By DAVE THOMAS | La Mesa Courier
As the summer days continue to fly by, a number of Helix High fall sports teams have their eyes on the calendar.
Before you know it, pre-season practices and games will turn into the real thing.
On the girls’ tennis courts, Helix, under head coach Jay Diaz, comes off a 9-5 season in 2018.
“This season’s turnout will be about 35 girls,” Diaz commented. “Twelve will make varsity and the rest will be junior varsity.” Diaz noted that he is a USTA no-cut coach. Two players graduated from the 2018 team.
According to Diaz, top players heading into the season look to include junior singles player Maya Gilbert and fellow junior Lily Fields, playing both singles and doubles.
“Our goals for varsity are for them to do their best win or lose, and to do as well or better than last season,” Diaz stated. “For the [JV players], it is to learn playing their matches so they can move up to varsity.”
Helix has 17 matches this season, with four of them being in the Laguna Hills Invitational.
In field hockey play, Helix, which has been league champion six years in a row, went 11-12 a season ago.
Head coach Rhona St. Clair-Moore said she was expecting that both junior varsity and varsity would have some 40 players trying out for 33 spots.
According to St. Clair-Moore, among the key players to look to going into the season include sophomore Stella Neville (forward and left wing), senior Vivian Gosswiller (keeper), senior Camryn Jonilonis (midfielder), senior Riley Powers (midfielder), senior Jannah Johnson (defender) and senior Paige Scarbrough (defender).
“Our main goal is to have all players better themselves as players and work cohesively as a team,” St. Clair-Moore said. “Additionally, we would like to win the league again and go further in CIFs.”
In boys’ water polo, head coach Joel Hull’s team went 22-7 overall a season ago, finishing at 8-0 and winning the Grossmont Valley League. The Highlanders were a Division III semifinalist.
Turning the page to this season, Hull noted he has 52 athletes in the program, with seven players having graduated from varsity last season.
According to Hull, some key members this season include returning varsity members Lucas Osborn (junior driver) and Lucas Theroux (senior driver).
They will be joined by varsity newcomers Nathan Haney (junior goalie), Gavin McMillan (junior center), Xavier Gamez (junior center defense), Ryan Salas (senior center defense, Baden Gloyer (junior driver) and Kyle Lemler (junior driver).
“Our goal for the season is to win the Grossmont Valley League and make CIFs,” Hull commented.
— Dave Thomas is a freelance sports writer. If you have Helix High sports tips, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.