualify for nationals this year,” Emily said.
By Joohan Kim
The Boys’ Varsity Water Polo team demolished San Marino, 15-10, at San Marino High School on Thursday, November 3. With this victory, the La Cañada Spartans won the Rio Hondo League title, which hasn’t been won by the Spartans for nine years.
“The win was well deserved. After last year’s season, we rallied to do better than 4th place in league. There was no doubt in our minds that we would win,” said senior captain Toby Chung.
The water polo team boasts a very impressive 9-1 league record. Through lots of hard work, practice, and drills, the team has improved immensely. They definitely deserve all of the credit they receive from earnest supporters and fans.
“We knew Alessio, San Marino’s MVP, was their top player, and we essentially shut him down,” said Toby. “We left their smaller kids to shoot and trusted our defenders to get those blocks.”
Last year’s most valuable player and senior Wyatt Lowe added, “We practiced a lot of plays to force a bad shot from the other team to prevent Alessio from getting the ball. We had a hard time with their defense in the first part of the game. However, as the game went on, we adjusted and took advantage of Alessio’s tiredness.”
The team was especially ecstatic and excited for their future because they had brought home a long-sought victory.
“It feels so great to win a title. We worked hard all summer and, clearly, it paid off. Each and every member on our varsity team contributed,” Wyatt said.
Because the team won the league, they are automatically included in the CIF tournament.
“This is the last tournament we have together, and it is our last challenge. We hope to do well this next week as we were placed 2nd in our division. Every game might be the last high school game our seniors will play, so I believe we will all play like it is our last,” said Wyatt.
Water polo--like many other sports--requires motivation to be victorious.
“Since we are the only remaining CIF Fall sport at La Canada, we feel that other teams should look up to us,” said sophomore Robbie Louk. “We also have many phrases that we preach to each other such as: ‘In the Trenches’”
The Boys’ Varsity team’s ultimate goal is to win the CIF tournament and show everyone that they have what it takes. “There is no need to get cocky and look to0 far in advance when we are now in the knockout round,” Robbie said.
The Spartans, who are ranked second in CIF Southern Section Division V, are now going to move on to the playoffs, which will begin on Tuesday November 15th, with postseason pairings due to be announced on Saturday. Please come and support the team as they all look to move on to the next level.
By Demelza McElrath
Though he seems like a typical LCHS student, Thomas Raney is an amazing athlete who competes in triathlons. Senior Thomas Raney has been competing in triathlons for two years, and at his most recent competition, he won a silver medal. A triathlon is an endurance competition, and it consists of three continuous events: swimming, cycling, and running. Raney started racing in Junior Elite this summer, and he qualified for the Junior National Championships. Although he says he’s not good enough to be a pro or to participate in the Olympics, Raney is an elite ranked 58th in the United States, which proves that he is accomplished already.
When asked about the competition, Raney replied, “I love competing because I truly find enjoyment in swimming, cycling and running; it is very difficult, but it is very rewarding.”
Raney, besides swimming with the LCHS team, trains with a private coach, using an application called TrainingPeaks. “After I do the workout I send [my coach] my data from that workout and he analyzes it and plans the best workouts to get me ready for race day,” said Raney concerning his training process. Despite a current injury, Raney still continues his intensive trainings.
“I knew that [Raney] was not only advanced but also skilled because of his performance. I would say he’s passionate, and he has ambition to succeed. His ambition is beyond just doing something [...] I think he has an inner desire,” said Mr. Redmond, Raney’s former teacher and fellow competitor.
In terms of Raney’s motivation, Mr. Redmond also commented, “I have always liked endurance sports. I like the idea of having to push your body and mind to the absolute limit of what you think is possible and then going beyond that [...] and to me that’s what sports in general is really about.”
Raney further encouraged students to challenge themselves in triathlons, saying, “The beauty of triathlon is that anyone can do it, no matter how old you are or what body type, and it is never too late to start. At local races there are 80+ year olds who compete against 10 year olds and every age in between.”
When Raney isn’t training, he likes watching YouTube, sleeping, eating or preparing healthy food, and travelling, like a normal teenager. All around, Raney is an incredible athlete, but also a typical student who has goals and passions to pursue.
By Scarlet Kim
La Cañada High School’s quest to find a new golf coach came to an end as physical education teacher Mr. Ballard stepped up for the job. Busy preparing the team for the upcoming season, Mr. Ballard is often spotted at the golf ranges.
Before becoming the new coach, Mr. Ballard dedicated 24 years working in LCHS, so he brings prior experience to his new position.
“I have spent two years as an assistant coach for girls’ varsity golf and another year for boys’ golf,” commented Mr. Ballard.
Mr. Ballard started his golf career when he was 12 years old, and these many years prove that he is an experienced coach. He has several goals and expectations for this year’s girls’ golf team.
“As a coach, I have to know everyone. I must know their skills and their weaknesses. Observing them, though, I see that there is a lot of talent and passion in the girls. We have a very good chance of being competitive, and this year will be perfect,” said Mr. Ballard.
To achieve success in the sport, Mr. Ballard emphasized his philosophy: short but intensive practices. “Short intense practices make our life in better balance.” Mr. Ballard also stressed the role of a coach, saying, “But the most important thing, above everything else, is that the coach needs to know the strength of each player and focus on them individually.”
Besides this, Mr. Ballard demands active cooperation from the girls to make a passionate team. He prioritizes team spirit and unity among the girls. Mr. Ballard noted, “I want to keep up their enthusiasm. Players should be hard workers in both the athletic and the academic realm. I want them to create a good reputation.”
With a more cooperative coach, there is no doubt that this year’s golf team will have a successful year filled with many victories.
By Joohan Kim
The Boys’ Varsity Water Polo team has been preparing diligently for the season ahead. Under the guidance of Coach Josh Rodriguez and captains Toby Chung and Luke Stefan, the team hopes to improve their overall record, 6-16, from last year.
The atmosphere of the pool is always one of passionate intensity. All of the players participate in practices as if they are real scrimmages. They hold specialized practices to work on their techniques and put emphasis on team chemistry. Most importantly, the team is constantly looking for ways to improve.
“We started practicing right away over the summer, getting prepared for league and CIF, which is our bigger goal,” said Toby. “I feel we are very prepared. We have been training vigorously all summer, and I believe we are the most conditioned team in our league.”
When asked which school is the biggest challenge to defeat or play against, Toby responded, “Like previous years, South Pasadena will be our greatest challenge, but I have a strong feeling we can shut them down this year.”
Water polo--like many other sports--requires excellent team chemistry. In order to be victorious, the players have to work cohesively through passes and blocks.
“The chip on my shoulder to beat South Pasadena and win CIF thrills me,” said Toby. “Knowing my other teammates always motivates me as well.”
Water polo has become an integral part of several of the players’ daily routines.
Last year’s most valuable player and senior Wyatt Lowe added, “I’ve been going to water polo practices since I was in 3rd grade. Water polo has become part of my life, so although some people may say water polo is very demanding sport, I can confidently say that I’m in great shape because I’m used to this routine.”
There are several talented players on the team, but one sophomore in particular has caught the eye of the more seasoned players.
“I’m really looking forward to this season. It will definitely be an exciting time,” said sophomore Robbie Louk.
Their first home game of the season is scheduled on September 15th against Burroughs High School. Please come and support the team at 3:30 so that they can continue through season with great confidence.
By Scarlet Kim
On the first match of the Girls’ Golf team, sophomore Emilee Herrmann scored a hole-in-one, making a new historical record in LCHS sports history. For her brilliant achievement, she was honored with a golden trophy. When I met with her, she replied to several questions:
Q: How did you feel when you made a hole-in-one?
I was happy, excited, and surprised all at once, but I didn’t really show any emotion because I had a couple more holes to focus on. Since golf is a mental game, it’s always about the next hole or the next shot and not about the shot you just made.
Q: Did you have any specific goals for the game you had?
I had a couple goals for that game, which was our first one of the season. Some of the goals I had was to start off the season with a good score and just relax and have fun.
Q: Are there any specific ways you practice?
I practice differently for each game or day. For games, I just try to go to the driving range, and I start off hitting the clubs [that] I will be hitting off of each t-box. Then, I go putt and chip because I think it’s the most important part of the game.
Q: What are your expectations for future games?
My expectations for future games are getting a better score and making another hole-in-one. But, my final goal is to participate in the CIF finals!
She modestly added, “I wouldn’t have made it without my teammates and Coach Ballard. I am very thankful to everyone who congratulated me, and it was a great experience overall.”
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LA CANADA, PROUD AND GRAND. ALMA MATER SHALL FOREVER STAND.