Last week San Gabriel Valley hosted its annual Senior All-Star Baseball game, during which seniors from schools in the San Gabriel Valley are invited to congregate on the Mt. SAC baseball field to play a friendly game of baseball to wrap up the season. This year's game was special for Poly’s former baseball coach, Wayne Ellis as the game also marked his induction into the San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame. Ellis had a very successful coaching career, winning the Prep League championship title 25 of his 27 years coaching at Poly and holding a state record of 19 consecutive years as league champs. He stepped down as coach in 2014, with a career record of 470-143-4 (0.766), 252-36 at home, 25 Prep League titles, and the 2011 CIF-SS Division 6 championship, as well as being named Coach of the Year. To celebrate this momentus event, Ellis was asked to throw out the first pitch, caught by senior All-Star Matthew Queen.
This Sunday, Poly’s winter fencing team will compete in the D and Under Foil USFA Tournament at the Gryphon Fencing Studio. This tournament will mark the conclusion of the winter fencing season. “The Varsity and Junior Varsity fencers will be competing in a United States Fencing Association individual foil tournament on Sunday. The young team will gain valuable competitive experience as they concentrate on analyzing opponents' attacks and defensive moves and on devising strategies to counter them," shares Coach Laura Holmgren. "While the event is an individual one, each pool will have at least two Poly fencers in it who will help strip coach one another and discuss their observations of the other competitors. In addition, more experienced fencers will be paired with novices to strip coach in the direct elimination bouts.Poly is looking to place three fencers in the top 16 of the men's event and two girls in the top eight of the women's event.”
One of Poly’s more unique teams is the equestrian team. This year, the team is composed of six student-athletes who will compete in a total of four competitions during this school year. The specialness of this team is due in part to the fact that its members are not only from the high school, but there are also two from eighth grade as well. In addition, their season spans the entire school year, not just the traditional sports seasons. All of the Interscholastic Equestrian League competitions are held at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center. The most recent competition was Jan. 14. They have one more lined up on April 15 to wrap up the 2017-18 season.
As the Upper School student-athletes are in the middle of semester exams, the spotlight turns to Poly’s Middle School teams. Yesterday marked the beginning of the new Middle School season as boys soccer and girls basketball took to the fields and the courts. The boys soccer teams opened their season hosting the Eagles from High Point Academy. Both seventh and eighth grade teams shut out their opponents 2-0 and 4-0. The girls basketball teams opened their season on the road against High Point, where they also took home the win. Today Poly faces Flintridge Prep in both sports for both levels. The eighth grade A boys soccer team plays on Babcock field at 3 p.m., with the seventh grade B team to follow. The eighth grade A girls basketball team travels to La Cañada, where they play at Flintridge at 3 p.m. with the seventh grade B team to follow. Upper School sports resume next week. Check the Athletic Calendar for details.
The winter break proved to be helpful for Poly’s sports. Last week, the Panthers had a perfect week, having not dropped a single game. All levels in all of our sports competed last week; many of them were Prep league opponents. It did not matter whether the game was home or away, the Panthers walked away without a loss. For the full list of games played, visit the Athletic Calendar.
While many of us were putting away the holiday decorations and coming back from vacations, the Poly Varsity boys basketball team was already in the gym preparing for the Huntington Park Invitational tournament. The tournament ran from Jan. 3-6. Poly was coincidentally placed in the Orange division, which consisted of 14 schools, most of which have much larger enrollment numbers from the Los Angeles City section. However that did not affect the Panthers.
In pool play, Poly went 2-0, beating Nogales High School 52-49 and Diego Rivera High School 62-50, earning them a spot in the semi-finals. There they faced Edgewood High School and came out on top, beating the Lions 60-40. The finals proved to be much tougher. The Panthers took on the Jaguars from Mendez High School from Boyle Heights. The Jaguars took an early lead and maintained the lead for most of the game. The Panthers found themselves with a 16-point deficit early in the third quarter. This did not discourage them. Poly dug deep and slowly chipped away at the lead, fighting hard and proving their resilience and tenacity. It came down to the last few seconds of the game. Senior Graham Olson made two free throws giving Poly a one-point lead. Senior Jackson Hayes sealed the deal making his two free throws at the very end of the game earning Poly the win over the Jaguars 57-54. Hayes was named to the All-Tournament team, and sophomore Nick Richard-Craven was named tournament MVP.
This win gives the Panthers great momentum as they start league play. Poly opens up league by hosting Rio Hondo Prep today at 6:30 p.m. Check out the Athletic Calendar for details and a full schedule of games this week.