Sharks fail to come back against first-half goal against Warriors

A Malibu player sprints up the field during the match against the Carpenteria Warriors on Friday, Jan. 22 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

A Malibu player sprints up the field during the match against the Carpenteria Warriors on Friday, Jan. 22 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

The Malibu High School boys soccer team suffered a close 1-0 loss to the Carpenteria Warriors on Friday, Jan. 23, at home.

After diving for two first-half saves, freshman goal keeper Henry Katleman let a shot by the Warriors slip right past his fingers in the 51st minute. Carpenteria did not relinquish the lead.

“It was a very quick turn, a very quick shot from a very acute angle,” coach Julian Wright said of Carpenteria’s only goal. “Normally those are stopped, but if you don’t see them coming, it’s a great shot. Hats off to the kid for getting the shot off.”

The Sharks are now 2-2 in league, and have been dealing with some injuries so far this season.

Their star senior goalkeeper Max Watkin has been out with a torn meniscus for the entire year, and senior midfielder Toren Norris broke his ankle the day before the match against Carpenteria.

The team is making due with Katleman, and Wright said the coaches are happy with him.

“I’d be lying if I said he was ready in the beginning to play for Max,” Wright said. “But he has listened, he’s learned, he’s worked hard.”

Senior center back Jake Nokes has been impressed with his teammates who have shouldered the load of Malibu’s fallen comrades.

“We tried to put players there that still have experience, and they’ve really shown that they deserve to be on the pitch,” Nokes said.

Despite their hurt players, the Sharks have had good showings in recent games against the Nordhoff Rangers and the Santa Paula Cardinals, who were undefeated before losing to Malibu, 1-0, on Wednesday, Jan. 21.

“It’s been a tough week, but the boys have done well,” Wright said.

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Wright wants the Sharks to find a silver lining as they go forward in the season, and make the best out of the injuries.

“They just need to stay positive, keep knocking the ball around, keep believing in each other,” Wright said. “It’s very easy to get down when you’ve got these types of injuries happening to key players.”

Wright said the team can still improve some of the mental aspects of its game.

“A lot of this game is mental,” Wright said. “So as long as the boys stay strong mentally, we’ll be fine. So far, they’ve done that.”

In the 27th minute on Friday, the sprinklers spontaneously turned on, stopping the game for almost 15 minutes.

When the water was shut off, the crowed cheered and clapped in approval.

“To be perfectly honest, I’d have to say it messed up Carpenteria’s rhythm,” Wright said of the surprise occurrence. “The sprinklers actually have us a chance to make some adjustments.”

The Sharks will take a road trip to Santa Barbara to take on the Bishop Diego Cardinals on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

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Children learn ins, outs of robotics at Malibu Library

Children tinkered with batteries, motors, wires and other materials Saturday, Jan. 24, during a robotics workshop at the Malibu Library.

About 12 children attended, along with their parents, and were guided through a step-by-step process on how to create their own robot using recycled materials such as cardboard, strawberry baskets and red plastic cups.

“This is one of the only opportunities that isn’t fee-based for the kids to learn where art and science meet,” said Jennifer Arnett, the mother of two children who participated in the workshop.

The event was hosted by MakerGuilds, a Culver City-based company that encourages children to create and work with their hands.

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Sharks put up big points, take down Wildcats 71-35

The Malibu High School boys basketball team continues to roll through the Frontier League.

The Sharks stayed undefeated in league and dismantled the Villanova Prep Wildcats, 71-35, on Friday, Jan. 16, behind an impressive defensive effort.

Senior point guard Jordan Newt led the Sharks in scoring with 20 points, while junior guard Cordell Newton contributed 18 points and sophomore guard Cade McMillin had 10 points.

MHS forced 30 turnovers, which led to easy points in transition off of layups.

Coach Richard Harris said the team’s defensive intensity has been a positive so far this season.

“I think it’s taken a toll on players,” Harris said about Malibu’s defense. “I think they start to fold from so much pressure.”

The Sharks got out of the gate early, scoring the first eight points of the game. Newt gave Malibu a double-digit lead with a fadeaway jumper.

The Malibu defense forced a 10-second violation on Villanova to start the second quarter, which set the tone for the rest of the game. The turnover ignited a 21-6 run, and the Sharks went into halftime leading 37-16. The Sharks never looked back.

“For some reason, we decided to come out with more intensity than we ever did just to show the league and to show all these other teams that we mean business,” Newton said. “We’re not gonna take anyone lightly.”

Harris said he constantly changes defensive looks to keep opposing teams guessing.

“If you let people get comfortable and complacent, they’ll find weaknesses against the defense,” Harris said.

The win puts Malibu at first place in league play with a record of 5-0. Newton credits the team’s stellar play to the MHS coaching staff.

“The coaches tell us what we can do, they tell us what we think we can’t do and they make it happen,” Newton said. “We wouldn’t be anywhere without our coaches.”

Harris said the team’s success has been due to every player being ready to contribute when they enter the game. He singled out the McMillin brothers, Cade and Nate, as “silent assassins.”

“They are guys who are always in the right place at the right time, they give a lot of defensive intensity, they rebound, they get steals, and they make open and easy shots,” Harris said.

Newt said the team has been struggling to shoot the ball at its home gym in recent games, a point with which Harris agreed.

Harris suggested Malibu would be even more dangerous once it improves its shooting percentage.

“We’re still winning by 40 and 35, and we’re not shooting well,” Harris said. “So once we start shooting well, we’re gonna be able to expand that lead a little bit more.”

Villanova was a team that scared Harris coming in to Friday. He was surprised the Sharks came away with a blowout win.

“I thought it would be tougher,” Harris said.

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Boys soccer learns lessons from 3-0 home loss

The Malibu High School boys soccer team were shut out 3-0 by the Animo Leadership Aztec Eagles on Thursday, Jan. 8.

Senior midfielder Toren Norris pointed to lapses in effort and communication as causes for the loss.

“We really didn’t have much chemistry coming out from the back to the midfield, and some people just didn’t have heart,” Norris said. “We played as a team sometimes, but never could break through.”

Malibu fell behind in the 18th minute when freshman goal keeper Henry Katleman found himself one on one with an Animo player. Katleman stepped up to cut off the angle of the shot, but was deked by the offense, which scored easily.

The Sharks had an opportunity to tie the game in the 38th minute, but the shot missed just to the left of the goal. By the end of the first half, Malibu was already down 2-0.

Katleman suggested the team had trouble stopping the attacks of the Aztec Eagles.

“They were getting through our defense,” Katleman said. “Our back line wasn’t staying too strong.”

Malibu had a better showing in the second half. In the 42nd minute, it had on opportunity at the goal via a corner kick, but the offense’s header flew over the goal post.

Soon after, the ball was kicked ahead and an Animo player ran it down, faked Katleman and tapped in the ball for a 3-0 lead.

Head coach Julian Wright didn’t think Malibu’s lack of defense at the goal was Katleman’s fault.

“There’s 10 players in front of the keeper, so if they’re getting to the keeper, obviously there’s 10 players in front that could be doing something about that,” Wright said.

Wright said the match against the Aztec Eagles will help the team move forward.

“The boys get a clear look at themselves before that, they know what kind of shape they’re in, they know what they need to work on tactically and technically,” Wright said. “It’s very good. We know exactly what we need to work on, and that’s perfect going into league.”

Wright said the lack of communication could have been because the coaches were experimenting on the field.

“We tried players in new positions, we pulled players up from JV,” Wright said. “So it’s going to be tough for players, specifically [with] communication, when they’re playing in new formations with new players.”

Norris said the loss was good for the team.

“I think it’s a lesson learned,” Norris said. “But I think that if we just come out fighting the next game, then we’ll be all good coming into league.”

The Sharks start league play on Wednesday, Jan. 14, against the Nordhoff Rangers.

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SMMUSD board seeks to fill empty seat Jan. 15

Applications for an empty seat on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education are submitted, the interested candidates were by a subcommittee on Jan. 5, and their eligibility determined after press time.

The seat was vacated by Ben Allen, who was elected to the California State Senate on Nov. 4. Allen then resigned his position on the SMMUSD board, starting a 60-day clock to fill the hole on the board.

The six members currently on the board will vote for Allen’s replacement on Jan. 15 in a public meeting.
Board member Craig Foster of Malibu said he’s looking for a candidate that has the interest of the Santa Monica and Malibu students in mind.

“Clearly, I’m going to be looking for somebody who shares that vision that we need to make every decision focused on what’s best for the kids,” Foster said.

A total of 11 candidates submitted applications for the open school board seat. Three of those candidates — Patty Finer, Ralph Macher and Dhun May — ran for the school board in the November general election, but lost.

Foster said electing one of those three candidates would be “problematic.”

“If the school board is acting on the behalf of the people…I think it would be a big mistake to go against the wishes of the voters and put somebody on who had a chance to be elected and didn’t get elected.”

Finer is putting her hat in the ring for the seat again because she feels she has a place on the board, and was not discouraged by what Foster said.

“Craig’s entitled to his position,” Finer said. “I would like to be on the board, I’d like to try to fix the problem. That’s why I decided to run. If it’s not what the board wants, they’ll make their decision.”

Finer already sits on the Visual and Performing Arts Advisory Board for the school district, a position she said she would keep regardless of the results of her candidacy for the open seat on the board.

Among the issues Finer believes are important to the SMMUSD are possible polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in both city’s schools. PCB is a chemical which has been shown to cause a variety of adverse health effects including cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Finer believes the PCB issue is not on the radar of the school board.

“What the board doesn’t want is me there because they know I’m going to look at that issue and I know we have to address it and they don’t want to,” Finer said. “That could be a problem.”

Another candidate in the running for the open school board seat is Jake Wachtel, a teacher and former tennis coach from Santa Monica who co-founded THREADS, a nonprofit organization that donates clothing to families in need.

Wachtel said he was the only cross-district candidate, and feels his experience in education and media would be valuable to the board.

“What I bring to the school board is an ability to understand budgets, understand the classroom and understand policy,” Wachtel said. “All three of those things are very critical to be an effective board member and something that is very needed at this time.”

The public meeting on Jan. 15 will subject the 11 candidates to questions by each of the six board members.

“On the one hand, it’s great that we have all that transparency, it’s great that we have so many people applying,” Foster said. “On the other, these people have a lot of guts to submit themselves to this level of public scrutiny. It’s a brave thing that each of them are doing.”

Foster said the appointment will likely be made that night or soon thereafter.

The main issue facing the school board is the notion of separating Santa Monica and Malibu into their own independent districts, Foster said. The issue has been a point of contention for the past four years.

“I think the best thing that the school district can do to help Malibu schools would be to continue the process that’s in place to put together the thorough understanding of what the two districts would look like independently and…move forward to create those two independent school districts,” Foster said.

Foster is president of the Advocates for Malibu Public Schools, an organization that is working on separating the two school districts.

Finer said she would support separating the districts, but only if it was economically feasible.

“You need to make sure if Malibu wants to be its own school district, it’s strong enough to stand on its own two feet,” Finer said. “I don’t think the numbers are there.”

If the board members do not agree on a candidate during the meeting, they would be forced to try again in a few days, Foster said. If no one is selected after the second vote, a special election would then occur, which Foster said would cost anywhere between $200,000 to $1 million.

“My first choice would be to let the voters decide this,” Foster said. “But it’s really expensive to do that. And that’s money we’re taking directly out of the students’ education.”

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