MHS’s Pietrzyk, Blackwood gain medals in league races

Malibu High School senior Caroline  advanced to the CIF Southern Section Track Masters meet and earned her third Division IV championship on Saturday, May 23.

Pietrzyk ran the 3,200-meter race in tandem with athletes from Division I high schools and finished third overall in the heat. Her time of 10 minutes, 35.30 seconds was over three ticks faster than her performance in last year’s CIF-SS finals.

“I love being in these kinds of races where there’s a whole bunch of people there pushing you and everybody’s in the stands cheering for you,” Pietryzk said. “It’s just amazing. I love it.”

Sophomore Abby Blackwood also competed in the 3,200-meter race. She finished sixth among Division IV athletes, earning her a medal.

Blackwood said three days before the finals that her goal was just to run a good race. She ended up exceeding her expectations, but was disappointed in her performance because she got tired after starting the race too fast.

“Overall, I has happy that I medaled, but I was just kind of frustrated because I should’ve been smarter about my race,” Blackwood said.

In the home stretch of her last lap, Blackwood turned on the jets and passed a runner 10 yards in front, securing the medal and her place in the division.

Pietryzk was proud of her running mate, and said Blackwood’s year reminders her of her own freshman year where she finished seventh in the same event.

“For her to get a medal, it’s amazing,” Pietrzyk said of Blackwood. “She should be so proud of herself. It’s so cool to have a teammate here to race with.”

Junior Madeline Ward competed in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 50.81 seconds. She finished second to last in her heat and was upset after the race.

“I think I got a little discouraged at the end because I went over the first couple of hurdles bad,” Ward said. “There was a strong headwind and my blocks weren’t quite right. So I just had a bad start and I think it got to me a little more than it should have.”

Ward battled calf and back injuries throughout the season, but achieved personal records toward the end of the year to qualify for the CIF-SS finals.

“She worked hard all year and came on at the end of the track season to really just get here,” sprint coach Ray Humphrey said of Ward.

Devin Sarantinos competed in pole vault early in the meet, but was unable to clear the initial height.

The Masters meet will be on Friday, May 29, at Cerritos College. Humphrey said for Pietrzyk to do well, all she has to do is run her race.

“I don’t think there’s anything more Caroline’s going to do expect for do what she does — keeps training hard and being the girl she is,” Humphrey said.

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MHS relay swimmers take talent to CIF

From left: JC Heckman, Logan Hotchkiss, Thelan McKinna-Worrell and Alec Wilimovsky . The four senior swimmers broke two CIF records in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relay on Wednesday, May 13.

From left: JC Heckman, Logan Hotchkiss, Thelan McKinna-Worrell and Alec Wilimovsky . The four senior swimmers broke two CIF records in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relay on Wednesday, May 13.

It was only a matter of time.

As four Malibu High School senior swimmers were gearing up for the CIF-Southern Section prelims, their 200- and 400-meter freestyle relay times were inching ever closer to record-breaking status with each passing meet.

Alec Wilimovsky, Logan Hotchkiss, JC Heckman and Thelen McKinna-Worrell finally broke through in both events on May 13, catapulting the team into the finals the following week where they won second place in Division IV.

McKinna-Worrell anchors the team, which made him the last to touch the pad in both races.

“It felt like I was the one beating the record,” McKinna-Worrell said.

The Sharks recorded a time of 1 minute, 26.30 seconds in the 200-meter race, beating the previous time of 1:28.70, set in 2013 by Temescal Canyon High School. In the 400-meter event, MHS finished with a time of 3:11.67, overtaking the previous record of 3:14.14 set in 2006 by Oaks Christian High School.

The Sharks also won their third straight Frontier League title this year.

Wilimovsky and Hotchkiss have been teammates for their entire high school careers. Heckman and McKinna-Worrell, however, transferred to MHS for their senior year.

The foursome formed a quick bond that extends outside of the pool. Wilimovsky said all of them hang out frequently.

“It just helps with the team dynamic,” Wilimovsky said. “None of us are strangers and we all know if anyone’s having a good day or a bad day. It just helps immensely.”

In addition to swimming, Wilimovsky also ran cross country for MHS and is a triathlete. Coach Mike Mulligan said Wilimovsky’s determination and work ethic are what make him a great athlete.

“He’s like a bulldog,” Mulligan said. “He just gets it in his mind what he wants to accomplish and he goes after it.”

Mulligan considers Hotchkiss the most all-around swimmer on the team and the best to ever come through the high school, and has enjoyed coaching both Wilimovsky and Hotchkiss over the years.

“It’s been a pleasure just to watch them grow and set goals and be able to accomplish them,” Mulligan said. “They have tremendous determination, tremendous self-discipline to get in the water every day for four years.”

Not every boy on the team has roots in swimming. McKinna-Worrell was on track to be a professional surfer but decided to quit. When his mom told him he had to join a sport, he chose swimming because he already felt comfortable in the water and thought he would be good at it.

“It turned out I was a lot better than I thought,” McKinna-Worrell said.

From left: Thelan McKinna-Worrell, Alec Wilimovsky, Logan Hotchkiss and JC Heckman. The four senior swimmers broke two CIF records in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relay on Wednesday, May 13.

From left: Thelan McKinna-Worrell, Alec Wilimovsky, Logan Hotchkiss and JC Heckman. The four senior swimmers broke two CIF records in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relay on Wednesday, May 13.

Heckman was another newcomer to the team this year, although he was on the swim team at his previous high school. While he admits to not getting much practice time with Wilimovsky and Hotchkiss during the year, Heckman said that when it came time for competition, the four were always on the same page.

“Whenever we were at the meets, it felt like we were swimming together for our whole lives,” Heckman said.
Heckman credits the entire team and coaching staff for making him feel comfortable as soon as he arrived at MHS.

“I felt part of the family within the first week or two that I came here,” Heckman said.

Mulligan was disappointed the team came in second at the CIF-SS Finals because he wanted to see the seniors go out on top.
“It would’ve been great for Alec and Logan and all the kids who competed in CIF for them to win a team title,” Mulligan said. “That would’ve been very, very cool.”

The future of the swim team at MHS after this year is a question mark. With seven seniors on the team graduating, Mulligan said some underclassmen are going to have to step up in order to keep the winning tradition of the high school alive.

Mulligan said sophomores Everest Brady and Ben Tran could be the future of Malibu swimming.

“Those two guys, they looked up to the seniors and they really learned a lot of what it takes to be a fast, strong swimmer,” Mulligan said. “They’re just emulating those seniors’ work ethic. Hopefully that will carry through to next year and the underclassmen will look up to those two kids.”

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Stellar defense grants Sharks four more wins

Senior pitcher Andre Simoneau throws a pitch during the game against the Bishop Diego Cardinals on Friday, May 8, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Senior pitcher Andre Simoneau throws a pitch during the game against the Bishop Diego Cardinals on Friday, May 8, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Senior left-handed pitcher Andre Simonaeu threw a shutout game for the Malibu High School baseball team, leading them to a 2-0 victory over the Bishop Diego Cardinals on Friday, May 8. 

Simoneau threw all seven innings for the Sharks, showing all of his best stuff and recording out after out. 

“I was able to spot fastballs on the outside corner, which is what I was mainly going with,” Simoneau said. “And then the changeups kept them from knowing exactly what was coming. So just that juxtaposition of pitches.” 

Malibu has prevailed in four of its last six games. The victory puts the team at 11-12 overall this season, according to MaxPreps. 

Shortstop Dylan Ross said the team’s play has improved because it’s gotten back to basics. 

“We have just started playing more fundamental on defense,” Ross said. “Our pitchers have definitely walked less hitters. We’ve definitely beared down on fundamentals.”

Hunter McMillin slides to home base during the game against the Bishop Diego Cardinals on Friday, May 8, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Hunter McMillin slides to home base during the game against the Bishop Diego Cardinals on Friday, May 8, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Friday’s game saw a lot of good pitching from Simoneau and terrific fielding when any Bishop Diego player managed to make contact with a pitch. The Sharks finally showed some of the “routine defense” coach Ari Jacobs has been clamoring for all season. 

“You play routine defense, you got a chance,” Jacobs said. “You don’t play routine defense, you give teams four of five outs in an inning, they’re going to score a lot of runs.” 

One example of Malibu’s stellar defense was in the top of the third inning when Bishop Diego hit a shot past the Malibu first baseman. Ross slid to the floor, made the catch, gathered himself and threw a bouncer to first, which earned the Sharks a third out.

The Sharks got going offensively in the second inning with a base hit from Hunter McMillin. Then catcher Rocky Morris spliced a double down the third-base line, advancing McMillin to third. 

A sacrifice fly drove in McMillin, who slid and extended his hand for a score. 

In the bottom of the third, Ezra Allen used another sacrifice fly to drive in Dylan Ross, giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish. 

Malibu’s last two regular-season games are against the Carpinteria Warriors, the last being on Friday, May 15 at home. The Sharks and the Warriors have identical records in the Tri-Valley league at 4-6. 

Ross said the Sharks have to play good baseball in order the beat the Warriors. 

“They’re a very fundamental team,” Ross said. “Usually it’s a low-scoring game whenever we play them, so we really have to kind of bear down and throw strikes.” 

Ezra Allen prepares to swing at a pitch during the game against the Bishop Diego Cardinals on Friday, May 8, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Ezra Allen prepares to swing at a pitch during the game against the Bishop Diego Cardinals on Friday, May 8, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

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Lacrosse sends seniors off with victory on Senior Night

Senior Ethan Krase was emotional after Friday night’s game against the Viewpoint Patriots. His Malibu Sharks had just won, 15-9, on Senior Night, and it was the last time he’d play lacrosse for Malibu High School.

“It’s very emotional for me,” Krase said. “I’m a senior. I played all four years of my lacrosse career up here. It means a lot to win our last game.”

It was the final game of the year for the Sharks, and the victory put their overall record at 4-8.

Finn Gesner led the team with four goals, while Alex Averna and Winston Churchill each chipped in two. Kenny Averna had four assists, and Noah Gorelick picked up eight ground balls.

Malibu started the game strong, scoring goals with reckless abandon. The second goal of the first quarter came when Churchill ran down the right side of the field, beating all the defenders in front of him and bouncing the ball off the floor for a goal.

The Sharks ended the quarter with a 7-1 lead.

“A lot of selfless offense,” said Churchill, who will be attending San Diego State University next year. “Just trying to get your teammates to score, helping them out and not just trying to take it by yourself the whole time. It was really helpful.”

The Patriots were more aggressive on offense in the second quarter, going on a 4-1 run to cut their deficit to only three at halftime. Malibu’s crisp passing and sharp decision-making weren’t present in the quarter, which led to them only scoring one goal.

The Sharks offense began clicking again in the third, scoring three points in the first three minutes of the frame. In one play, the ball zipped beautifully between four players and culminated in a goal.

Coach Mark DeOliveira said the team implemented a new scheme in practice to deal with the Patriots’ zone defense.

“The kids were not selfish on the field,” DeOliveira said. “They were looking for their next pass to their teammate. When you do that, it opens everything up, especially against a zone.”

Malibu’s defense stifled Viewpoint’s offense for much of the night. The Patriots’ goals for the most part came several minutes apart.

“Just as we play team offense, we play team defense very well,” DeOliveira said. “We communicated very well. We remembered their personnel from last time, so we kind of knew their go-to players. We knew what they kind of wanted to do, and we executed well as a unit.”

DeOliveira said it was a good feeling for the team to win in front of the fans at the high school.

“To do it in front of the home crowd, under the lights, for the seniors —which comprised the majority of our team — was great to see,” DeOlivera said.

Even though it was the last game of the year for Krase, he will have fond memories of his time at Malibu High School.

“I’ll always be a Malibu Shark,” he said.

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Boy’s Golf: Improvement continues for Sharks

Malibu High School freshman Josh McConnell shot his lowest score of the season on Thursday, April 23, finishing with 104 strokes at the golf tournament at Olivas Links Golf Course.

Coach Cindy McConnell said Josh was struggling with this swing earlier that week, but found ways to improve it for Thursday’s match. She also said his short game and chipping were the best part of his performance.

“He’s also been working hard on his short game, and that definitely showed [on Thursday],” Cindy said.
The golf team’s roster increased to five players on Thursday with the addition of freshman Keaton Osbourne. He was previously ineligible to play, Cindy said.

Osbourne’s debut came with a score of 99, and he shot three strokes better in the back nine compared to the front.

“He has played quite a bit in the past, but not much of recent years,” Cindy said. “So he’s kind of getting back into the game.”

Cindy said she noticed that during practice, Osbourne has a tendency to lose focus. But when she saw him compete in his first match, it was a different story.

“In the match, he was more focused on his shots and his game,” she said. “I would call that his strength [on Thursday].”

Three of the four Malibu players who competed each had one birdie in their rounds of 18.

Freshman Quincy Allen and sophomore Daniel Haines continued their stellar play in Frontier League competition. Allen tied for first place at Thursday’s tournament with a score of 81, and still leads the league in stroke average.

Haines shot an 87, putting him at third place overall in the tournament. But with a stroke average of 86, Haines is second in the league.

“He had a little bit of trouble with putting but he still kept his position, so that was good,” Cindy said of Haines’ performance.

Josh and Haines worked on putting at the practice green after Thursday’s tournament, Cindy said, but she didn’t seem concerned about Haines’ struggles that day or moving forward.

“It’s the nature of the game,” Cindy said. “Some days you putt really well and some days you don’t. Some days you hit the ball better than other days.”

Cindy said her two best players still have a lot of room for improvement.

“They can improve on all aspects of their game,” she said. “They’re still young and getting better and better.”

The Sharks have one more regular season tournament to play before heading to the CIF playoffs. They will play on Thursday, April 30, at the Mountain View Golf Course in Santa Paula.

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Uneven play extends Sharks’ losing streak

The Malibu High School baseball team floundered in two straight games against the St. Bonaventure Seraphs last week, extending their losing streak to five games.

Malibu’s most recent loss came on Friday, April 17, where it committed a comedy of errors that led to several unearned runs for the Seraphs, and a 13-9 loss for the Sharks.

“We just made too made too many mistakes that we just have to cut down on,” second baseman Dylan Ross said after the game.

The Sharks started the game off strong. In the second inning and down by only one run, five hits led to four runs, giving MHS a 4-1 lead.

But in the top of the third, with two outs, the bases loaded and Bronson Bard pitching, Malibu started to unravel.

St. Bonaventure scored two runs, tying the game at 4, after a bad throw to third base by the Sharks. Then a wild pitch by Bard and a missed throw to first put the Seraphs up 6-4.

Bard threw another wild pitch that went right past catcher Trevor Simonian, who couldn’t find the ball for a few seconds, and a Seraphs runner scored. St. Bonaventure scored two more runs for a 9-4 lead before the Sharks got their third out.

Coach Ari Jacobs was visibly upset after the game while speaking about the team’s struggles this season.

“As a coach, watching us break down on things that we constantly prepare for in practice is very frustrating,” Jacobs said after taking a few seconds to carefully choose his words.

Before Malibu’s next at bat, Jacobs had a short meeting with team, which seemed to spark its offense. Simonian drilled a shot to deep left field and drove in two runs.

Going into the fourth inning, the Sharks were down 9-8 and looking to make a comeback. But St. Bonaventure ran off four runs before Malibu knew what hit them, and sealed the victory before one out was recorded at the top of the fourth.

Despite the losing streak, some players on the team are finding silver linings to their struggles. Bard said the team has grown more mature.

“Less people are throwing their helmets, less people are throwing their gloves” Bard said. “We’re just doing a better job on the small things.”

Jacobs singled out Ross as a bright spot so far this season, and said his second baseman is helping the other members of the team to fight through adversity.

“He is always someone that no matter what happens on the field, when Dylan Ross is on your team, it’s fun to watch him play,” Jacobs said. “He is such a battler and such a hard worker. He’s one of those guys that his adversity is being tested and he is just a champion.”

Ross, who is the captain of the team, is looking for improved play from the rest of the players.

“We’ve got a lot to work on as a team,” Ross said. “We work year-round, so we can play much better than this.”

The Sharks will play two games this week versus the Santa Clara Saints starting on Wednesday, April 22.

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Girls track and field dominates after absent runners return

Senior Carorline Pietrzyk runs ahead of the pack during the track meet on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Senior Carorline Pietrzyk runs ahead of the pack during the track meet on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

The Malibu High School track and field team is complete again, with many of the girls who were away with the soccer team coming back to compete in the meet on Thursday, April 16. 

Eva Conrad and Abby Blackwood were among those who recently returned to the roster, with Blackwood making her debut performance in Thursday’s meet. 

Coach John Cary said the amount of soccer players being away from the team because of invitationals has impacted Malibu’s overall performance this season. 

“That’s why we didn’t have any relay teams,” Cary said. “All our [good] girls, specifically, are in soccer.”

Blackwood competed in both the 800- and 3,200-meter runs on Thursday, placing second in the two events. Senior Caroline Pietrzyk finished first in both runs. 

Blackwood suggested she didn’t mind coming in second to Pietrzyk in the races. 

“It’s not even like I’m racing against her,” Blackwood said. “It’s like I’m racing with her.”

Sophomore Jaime Le, 15, lands in the sand during the long jump event at the track meet on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Sophomore Jaime Le, 15, lands in the sand during the long jump event at the track meet on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

The Sharks totaled nine first-place finishes during the meet, according to the unofficial meet results. Pietrzyk and senior Michaela Cosentino had four of the nine top performances. 

The Sharks have more athletes competing this year compared to last, which has brought up the level of intensity and improvement so far this season, Blackwood said. 

“It’s really cool because we have so much more potential,” Blackwood said. “It’s just really nice to know that a lot of people are getting into track and trying it. I think we’re going to have a really strong team this season.”

Conrad said the younger girls on the team have stood out this year. 

“A lot of them have surprised me by doing so well, even freshman,” Conrad said.

In addition to Pietrzyk’s and Cosentino’s performances, other Sharks also excelled in their respective events. 

Freshman Ella McKinna-Worrell won first place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1 minute, 2.22 seconds, according to the unofficial results. Sophomore Maverick Baglietto finished first in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 18.91 seconds. 

Sophomore Abby Blackwood takes off running during the track meet on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Sophomore Abby Blackwood takes off running during the track meet on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Malibu dominated the field events on Thursday, with Cosentino jumping five feet for a top finish in the high jump event. In the long jump, senior Jenna Weinberger easily won with a distance of 14 feet, eight inches. 

Three Malibu athletes finished in the top three in the triple jump. Freshman Sara Cosentino won the pole fault event with a final height of seven feet, three inches. 

Cary said that while the girls’ team continues to perform well, the boys are a different story. The boys will likely not win league this year because of a collective lack of experience, Cary said. 

“We just don’t have any depth whatsoever in our boys team, because they’re all young,” Cary said.

But Cary is confident the girls will have a chance to come away with a league championship, especially now that the whole team is back together. 

“If all of them do as well as they have done in the past,” Cary said, “there’s no reason why we should not win girls’ varsity.”

Junior Madeleine Ward, 17, prepares to jump over a hurdle during the track meet on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Junior Madeleine Ward, 17, prepares to jump over a hurdle during the track meet on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

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