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Top 10 CPS Sports Moments of 2023

By Adam S. '25

And just like that I’ve been pulled back into the writer’s chair, begged by the CPS sports community to give the world another glimpse at my otherworldly sports processing abilities. Today we focus on the realm of College Prep, writing on the top 10 school sports moments of 2023. So, sit back, grab a nice hot cup o’ Jo, and let your friendly neighborhood sports person walk you back through Cougar sports in 2023!

(*Note: each team can only account for one moment on the top 10 list)

#10: Boys Swimming - Julian Vuong 100 Breast school record

If you haven’t heard of Paul Cane, then are you really a true CPS sports fan? Paul Cane was one of the greatest College Prep swimmers of all-time, and was long regarded as THE greatest breaststroker to ever walk the halls of the Broadway campus. Cane swam for Orinda Aquatics (OA), one of the premier Bay Area swim clubs. Cane started the College Prep-OA swimming pipeline for swimmers like myself, Mollie Appl, LuLu Martin del Campo, and many others such as the Griscavage siblings, Sydney ‘22 (now at Cal), and Cole ‘21 (now at Swarthmore). Cane set the 100 yard breaststroke school record in May of 2015 at the North Coast Section Championship meet, posting a whopping 59.87. Cane went on to swim at Dartmouth. This record stood for 8 whole years, until Julian Vuong, a Crow Canyon club swimmer known for his fast paced, crisp breaststroke came out to break the record early in 2023. Vuong ripped a 1:00.23 at NCS in 2022, leaving him just .36 away from the record. Vuong then got to work right away in 2023, posting a 59.66 at the De La Salle Invitational, the first official meet of his senior season. However, Vuong was far from done, and blazed to a 58.99 at his final NCS championship, becoming the first College Prep swimmer to ever post a sub-59 100 breaststroke. This moment comes in at #10.

#9: Boys Volleyball - 3-1 W vs. Head Royce

The hype surrounding the College Prep-Head Royce rivalry was heard from the start of the 2022-2023 school year. How would College Prep account for the loss of key senior role players which propelled them to their 2022 NCS title (such as Skyler Bresee, Marius Mahshi, Sivan Faruqui, Liam Jenny, and Rohan Hartigan)? Would Head Royce’s attempts to recruit tall basketball players influence the result of rivalry games? The season got off to a rocky start for College Prep, after they blew the first rivalry game of the 2023 season, falling 3-2 to Head Royce at Head Royce. However, the Cougars rallied, and behind a packed “Cougar Den” student section rose to the occasion, taking down Head Royce 3-1. Beckett Alper (‘25) turned in a massive performance, and backed up his “talk”, taking down his former acquaintances in the biggest game of the year. Seniors Jude Partovi and Abraham Quastler-Cumming also added major contributions. This is sports moment #9.

See feature article on this game here

#8: Boys Basketball – 50-47 W vs. Athenian

It had been three years since College Prep basketball had picked up a rivalry win against Athenian or Head Royce. We are talking about pre-pandemic times here. All year the doubts existed about the College Prep basketball program. Damon Fitzpatrick and Marius Mahshi were gone. Chants to “Cage the Cougs” arose throughout the Bay Area. I, myself, did not believe that the program had the strength to topple one of their greatest rivals. However, on Senior Night, a year after Athenian embarrassed the class of ‘22 seniors on their Senior Night (we lost 57-16), the Cougars stood on business, taking down the Owls 50-47. Seniors Abraham Quastler-Cumming, Myles Nelson, Nate Ilfeld, Jude Partovi, and Charlie Hill all came to play, and the Cougars turned in a massive win. This is moment #8.

#7: Girls Tennis - 4-3 W vs. Head Royce

Nobody thought that College Prep could win this game. I had to leave the matches early to go to swim practice, but as soon as I got out of the water I ran to my phone and grinned in realization of what just occurred. Throughout my time at CPS, all CPS-HRS tennis games have seemed to come down to the wire, with CPS just barely falling to Head Royce 4-3 in BCL championships in 2022. If you asked the College Prep girls if they themselves had a chance to win this year, they would’ve said no, but nevertheless, they buckled down and got the job done. Last-minute lineup changes were key to victory, plotting the score to 3-3, and placing sophomore Gia Chabra in the spotlight with the game tied. Although the underdog, Chabra is known to never back down in big moments. Chabra would rally to win the final match in a tiebreak, propelling the Cougar girls to a HUGE 4-3 win. This is sports moment #7.

See feature article here

#6: Girls Track & Field - Talia Green HS race-walk champion

Ayo, did you know that we have a high school champion race-walker amidst us?? In March of 2023, Talia Green (‘24) traveled to Boston and won the 1 mile race walk at the New Balance National Indoor Meet with a time of 7:14.05. I’m not sure that a lot of us can run a mile that fast. Green is one of the best athletes on campus, and a leader of the women’s cross-country and track teams. Green will be attending Claremont McKenna college to run in the fall. Insane stuff, and worthy of CPS sports moment #6.

Read more about this feat here

#5: Boys Soccer – BCL East Champions (Back-2-Back)

They won NCS in 2022, but they came back hungry for more in 2023. Like many other teams on this list, the boys soccer team lost a lot of senior talent from the year prior, and were left with questions on how to regroup and defend their title. Additionally, Noah Beltran (‘25), Orhan Hosten-Mittermaier (‘25), and Nicholas Chang (‘24), three premier club athletes who were contributors in 2022, all opted out of the season, adding to the wonders about the Cougars’ ability to repeat. However, the Cougars found their stride right away, going 10-1-1 in league and winning BCL East for the second straight season. My favorite moment of this season came in September, when the Cougars pulled out a massive road victory against Head Royce. The Cougars were down their first two goalies, Kevin Landaverde and Edward Rubio, and were forced to turn to Lucas Beamer, the small, scrawny freshman with the biggest game of the season looming large. But Beamer rose to the call, studying Courtois film in the earlier hours of the morning and holding the Jayhawks to just one goal. That was just enough for the Cougars, who took a 2-1 win with goals from Max Wong (‘26) and Hassan Ahmed (‘25). This was a decisive victory for the squad, which propelled them to eventually claiming the league title with a win over St. Joe’s in early November. This is CPS sports moment #5 of 2023.

See feature article here

#4: Girls Soccer – Undefeated BCL East champs

The 2023 girls soccer roster was stuff of fairytales. I interviewed junior starter Sara Fibrichova earlier this week to recall the greatness of the group. There was Maia Beltran (‘23), described as the “backbone of the team”. Beltran, who is now a freshman at Columbia, was the 2023 team’s MVP. Fibrichova explains that teams would have to “triple mark her” in order to prevent her from dominating the game. But outside of Beltran, this team was still loaded. Claire Wong (‘23) was the leader of the defensive front… Adele Beamer (‘24) provided needed “physicality”… Sylvia Lidsky (‘25) was “really fast”, and added speed to the defense… Annika Sherer (‘26), at the time a freshman, is a top club talent for Mustang, and added a burst to the scoring attack… Paige Schienberg (‘24), who’s headed to Swarthmore in the fall, was another top talent and key contributor. Led by beloved coach Michael Osei-Amoako, this team was favored to win the league from before the season even started. However, they did more than win – they dominated, beating rivals Athenian and Head Royce by a cumulative score of 21-1 on the season. Yeesh! This was expected, but it was still remarkable, and it was moment #4.

#3: Boys Cross-Country - NCS Division 5 Champions

The cross-country boys have been fast for all the time that I’ve been on campus at College Prep. However, they were never able to get over the hump and win the elusive NCS D5 title until the fall season of 2023. In November of 2023, all the cards came together. With their ace – Pomona-bound, school record-holder, star senior Owen Irving – posting a meet winning 15:49.20 three-mile time, the Cougars got the job done, hoisting the BCL trophy on a cool fall evening at Hayward High School. The Cougars actually had 3 top 10 finishers, with sophomore Isan Skarbinski snagging 3rd and junior Emiya Rendall-Jackson grabbing 7th. It was a stupendous performance, which is worthy of CPS sports moment #3.

#2: Girls Swimming - Top 5 finish at Division 1 NCS (Back-2-Back)

Everybody’s gonna say I’m biased. But please hear me out: there was no sports moment, and no sports team, quite parallel to the girls swim team placing top 5 at NCS. College Prep girls swimming has been dominant for a long time. Four straight classes have produced collegiate talent (‘21 to ‘25) and the team is legitimately competitive on a state level (top 60 finish at state). And, oh, I should mention, we aren’t talking about division 5 state level, no, no, we’re talking division 1. College Prep girls swimming is a top 5 program in the Bay Area. Period. Mic drop. I could put this team’s second-straight, undefeated BCL East swimming title on this list instead, but that wouldn’t do justice to the greatness of this program. At NCS in 2023, College Prep swimming showed that we have an athletic program which can walk-the-walk, and compete with big-name, big-population schools. They medaled in the 400 freestyle relay (Paige Arnold, 51.62 - Mollie Appl, 53.47 - LuLu Martin del Campo, 55.14 - Natalie Mak, 52.44) taking third place, and beating the likes of Acalanes, Campolindo, and Miramonte, three powerhouse public schools of Lamorinda. It’s incredible, and it’s sports moment #2.

#1: College Commitment

At a school so oriented around college, and prestige, I think that the #1 moment of success of College Prep athletes in 2023 was the amount of student-athletes that graduated or committed to go on and continue their athletic career in college. College Prep has a reputation of not producing high quality athletes, and these high-level athletes who have gone on to play at the collegiate level have worked against this fraudulent narrative, representing the proficiency of athletics at CPS. Looking at the class of ‘23 and ‘24, CPS produced 8 collegiate athletes, which accounts for close to 5% of the class graduates. Since CPS does not have a signing day, I thought that this was an important space to commemorate the achievement of these athletic standouts. This is sports moment #1.

Class of 2023

  • Paige Arnold, Swimming: Amherst, D3

  • Maia Beltran, Soccer: Columbia, D1

  • Jonah Porth, Cross-Country: Occidental, D3

Class of 2024

  • Mollie Appl, Swimming: Pomona, D3

  • Talia Green, Track & Field: Claremont McKenna, D3

  • Owen Irving, Cross-Country: Pomona, D3

  • Khalil Rashad, Soccer: Santa Clara, D1

  • Paige Schienberg, Soccer: Swarthmore, D3

  • Joseph Shelby, Rowing: TBD, D1

Class of 2025

  • Natalie Mak, Swimming: Princeton, D1

And more to come…


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