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Battle of the Bay Tennis Tournament

CHS Prospector

   On July 30 and Oct. 2, the Cupertino varsity Girls Tennis team crushed their opponents at the annual Battle of the Bay tournament, which has been hosted by Cupertino for the past three years. The tournament was two days long and consisted of two parts each day––a doubles round and a singles round. The girls started off at 9:30 am for the morning doubles match, and once they completed their match the singles players took on the court. At 12:30 pm, the high schools switched opponents. This year Cupertino competed against Piedmont Hills, San Ramon Valley, Miramonte, and Tamalpais. At the end of this two-day tournament, the girls finished strong, and ranked first. They beat Miramonte 5-2, San Ramon Valley 6-1, Piedmont Hills 4-3, and Tamalpais 4-3.

   While most sports consist of two teams and an official to keep order on the playing field, in tennis the points are not kept track by a referee. Instead the players keep track of the score and the coaches keep watch in case of disputes. A plastic ladder with slots holding tennis balls keep track of the games and sets won.

   Said sophomore varsity player Irene Tsai, “[The scoring] is generally all in your head, and the girls on the court yell out the score after each point.”

   Cupertino took three pairs of doubles and four singles players. The girls are assigned either singles or doubles for each tournament. Said Tsai “playing singles is more difficult than doubles because having a team-mate on court helps bring out my confidence.” On the sideline the girls cheer each other on because they know the importance of confidence on the court and that encouragement helps their team mates through these grueling matches. Sophomore varsity player Victoria Yang describes tennis as “a mental game” in which “the opponent that is more alert and concentrated wins the match.” She was able to come back from a deficit against her San Ramon Valley opponent, and her win contributed to their team victory of 6-1. For many competitive athletes winning or performing well in games has the ability to extinguish fatigue. Once Cupertino had successfully defeated San Ramon Valley, they moved on the compete with Miramonte High School. Their coach laid out the statistics of their opponent, and it looked like they would all be playing against very strong players. But with their large win at the back of their minds, they confidently swooped through and crushed Miramonte in a 5-2 team win. Together the girls varsity tennis team beat each and every one of their opponents and came home with wide smiles, proud of their accomplishments.

Cupertino Football Wins the Helmet Game

Anshul Rajwanshi and Elena Chang

Following weeks of hype, the legendary Helmet Game proved to be just that––legendary. After 16 difficult years, Cupertino High School’s Varsity football team brought down Monta Vista’s in an epic duel commentated by our very own Mr. Sean Bui, leading to a 28-20 scoreline in Tino’s favor. The Helmet Game is a football game that occurs annually between rivals Cupertino High School and Monta Vista High School.

Said Cupertino Head Coach Christopher Oswald, “Thanks for all the support, great crowd out there tonight. It feels good to beat them.”

The first quarter was relatively quiet with neither side scoring a point, and the game was tense. However, Cupertino showed up in the second quarter scoring three touchdowns and extra points. Monta Vista barely clawed back with a touchdown and kick of its own, and Cupertino ended the first half with a solid lead of 21-7. Cupertino High School’s Proud Pioneer Marching Band and Colorguard came out to celebrate with an impressive show directed by Mr. Gilbert Iruegas, the band director, and senior Shivani Maisuria, the drum major.

However, Cupertino’s Coach Yuekai Yu kept the game in perspective saying after the first half, “The lead doesn’t mean anything. We have to play better.” The half-time talk must have worked, as Cupertino remained in the lead.

Said Cupertino team captain, senior Tyler Munson, “I am so proud … [16] year streak, and we broke it. We deserve The Helmet. The Helmet is home. I am so proud of the team. This is teamwork.”

The third and fourth quarters saw Cupertino push their lead with another touchdown, making the score 28-7, but Monta Vista pushed back. Amid some contested flag calls, Monta Vista was able to pull the game close to a scoreline to 28-20. One of the most incredible moments was when Cupertino High School blocked Monta Vista’s second kick after a disputed flag call that went in Monta Vista’s favor, a major achievement in a high school football game.

The school had also invited three alumni, who were recognized by the announcers.

After the game, Cupertino fans were ecstatic.

Said Principal Kami Tomberlain, “My first Helmet! Ten years in the making, Go Tino!”

ASB Treasurer Shankara Srikantan has stated that ASB is considering a “little celebration” for the win, hopefully more to come soon.

The game was an impressive back-and-forth with contention on both sides. The crowd was enthusiastic, and the team is looking forward to a repeat victory over Gunn High School. Said senior varsity athlete Timothy Robinson when asked about whether Cupertino’s football team would also win against Gunn during homecoming, “Yeah, obviously.”



Photos by Catherine Seok

The Differing Opinions of G-Week at CHS

Caroline Gee


For three days, Cupertino High School’s fall sports athletes treated themselves to free protein drinks, bars, and energy gels—all courtesy of Gatorade.

Said athletic trainer Rochelle Collinwood, “[During G-week], Gatorade promotes their product by allowing us to supply our athletes with three days worth of the product [called] ‘Prime.’ ”

The overall package included pre-performance “fuel” bars, post-performance bars, protein shakes, energy gels and gallons of Gatorade.

While some athletes perceived the multitude of protein bars, shakes and gels as an opportunity for free food, others gained substantial benefits from the products.

Junior and varsity boys cross country runner Parker Magnuson found the pre-performance protein bars to be a reliable source of fuel taken directly before running.

Said Magnuson, “The fuel bar gave me a solution to the problem of eating breakfast before a meet because it would either be too much or not enough, and the fuel bar worked just right.”

Senior and varsity football player Shawn Dumov claimed that the energy gels and protein bars improved the performance of the entire team. “The protein bars would energize us and make us less hungry,” Dumov said. “During practice, we would be more hyped up and more focused on the task at hand.”

   While student-athletes were generally either apathetic or enthusiastic towards G-week, Collinwood acknowledged that the products could not necessarily be considered a health food.

“As a regular everyday person, I do not think that Gatorade is very good for you,” said Collinwood. “But as an athlete, you need the stuff in the products—the sugar, the carbohydrates and the protein—to be a good athlete.”

But cross country coach Paul Armstrong disagreed, claiming that most student-athletes do not need the products to perform well.

Said Armstrong, “If you are eating properly, or if your diet is correct, then you should not need it.”

For Armstrong, the exception is if an athlete is performing in extreme heat or exercising at a high-intensity level for an extended period. However, according to Armstrong, the excessive sugar and sodium that can be found in the products is unnecessary.

“They got all these bars for pre-competition, for post competition and fuel,” Armstrong said. “It's all crap. It's marketing.”

Calorie-heavy protein bars may not be the healthiest, but they succeed in providing a convenient source of fuel for athletes.

Said Collinwood, “When you are in a sport, you need to eat within 30 minutes of exercise. And so, if you have a protein bar, then you could eat that right after practice. And then by the time you get home and eat two or three hours later, you have already recovered your muscles with that protein product.”

Of course, replenishing your body with wholesome foods is the ideal alternative.

“Some people have those bars every day after practice,” Armstrong said. “I say, ‘Look at the ingredients, look at what is in there.’ That is not to say you cannot have it once in awhile, but not every day after practice.”


The Place of Political Discussion in Sports

Nico Chilla

In the Mexico Olympics of 1968, two U.S. athletes sent a powerful message to the world. At their medal ceremony, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two members of the American track team faced the flag during the American national anthem and raised their fists in what became known as the “Black Power Salute”.

“Since we are athletes...we used this so that the whole world could see the poverty of the black man in America,” Smith said in an interview after the event. Their statements came at a time when the country was in turmoil over the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement; however, one would not know it observing the Olympics.

Crowds booed the athletes as they left the podium, and days later, the International Olympics committee forced them to return to the United States. The grounds were simple: Smith and Carlos had disrespected the flag and inappropriately brought politics into the setting of athletics. In the debut of the 2016 American football season, the same argument is being leveled by critics against Colin Kaepernick, backup quarterback for the 49ers, who abstained from rising for the national anthem to protest police violence.

Cases like Kaepernick’s arise out of a supposed principle of professional sports that the field is a common ground, where differences are set aside in the spirit of competition. It leads to an expectation that athletes should “shut up and play”, thus discrediting their opinions and taking away their opportunity to leverage a powerful platform. This concept is fueled by the disinterest of entitled consumers and creates an averse stance to cultural development.

The reality for many professional athletes is that spectators sustain their entire careers; players make a profit through endorsements, ticket revenue, and merchandise sales. Taking part in controversial action means getting hit in the wallet. Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall lost 2 endorsement deals after taking a knee during the anthem. The politic-free atmosphere of sports is a direct consequence of its role as an entertainment service. Judgement by the public is common among all entertainment industries; however, athletes are prone to severe economic impacts simply because they rely directly on businesses that are seeking the largest net income. It is not a coincidence that players often rally behind causes such as poverty and children’s health that are unanimously agreed upon.  Fans pay to watch athletes compete, not watch them attempt to influence political change.

This attitude results in players being unable to stand up for their beliefs without putting their careers at risk. The idea of avoiding controversy is intended to uphold neutrality, but in reality it creates an opposition to change. Walling off a part of our culture as void of conflict rejects the very concept of culture being inconstant. Kaepernick cannot look at the flag and ignore the part of our government that unjustly arrests and abuses African Americans.

"You are telling me that my position as a backup QB and being quiet is more important than people’s lives,” he said last Monday in response to criticism. Kaepernick's actions are bold and commendable; he is taking an enormous risk by standing out in such a volatile environment.

Some argue that the inclusion of the American flag and anthem in the protest shows a lack of appreciation for the work of the military, thus discrediting him. These powerful symbols of our country represent not only the troops, but our American ideals, culture, and government. In other words, they encompass both the positive and negative of our country. Americans must suppress their knee-jerk reaction to any disrespect towards our flag and realize Kaepernick’s message. The United States is constantly improving, and he is pushing the country to accept the need for reform in the law enforcement system.

Politics and culture invade every part of society. By attempting to prohibit controversy, professional sports enterprises inadvertently take an opposed rather than neutral stance to the flow of change. Unfortunately, athletes have challenging and risky careers that depend considerably on public image; their freedom of speech is thus indirectly encroached upon. While it is easy to dismiss this as an inevitable part of society, Kaepernick has defied it over the past weeks. Instead of fizzling out, his actions have sparked many other players to join him. The public has subsequently become acclimated to the protests and, to an extent, accepted their validity. Kaepernick displays the potential for the sports industry to open the gates to controversy- if popular figures have the courage to speak up.

The Story of Solin Piearcy, National Wrestling Champion 2016

Lily Marvin

Senior Solin Piearcy has just become the national champion for girls wrestling. Piercey traveled to Oklahoma University where she wrestled five girls, beating each to become the national champion.

Said Piearcy, “I’ve never really been out of state for high school season. This was my first out of state high school trip.”

Piearcy’s matches were split up between Friday and Saturday. She further elaborated on this by saying: “On the second day, I had four matches. In my first match, I wrestled a girl from Kansas, and I beat her 9 to 1, which is called a major decision. Then my second match of that day was my quarterfinals match and in it I wrestled a girl from Wisconsin, and I beat her in double overtime by one point. My semifinals match was against another from Wisconsin, and I won. I believe the score was either 2-1 or 3-2. I’m not sure, but I know I won by one point. My finals match I won 2-1." 

In her final match, Piearcy was wrestling against a girl who had beat her three times in previous years. Piearcy explained that “she had lost to [her competitor] three times. The first time was freshman year. She almost got pinned, but she got off her back for three minutes. Last year she lost to her twice. The first time it was ten points and the second time it was by four points, so she was really nervous going into the match.”

When the final whistle blew, and she was announced the winner Piearcy remembers the serial feeling. “It was so unreal [when I knew I won]. After the match, I was just mind blown. I remember getting my hand raised, thanking the other coaches and thanking the refs and just getting off the mat I ran and Jumped on my coach’s  back, and we just started crying. We were both so shocked and amazed that everything unraveled the way it did.”

Next year Piearcy will be heading to Menlo College where she has already signed to the wrestling team. When asked how it feels to go into college wrestling as a national champion Piearcy said, “Well it takes an entirely different turn on it because I don’t want to feel like I have to do well in college just because I have all these high school accolades. I feel like it’s something that’s going to linger on. At the same time, I know that college is different than high school, so I’m very excited. It’s a different style, it has different tournaments, and it’s more competitive so I want to push myself and see if I can meet the challenges.”



Thumbnail Image Courtesy of Solin Piearcy. 

Girls Varsity Basketball Season Ends

Jeremy Xue

The girls basketball team ended their amazing season last Saturday with a 42-54 loss to the Palo Alto Vikings at the CCS Quarterfinals at Wilcox High School. The team played an aggressive first half, closing Palo Alto’s lead to 2 points at 25-27, but lost the momentum in the third quarter and beyond. Sophomore Selena “Swang” Wang led the team in points, scoring 10 points. 


Images Courtesy of Jeremy Xue.

Boys Basketball Advance to CCS Semifinals

Daniel Fertelmeister

The Tino boys varsity basketball team’s journey to the CCS Division I crown continued Saturday afternoon in a tight to-the-wire game against the heavily favored Palo Alto Vikings.

The Vikings, an upper-league team, entered the game with only 3 players under 6’ tall and were able to jump out to a quick 7-3 lead as the Pioneers struggled to keep pace with their much larger opponents. Tino struck back quickly however, as Ajaypal Singh made a long two-point jumper with a hand in his face. A steal and backdoor pass by Senior guard Ethan Shen led to another Singh basket, and a third straight basket from the senior forward brought the score to an even 9-9.

Paly responded to the run with two straight three-pointers and a layup, taking the lead once again. A spot up jumper from sophomore George Ellegood – his first of many – and a Singh layup, however, brought the score to a manageable 17-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Senior Ethan Shen (20) drives the ball during the first quarter.

Senior Ethan Shen (20) drives the ball during the first quarter.

The Vikings got the ball to start the second and immediately gave it away to a traveling violation. The turnover proved costly, as Shen hit a big three to pull within one. Palo Alto was able to go on a small run with two straight shots, but this quarter belonged to the Pioneers. They went on an incredible 14-0 run, one that included three blocks and two Ellegood free throws. The run was highlighted by a spectacular play by Singh, as he blocked a shot, stole the ball, and finished with a contested layup on the breakaway.

Senior Annika Taheri, like the other fans watching the game from the stands, enjoyed seeing the team gain a rhythm and play to their full capacity. “The boys were incredibly exciting to watch. As the underdogs, it was super fun to see them gain confidence throughout the game and play so well against such a good team,” Taheri said.

Ellegood hit a fadeaway three on the next possession, and the Tino lead grew to 21-30. Palo Alto was able to stop the bleeding with a layup, but were outscored 17-6 in the quarter and entered halftime down 7 points, 23-30.

After a disappointing third quarter in their previous game against Silver Creek, the Pioneers were determined to come out with more energy this time. Palo Alto drew first blood with a post move in the lane, but Tino responded with a long Singh jumper to push the lead back to 7. 

Tino’s tenacious defense resulted in a Shen steal on the next possession, and the effort proved fruitful when it led to an open three by junior Koshi Hyunh. The shot would be his only one of the game, but it was a big one, because Palo Alto answered with three consecutive three-pointers to cut the Tino lead to only one point.

With the score sitting at 34-35, Shen hit two corner threes to give the Pioneers a cushion once again. The Pioneers then made a play that was equal parts chaotic and impressive, as Singh blocked a shot and missed a dunk. Luckily, sophomore Meelad Danai was there to grab the rebound and kick the ball out to Ellegood for a big three in the corner. Palo Alto hit another three, and the score at the start of the final quarter sat at 39-44.

Senior Ajaypal Singh (44) rises to the basket for a contested layup.

Senior Ajaypal Singh (44) rises to the basket for a contested layup.

A Singh jumper opened the scoring, but the Vikings responded with a quick post move on the following possession. The Palo Alto press defense backfired as one of their players whiffed on a pass and left Ellegood open in the corner for yet another three-pointer. The Vikings answered with a three, and this began a three-minute long defensive period where neither team scored. 
The momentary lapse in scoring ended when Palo Alto connected on another three and cut the Tino lead to just two points. Ajaypal Singh responded with another long jumper from the wing, but another three from Paly cut their deficit to just one point.

The Vikings threatened to take the lead on a breakaway, but Singh invited the entire city of Palo Alto to his block party when he viciously swatted away a layup attempt for his second block of the game. The Pioneers advanced the ball into the front court and called timeout with a 51-50 lead and 39 seconds left on the clock.

At the most pivotal part of the game, the crowd was forced to sit and wait for play to resume. Said Taheri, “The game was super nerve-racking. I was trying to send updates to people who couldn't make it to the game, but my heart was pumping so fast and my hands were shaking so much that every picture I tried to take came out blurry.”

Sophomore George Ellegood (5) celebrates after sealing the game with a corner three.

Sophomore George Ellegood (5) celebrates after sealing the game with a corner three.

The Pioneers needed a big play to put away their opponent, and they got that big play when George Ellegood hit a huge corner three, his sixth of the game, with 19 seconds to go. The Vikings quickly inbounded the ball, hoping to respond, but Ellegood came up big again as he stole the ball at midcourt and drew a foul. 

Said Ellegood, “The ball was just kicked to me and I had been shooting well all night, so I shot it right away. And then going back on D, I just read their player’s eyes, saw where he was going, and I was able to get my hands on it.”

The crowd exploded, the team ran out onto the court to celebrate their impending win, and Palo Alto just looked deflated. With three fouls to give, the Vikings couldn’t put Tino’s players on the line. The last 15 seconds of the game stretched out for a few minutes, as the Pioneers were forced to inbound the ball three separate times. The Vikings were able to steal the ball on the last inbound and put up a prayer three, but it was well short, the Pioneers were already on their way to the semi-finals. 

Final score: Cupertino 54, Palo Alto 50.

The team gathers together after Ellegood's final shot.

The team gathers together after Ellegood's final shot.

Led by fantastic efforts from Ellegood (6-8 3-pt, 22 points, 4 rebounds), Singh (10-18 FG, 21 points, 2 blk, 5 reb, 3 stl), and Shen (8 points, 3 reb, 3 ast), Tino was forced to battle back from a deficit, overcome a size disadvantage, and come up with a big play at the end to pull out a win. Now, the Pioneers will move on to the CCS semi-finals to face the first-seeded Piedmont Hills Pirates. The game will be held at 5:30 pm on Wednesday at Fremont High school. The winner will go on to face the winner of Wilcox-Oak Grove in the CCS Division I final.


Images Courtesy of Ching Hsin Wong. 

Boys Basketball Celebrates CCS 2nd Round Win

Daniel Fertelmeister

The Pioneers began their quest for their first CCS championship since 1976 on Thursday night as they played host to the Silver Creek Raiders in the second round of the playoff tournament.

Senior Ajaypal Singh soars to the basket in a home game against Homestead.

Senior Ajaypal Singh soars to the basket in a home game against Homestead.

As they have so many times this year, Tino opened up the game with an explosive 10-0 run that included two straight layups by senior Ajaypal Singh. After the Raiders finally managed to get onto the board, a behind-the-back pass from Singh led to an open corner three by Senior Ethan Shen to push the lead to 13-2. 

Said teacher Wes Morse, who provided commentary for the game, “They started really strong, they moved the ball well, and I thought Ajay was featured early and that was a pretty good move.” The Pioneers ended their explosive first quarter with a 10-point lead, the score sitting at 13-3.

The second quarter started with a Singh steal and featured a contested three by Sophomore George Ellegood. The game lagged a bit as the teams traded baskets, but after a Silver Creek three with a minute left cut the deficit to eight, Singh hit a buzzer beating layup to push the lead back to 10. The score at the half: 21-11.

The second half started with a Cupertino block party as sophomore Meelad Danai viciously rejected a Silver Creek shot on their first possession of the quarter. But the Raiders came storming back, determined to get back into the game and make the second half theirs. They responded with back-to-back threes, cutting the Tino lead to 21-17. 

A back-and-forth ensued: junior guard Koshi Hyunh drew a foul on a three and extended the lead by two points, Silver Creek scored on a post move, and Singh hit a contested fadeaway to push the lead back up to 25-19. Yet another Singh block led to split free throws by Danai, but Silver Creek closed with a 6-0 run and finished the quarter down just one point. 

“They built up a lead and I think they got a little safe. Silver Creek got more aggressive on defense, they started coming after us and I think that made it hard to get the ball inside,” said Morse. The score at the start of the fourth: 26-25.

Senior Ethan Shen hits a shot against the Lynbrook Vikings.

Senior Ethan Shen hits a shot against the Lynbrook Vikings.

The team knew there would have to be a change. “I remember going into the 4th, after giving up a 10 point lead after halftime, [Coach] Ellegood basically told us, ‘okay, there is nowhere to go but up,’ and that we would somehow have to find a way to play in order to fight another day and keep going in the playoffs,” said senior Ethan Shen.

The pep talk worked, as a steal to start the fourth proved useful as the Shen-Singh connection pushed the lead to 28-25. Shen got another steal on the next possession, but the ball was stolen back by a streaking Silver Creek player who again cut their deficit to just one point. The Raiders completed their comeback when they took the lead on a contested layup at the six-minute mark. However, Tino's bad luck from range finally ended when Shen got a shooter’s bounce and hit a Singh-assisted-three with 3:30 left to take the lead again.

Said Shen, “I think that shot that bounced around and went in is like a nice analogy for the game. It wasn't pretty, and I would honestly have preferred a nice swish – but it went in so we'll take it.”

The crowd was electric, and after a Singh three and a long Ellegood jumper pushed the lead to 36-29, Silver Creek was forced to play catch-up. The Raiders hit a prayer three pointer to get the score to a manageable 38-35, but Singh iced the game with a free throw on the next possession.

“They’re a typical Ellegood team – played smart at the end of the game, did what they needed to do to pull out the win,” said Morse. The final: a 39-35 Tino win.

It was a low scoring affair, and one that was a little too close for comfort, but the result was exactly what the fans wanted. It was an exciting, to-the-wire slugfest and Tino came out on top. 

Shen agreed. “Thursday night was a gritty win, an ugly win. But a win is a win.” 

As the Pioneers celebrated, they were met with “We Want Paly” chants from the Tino crowd. Now, they prepare to face the fourth-seed Palo Alto Vikings in the quarterfinals of the CCS tournament. The game will be held at 4:30pm on Saturday at Piedmont Hills High in San Jose.


All Images Courtesy of Ching Hsin Wong.

Wrestling Champions

Josephine Robinson

In the dual meet against Fremont High School, the Varsity team for Cupertino High School won with a score of 48 to 27. The JV wrestlers had three wins and four losses. After the JV wrestlers, Varsity had a quick celebration for their seniors: Solin Piearcy, Justin Marks, Solomon Wu, Michael Munson, Mark Wang, Ngyuen Pham, and Derek Pan. As the Varsity team prepared to start the meet, the lights in the gym dimmed and only a single light shined on the wrestling mat, immediately raising the crowd’s anticipation because they were about to begin the match. The Varsity team had an outstanding meet with only three losses and nine wins. Catch the full rundown of the wrestling team’s season in the next issue of The Prospector, coming out on March 4. 


Photos Courtesy of Jeremy Xue.