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Photo courtesy of Glenn Harper CC/BY
Photo courtesy of Glenn Harper CC/BY

Freshman year of high school means new sports, new classes, new teachers, and new people. Ninth graders are beginning to learn that high school and middle school are not in the same ball park. The amount of homework and stress has increased. Those who are not ready may be in for a nasty shock during their first month of high school. Every test, homework, and class work counts. Grades matter now since it will determine life in the future, whether a person earns minimum wage or makes $20 an hour. With this, students try to maintain their grades by balancing out their time between homework and sports, which is more difficult now because sports are not as easy as they were prior to high school.

“High school sports are more competitive [than middle school sports],” freshman Hung Diep said.

Diep is on the avid roster for freshman volleyball. Adapting to the competition level of high schools sports can be challenging. There is a huge gap between the level of high school sports and middle school sports.

High school sports require more skill, strategically and physically. Some sports require athletes to practice five to six days a week during the summer. All high school athletes are expected to be at practice everyday after school in order to put in the work that will help them perform to the best of their abilities when game day comes around. San Gabriel High School does not play to lose, we play to win.

Some sports have games every other day, which can put stress on students’ academics.

“Being in a sport gives people less time to study,” freshman Emily Phu said.

Phu balances cross country and rigorous classes. Some student athletes do not even get home until 8 p.m. from their games, which makes them arrive exhausted and come home to three to four hours of homework that is due the next day. Despite this, some freshmen still find that sports are a good thing to participate in.

“Football has been fun and all,” freshman Jimmy Tiscareno said. “Its been a great experience.”

Even though student athletes put themselves through large amounts of stress and work, it is all worth it because along the way they have built great relationships and bonds with others, some of which might last their whole life.

Sports teams do not just consist of just other student athletes with whom you play with; they are much more than that: family.

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Graphic by Destiny CC/BY
Graphic by Destiny CC/BY

USA Basketball wins gold in the 2014 International Basketball Federation World Cup in Spain, defeating the Serbian team with the score of 129-92 and giving United States another dominating performance in the World Cup.

With the absence of household superstars such as Paul George (out with a compound fracture), Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Kevin Love, there was no distinct commander-in-chief to lead the United States basketball team in Spain.  Some speculated the former MVP Derrick Rose or the three-point specialist from Oakland Stephen Curry to shoot up into the rankings of the captain.

“I think [Curry] played extremely well and shot the ball spectacularly,” junior Boris Huang said.

However, the burden fell upon Houston’s very own James Harden and Cleveland star Kyrie Irving to take control of their teams’ bearings.

Before the tournament began, Team USA was not among the favorites to win the World Cup; it was the Spanish club.  However, the dominating performance against Serbia changed the descriptions among young basketball stars in the United States, who beat all the teams with more than a 23-point margin in the bracket.

The American team first ousted Mexico in the Round of 16 at the score of 86-63, and then they came for the throats of Slovenia at the score of 119-76.  They cruised past the Lithuanians at the score of 96-68 and into the gold match with Serbia.

Irving would evidently take home the MVP trophy for his outstanding performance in the final match-up, hitting a six-for-six three-point shooting and leading the Americans with 26 points.

“He’s a very exceptional player with a lot of talent,” senior Emanuel Rios said. “I think he will become one of the greats.” 

With the Brazil Olympics on the horizon, Team USA would be sure to clinch the ultimate prize for the red, white, and blue.

Photo by Carolina Loaisiga
Photo by Carolina Loaisiga

With starting quarterback senior Anthony Gutierrez unable to play due to a fractured arm, the Matadors took on the San Marino Titans this past Friday, a tough challenge for the early preseason.

The first quarter was a battle between San Gabriel’s defensive line and San Marino’s offensive line, who threatened to score the first touchdown of the night as each minute passed. After 8:41 into the first quarter, the Titans scored an early touchdown to put the score six to nothing, with San Gabriel trailing behind.

Still in the first quarter, San Gabriel’s defense struggled to repress San Marino, ultimately resulting in the Titans’ second touchdown. A large difference between the scores, now 16 to nothing, was beginning to form.

At the end of the first quarter, the scoreboard flashed with an alarming score of 30 to nothing. Despite the huge gap in score, the Matadors persisted and kept fighting.

Throughout the second and third quarter, San Marino managed to score four more touchdowns. However, the Matadors shut down the Titans during the fourth quarter, where San Gabriel even scored a touchdown of their own, which was the result of a spectacular throw from senior David Gonzalez, who substituted for junior Luis Jimenez as quarterback. Unfortunately, the touchdown was overruled by the referees, and it was not counted in the final score.

When the concluding whistle blew, the score was a bleak 0 to 65 loss for San Gabriel, but the Matadors knew in their hearts that they did their best against one of the hardest teams they had to face so far during this season.

Their next home game is this coming Friday against Beverly Hills High School.

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Photo by Carolina Garcia

The crowd was filled with spirited Matadors and supportive parents anxiously awaiting for San Gabriel’s varsity football players to enter the football stadium, initiating the year’s first home game on Friday, Sept. 5.

Even though the game’s final score went 0-35 with a loss for the Matadors, the coaches were left with the satisfaction of improvement from their previous game against Montclair High School.

“We took a step forward,” head football Coach Joe Ledesma said. “[The players] learned a lot from their mistakes which helped them in this game.”

The sweat on their bright red uniforms proved that the players were giving their best attempts to prevent the other team from scoring. They refused to lose any opportunities of turning the game around in their favor. Constant turnovers were accomplished by the Matadors, which prevented the other team from taking the lead any further.

Despite the score on the scoreboard, the amount of effort put out by the football team was incredible. Each player focused on supporting each other and finishing the game with aspiration.

“More of us played with our heart out this game; things came more together compared to last week’s game,” senior Anthony Gutierrez  said.

The speculators were not afraid to show their support towards the team. Drill, Cheer, Choreo, Color Guard and the Marching band were all present at the game, and their shrieks of encouragement could be heard all the way from the P building. Moreover, San Gabriel students showed up to give support and have a great time.

“The first home game was filled with school spirit and I really enjoyed it,” junior Ivy Leao said.

Rather than going directly home at the end of the week, some administrators and staff came to the game and enjoyed watching the team’s progress. Among the administrators was Principal Jim Schofield, who acknowledged the defensive line’s performance.

“Our team is young and there is going to be constant improvements resulting in wins,” Schofield said.

The first Matador home football game resulted in more hope for the upcoming season and a drive for the players to push themselves during practice in order to end up victorious in the games that have yet to come.


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Illustration by Roland Fang
Illustration by Roland Fang

Since so many students participate in high school athletics, it is prevalent that some of the students will endure both minor and major injuries. Despite the health risks, students continue to engage in the sports that they enjoy because there are multiple ways to avoid some accidents that would be inevitable without the appropriate precaution.

High school athletic programs generally have less safety measures than professional sporting events. With this, it is more common for high school students to suffer injuries. Every single sport can pose health issues and injuries. Even track and field, one of the safest sports in the world, has seen many students sustain some serious injuries.

“When I jumped over the bar during practice [for high jump], I missed the mat and my head hit the ground,” junior Gene Xiang said. “After that, I ended up having a concussion, and I was sent to the hospital.”

Although Xiang was temporarily unable to participate in any physical activity for a short time because of his injury, he immediately began to practice and compete again when his doctor told him it was okay. However, Xiang decided that he would be more careful this time and take precautions.

“Warm-ups are always important to avoid getting hurt, and you should always listen to the coach and follow their directions,” Xiang said.

In other sports, especially the ones that involve the use of a ball or include dancing, injuries are more likely to be caused.

“Every day I see students who have a sports related injury,” school nurse Karen Carrillo said. “The most common sports that have injuries and health problems are football and cheer.”

Carrillo also gave some advice on how students in football could avoid injuries.

“For football, injuries are unpredictable, but the best way to avoid certain injuries is to make sure the equipment is updated and not broken,” Carrillo said. “Also, students should not believe that helmets really help to avoid head injuries because they don’t.”

Head football Coach Joe Ledesma explained that he ensures that his athletes do not get injured too often because of their strict safety precautions.

“We always use the right equipment,” Ledesma said. “Also, we only have a limited time of practice where we don’t even allow full contact [between players].”

Additionally, Carrillo also offered some tips for cheer to prevent common injuries.

“Cheer should have a well-trained coach who knows how to instruct with no errors,” Carrillo said. “The main thing is that the girls should be in good shape before they even begin doing anything.”

A frequent injury that happens in cheer is when one of the girls who is supposed to be thrown up and caught is dropped to the ground due to poor positioning. San Gabriel’s cheer team utilizes different methods to prevent this from happening, including punishment.

“To be safe, we tell the people who are catching that if you drop someone, you will have to run a lap,” senior Selena Chi said.

All high school sports can be dangerous to student athletes, while some may be more harmful than others. Although student injuries are common, using various ways to prevent them from happening allow the students to participate in any sport that they want.

Photo Courtesy of Chau Cam
Photo Courtesy of Chau Cam

As senior Chau Cam starts warming up for her badminton games, she is constantly reminded of her last year as a highschool player.

Cam has been playing badminton since sophomore year at San Gabriels badminton team.

“Badminton made my highschool experience fun because I got to meet many new people and visit new different schools while playing the sport I love,” Cam said.

Cam reflects on her achievements this past year and feels a sense of closure as she celebrates her last year.

“My biggest accomplishment was my result at league finals. I got first place for both girls single and girls double,” Cam said.

She has also qualified for CIF in which she will play for a championship title. Cam has high hopes, since her badminton team made the semifinals round to CIF, despite losing their last match by a point.

Cam will continue to play badminton in college, and focus on badminton as a hobby throughtout her years.

“I will still be playing badminton. Badminton is a part of my life, it will always be with me,” Cam said.

She thanks her teammates, badminton Coach Ryan Wong and alumni Thomas Zheng for supporting and motivating her throughout her journey.

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Illustration by John Truong
Illustration by John Truong

“I am banning Donald Sterling, for life,” newly appointed National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver announced.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was implicated in a controversy in which news website, TMZ, released a recording of Sterling speaking to V. Stiviano about his personal opinion of people of African American descent.

In the ten-minute recording, Sterling questioned Stiviano’s motives for bringing her African American friends to the Los Angeles Clippers games.

“I love black people, but I would just appreciate it if you did not bring them to my basketball games,” Sterling repeatedly said in the recording.

In recent light of this event, the NBA and the NBA Players Association launched an all-out campaign to remove Donald Sterling from his ownership of the Clippers.

“His racially insensitive remarks does not go along with the NBA standard of equal opportunity for all basketball players,” senior Christian Majano said.

One of the first steps taken by the NBA was his permanent ban from participation in all NBA activities and a $2.5 million dollar fine. His estranged wife Rochelle Sterling showed enthusiastic support for this.

Now the single issue that intrigues me is that the recording obviously shows that Sterling was set up by Stiviano. In no way could Donald Sterling have allowed this recording to be released to the public had he known about this.

In my opinion, the NBA was overly reactionary toward this controversy. This raises the issue of double standards in our society. For example, an African American rapper can get away with attacking people of other races in their song, while white rappers would be denigrated by critics.

Overall, the NBA should have respected Sterling’s personal opinion and instead levying a lifetime ban on him, they should have just placed a minimum fine.

The Matadors played their second round in the CIF championship versus Tustin High School on May 15. The seats quickly filled with students from both schools who cheered on while band and color guard did a collaboration on the top seats. The Matadors finished the game winning all three sets and dominated the game. The set scores were 25-14, 25-19, and 25-17.  The victory showed that the Matadors came back from their previous game which they won by a huge comeback after losing the first two sets.

The Matadors played safe and aggressive, taking a huge lead in the first set. Though both teams seemed to be equal in strength, the Matadors slowly took one point at a time. Continuing to take the lead, the Matadors took the first set in an instant, grasping the first set.

Tustin fought back harder during the second set and gave the Matadors a hard time, taking a big lead in the beginning. However, though the game was more aggressively played than the previous set, the Matadors snatched up another set with a score of 25-19.

With music playing in the background supported by flying flagpoles on both sides, band brought back the energy from the beginning of the game and gave everyone more spirit, including the players. The intensity of the third set was nothing like the first or the second set, both teams saving and spiking the ball as if it depended on their life if it fell. The suspense from the unusually long battle between the two teams made the crowd more excited and energetic than ever before. However, when the score reached 24-17, the Matadors took their chance and scored the last point, ending the game with 25-17 and winning all three sets.

Sg. Vs. Tustin
Photo by Justin Toyomitsu