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Success of Fall Sports Teams

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Caelan Fraschetti

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Success of Fall Sports Teams

Xavier Saints vs. La Quinta. Jack Howard (#72), Martin Martinez (#22), Julian Herrera (#52), and Abraham Torres (#56). Photo by @terrycervellophotography.com

Xavier Saints vs. La Quinta. Jack Howard (#72), Martin Martinez (#22), Julian Herrera (#52), and Abraham Torres (#56). Photo by @terrycervellophotography.com

Xavier Saints vs. La Quinta. Jack Howard (#72), Martin Martinez (#22), Julian Herrera (#52), and Abraham Torres (#56). Photo by @terrycervellophotography.com

Xavier Saints vs. La Quinta. Jack Howard (#72), Martin Martinez (#22), Julian Herrera (#52), and Abraham Torres (#56). Photo by @terrycervellophotography.com

The 2018 Fall sports season was Xavier’s most successful. The Football team made it to the CIF semifinals for the first time in our school’s history, Cross Country made it to CIF State for another consecutive year, Boys Water Polo captured the league title over La Quinta, and Girls Volleyball made it three rounds into the playoffs!

Xavier vs Saint Monica. Juan Lua (#4), Logan Peszko (#10), and Daniel Martinez (#43). Photo by @terrycervellophotography.com

This is Coach James Dockery’s second year with the Xavier Football program, but already the team has broken numerous Xavier records, including making it all the way to semi-finals against Linfield Christian. When asked to comment on the team’s success, Coach Dockery said: “The team’s driving force was to be successful, to make history.” Each player had the mental strength and confidence that as a team, they could beat La Quinta and make it to the playoffs. Not only did they strive for success, but “everybody relied on each other,” said Tommy Branconier. Bazil Martinez commented that “we have become a brotherhood on and off the field.”

Xavier vs Banning CIF Playoffs, players observing the pledge before the game. Photo by @terrycervellophotography.com

The biggest difference this year from previous years was comradery. They had their minds set on achieving victory, and they knew they could do it through one another. Their bond was also strengthened greatly by the accident which included football players Kai Killebrew and Matthew Shupp. Of the comeback game against Rancho Mirage, Logan Peszko said “When we came back out on Monday, we were all feeling grief, and we were super flat. Then coach came out and said, ‘What would Kai and Jay and Shupp want?  They’d want us to fight.’ And that’s what we did.” By playing with a team mentality, they were able to rise in the ranks, and show the valley that the Xavier Saints are a force to be reckoned with!

All Cross Country runners at Xavier are focused on and led by three key principles: consistency, commitment, and intentionality. According to Coach Aron Lyons, when the runners adhere to these principles, “our goals are always attained.” The team moved on to CIF State in Fresno, a great feat that has been accomplished annually since 2008 marking the 12th straight year Xavier represented at the CIF State Finals. While Lyons “would have liked a little better placement at State,” he commented that “with the turnover with new athletes, the season was very successful.”

Xavier Cross Country team DEL Finals. Photo by Ruben Garcia.

Senior Cross Country runner, Patrick Trubee, has been with the program since his Freshman year. Trubee noted that “the team was very dedicated, but we lost more people than we should’ve due to grades or injury.” Despite these losses, the Cross Country team continues to exhibit strong effort, sportsmanship, and a drive for continual self-improvement. In his closing remarks, Coach Lyons said “I am always proud of my athletes for doing such a great job in a sport that is exceptionally difficult. I am astonished and humbled by the support we have from the Xavier community at large.”

If there was anything the Boys Water Polo Saints sought to change this year, it was making sure they didn’t finish second. “In the past, we finished second all the time. They [the players] had the attitude that this is their year to take first. I don’t like losing, and it leaves a bad taste in their mouths,” said Coach Pavol Valovic. This goal was achieved, with Water Polo seizing the league title over La Quinta in a 12-10 match. Their drive for first led them to victory by uniting the team and bringing them even closer together than in previous seasons. Senior Kyle Cenicola said “Every year, we have fallen short and came second in final games. This year especially, we wanted it. This built up so much motivation that we would do anything for each other.”

While it would be safe to assume that their victory against La Quinta was their most successful, Coach Valovic believes it was actually the semi-finals against Palm Springs. While the match started out rocky, Valovic commented: “We were able to come back in the fourth when it really mattered.” Where most would have faltered, Xavier’s Boys Water Polo was able to bring the match back by working as a solid team. As a testament to this teamwork, Cenicola said of his team, “I love you all. You guys have brought so many fun, and dumb memories that I will never forget.”

Girls Volleyball has consistently risen to the top, and this year was no exception. After being crowned DEL champions, they made it four rounds into the State Playoffs. The team blazed a trail past Valley Christian, Elsinore, and Downey, before they were defeated by Quartz Hill. Senior Teti Omilana believes “This was the best team dynamic we’ve ever had. We were always having fun, losing or winning.” Much like Boys Water Polo, the Girls Volleyball team was driven by their deeply-rooted friendships, and a desire to be better than they were before. These friendships developed over time. Seniors Jenna Braun, Kelsey Grijalva, Teti Omilana, and Jillian Whitcomb have been together since Freshman year, growing together as individuals and as a team. Coach Natalie Allen doesn’t want to negate the success of the previous year, but she did state that “the last couple years have been building up to this.” 2018 was not just a successful season, but a culmination of the success of previous seasons.

Varsity Volleyball vs Palm Desert. (left to right) Jenna Braun (#9), Teti Omilana (#6), Kelsey Grijalva (#8), Golden Hinchen (#10), Hannah Sloan (#22), and Sophia Callahan (#13). Photo by @terrycervellophotography.com

The Girls Volleyball team, like many of our other teams, is extremely supportive of their Xavier community. An example of this is the Dig Pink and Gold game, hosted in support of Riley Rose. Omilana commented that this game “was our most successful. We had all of our friends and family there to support.” It is events like this that speak not only to the athletic prowess of our Xavier Saints, but also their character.

While the Girls Golf and Girls Tennis teams did not achieve the same levels of success as other teams, it is still important to recognize their effort and contribution to the Xavier community. All of our athletes give their time that they could spend on homework, or simply relaxing, to their sports. This is a commitment that many people are not capable of. It is also important to note that, like with Girls Volleyball, a team’s success is a culmination of previous years. With time and practice, it is only a matter of time before these teams grasp DEL championships.

A big thanks to our Fall sports athletes. The community is very grateful for how graciously you represent Xavier. To our Winter and Spring athletes, good luck, and we can not wait to observe your future successes! Go Saints!

 

Works Cited:

Dockery, James. Personal Interview. 11 December 2018.

Trubee, Patrick. Personal Interview. 10 December 2018.

Martinez, Bazil. Personal Interview. 11 December 2018.

Cenicola, Kyle. Personal Interview. 7 December 2018.

Valovic, Pavol. Personal Interview. 8 December 2018.

Omilana, Teti. Personal Interview. 11 December 2018.

Lyons, Aron. Personal Interview. 11 December 2018.

Allen, Natalie. Personal Interview. 11 December 2018.

Branconier, Tommy. Personal Interview. 18 November 2018.

Spicer, Judd. “Xavier Prep Secures Emotional Comeback Victory for Teammates Injured in Car Crash.” Desert Sun, The Desert Sun, 6 October 2018, www.desertsun.com/story/sports/high-school/football/2018/10/05/xavier-prep-secures-emotional-comeback-victory-teammates-injured-car-crash/1522876002/.

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About the Writer
Caelan Fraschetti, Writer

I am a senior at Xavier this year. I enjoy ceramics and writing. My favorite place in the world is the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. I have two younger...

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Success of Fall Sports Teams