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Wrestling with success Local high school girls are measuring up on the mat By Pete Borello
Town Crier Staff Writer
iana Le’s ever-changing hair color isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from other Los Altos High School students. She’s also the lone girl on the varsity wrestling team. Le – sporting purple hair in recent weeks – is the Eagles’ starter at 103 pounds. With four wins in her fi rst eight matches of the season, the sophomore disproves the notion that girls can’t compete in the male-dominated sport. “It’s not just a boys sport – it’s a girls sport, too, and shows how tough they can be,” Le said. “Girls are pretty tough.” Le isn’t the fi rst girl to wrestle for Los Altos – or to make varsity. randy Jimenez has had at least one girl on the squad in each of his four seasons as head coach. But with three girls on junior varsity, Jimenez has more female wrestlers on his team than in past years. While there isn’t a campaign to recruit girls, Jimenez has created an environment in which the wrestling mat has been a welcome
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Los Altos varsity wrestler Tiana Le grapples with Alexander Wright during a match against Milpitas High School.
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Heifer a no-go at Hidden Villa By Elliott Burr
mat for girls interested in going out for the team. At Los Altos, all wrestlers are treated equally. “I don’t look at the female wrestlers any different than the boys,” Jimenez said. “I make them go as hard as the boys. I want them to fully believe in themselves and go all-out.” That’s what the boys on the team want, too, according to co-captain Max Wiederholt. The 130-pound senior said they have respect for the girls they wrestle with and against. “Girls can pin guys, which is cool,” Wiederholt said. “It’s great we’re wrestling as a coed team. We’re not treating anyone differently because they’re girls, and I think they can take a lot of pride in that.”
Town Crier Staff Writer
eifer International last week withdrew its support for a controversial plan to construct an education center on Hidden Villa property – music to opponents’ ears but a disappointment to nature preserve offi cials. The project, an approximately 7,000-square-foot Global Village on Moody road proposed and ultimately quashed by the Arkansasbased Heifer International, had been hotly contested by neighbors, who said it would be a detriment to the environment, pose a fi re danger and increase traffi c and noise. Hidden Villa offi cials said it was a “unilateral” decision from Heifer. “We at Hidden Villa are disappointed in this decision,
See WRESTLING, Page 6 PHOTOS By ELLIOTT Burr/TOWN CrIEr
Zoe Morgan, a junior-varsity wrestler, tries to evade a pin.
See HEIFER, Page 7
School district scraps flood-basin project: What’s next? Additional classroom space may be needed, LASD board says By Traci Newell
Town Crier Staff Writer
iting potential loss of valuable real estate for future expansion, the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees voted 4-1 Jan. 24 against installing a ﬂ ood-detention basin at Blach Junior High School.
In an attempt to protect properties in Mountain View and Los Altos from a 100-year ﬂ ood, the Santa Clara Valley Water District had planned construction of several ﬂ ood basins in the area. The Blach ﬂ ood basin would have required dredging the school’s fi elds, constructing an approximately 10-foot-deep basin and replacing the fi elds, possibly with artifi cial turf. The water district offered a number of facility upgrades in return for See LASD, Page 5
Water district pursues alternatives
4-1 against the project Jan. 24, with opponents claiming the land could be used to expand the school’s facilities to meet growBy Jana Seshadri ing enrollment needs. Trustee Town Crier Staff Writer Tamara Logan, the lone project he Santa Clara Valley Wa- supporter, said it’s unlikely that ter District Board of Di- classrooms would be built on that rectors is weighing its op- particular stretch of land, and tions after the Los Altos School that ﬂ ood-protection measures District rejected a ﬂ ood-deten- are necessary. tion basin proposed for the ath- In exchange for approving letic fi elds at Blach Junior High the project, the water district School in Los Altos. promised to upgrade the school’s School district trustees voted See WATER, Page 5
Cover Story WRESTLING From Page 1
Le acknowledged that the practices are tough, but she likes that her teammates and coaches don’t go easy on her. “They see me as a wrestler – not a girl,” she said. Freshman Zoe Morgan, the junior-varsity starter at 130 pounds, feels the same way. She raved about how supportive her teammates and coaches have been since the first day of practice. “They’ve always had lots of girls (on the team), so they’re fantastic,” Morgan said. Morgan, like Le, took up wrestling in seventh grade because it looked like fun. Morgan and two female friends wrestled on Blach Junior High School’s junior-varsity team for two years. “Since girls began competing, I have had at the most four girls any given year, but rarely do I have only one stick it out (if they’re the lone girl on the team),” said Steve Kane, Blach’s longtime wrestling coach and athletic director. “So having friends who are willing to brave the sport with them is very important in junior high.” Placing fourth at the junior high league junior-varsity tournament her initial year and third as an eighth-grader encouraged Morgan to pursue wrestling in high school. She admitted it was one of the reasons she chose to attend Los Altos High instead of joining her friends at Mountain View High School, which does not have a wrestling team. “I knew from junior high that I wanted to, but I questioned the time constraints,” said Morgan, an honors student on the debate team who interns at the Town Crier two afternoons a week. “My mom said, ‘At least try it,’ and it’s been great.” Morgan said she loves the challenge of wrestling and how technique can trump strength. “I’m not going to get as strong as the guys – though I can get stronger than I am now – but my technique can improve,” she said. Le is focused on improving her wrestling moves as well. Her chop block and arm bar have led to a few pins, but there is so much more to learn. “I have to work on my technique,” Le said. “That could help me dramatically.” Le’s wrestling career began at Crittenden Middle School in Mountain View. As a seventhgrader, she was the only girl on the team.
photos by Elliott Burr/Town Crier
Los Altos High sophomore Tiana Le, top, a varsity wrestler, spars with Milpitas High School Viking Alexander Wright. Coach Randy Jimenez, left, loosens up junior varsity wrestler Hannah Teter before a match. Zoe Morgan of the JV squad, right, contends with Milpitas Viking Alex Schulz.
“Girls can pin guys, which is cool. It’s great we’re wrestling as a coed team. We’re not treating anyone differently because they’re girls, and I think they can take a lot of pride in that.” –Max Wiederholt, co-captain, Los Altos High wrestling team “Four or five of my guy friends wanted to go out, so we did,” Le said. “Turns out I was the only one to stick with it.” Although Le took the next year off because Crittenden wasn’t able to field a team, she didn’t hesitate to go out for the sport as a freshman at Los Altos. “I wasn’t intimidated,” said Le, whose father is a body builder, “and it helped that I had the same coach as middle school.” The potential Jimenez saw in Le at Crittenden is starting to be realized at Los Altos, where she ranks
Page 6 / Los Altos Town Crier / February 2, 2011
among the team’s toughest competitors. “She’s a little fireball,” the coach said. “She’ll practice with 110- and 125-pounders and won’t back down.” Jimenez sees similar traits in Morgan. Having more losses than wins this season hasn’t fazed Morgan – it’s only made her more determined to get better. “She gives me everything she’s got – 110 percent,” Jimenez said. “She’s so into it – you can see her brain working every time she’s on the mat. She fears nobody, and you
can’t teach that.” Fellow freshman Hannah Teter has impressed the coach as well. The 119-pounder has a martial-arts background but never wrestled before this season. “She’s learning and is 150 percent better than her first day,” Jimenez said. “The next couple years she could do something big – she has that mind-set.” Gunn High School’s Cadence Lee is another wrestler with experience in martial arts. Titans coach Chris Horpel said the freshman’s strong judo background has helped
her succeed as the varsity starter at 103 pounds. Lee, undefeated at Terman Middle School, is 11-4 with five pins this season. Although Lee is the lone Gunn girl out for wrestling, Horpel has noticed more females taking up the sport in recent years – and not just in this area. “Society is changing,” he said. “It’s now an Olympic sport for girls/women, so countries are pushing it a little more.” Those who govern high school sports in the region and the state have taken notice. The second annual Central Coast Section Girls Wrestling Championships are scheduled Saturday at Oak Grove High School in San Jose. The top four finishers in each weight class qualify for the inaugural California Interscholastic Federation State Wrestling Championships, set for Feb. 25 and 26 at Lemoore High School in San Joaquin Valley. “The Central Coast Section has been waiting patiently for the numbers of girls wrestlers to amass to a point where we would be able to provide them with a viable championship of their own,” CCS Commissioner Nancy Lazenby Blaser said. “We are delighted that our efforts have coincided with the state CIF’s efforts to do the same this year.” According to CCS Assistant Commissioner Duane Morgan, 220 girls are registered in the CCS weight-management program, designed to ensure that wrestlers maintain safe and healthy weights. Last year, 201 girls registered and 99 of them competed at the CCS championships. Morgan said he expects more girls at this year’s meet. But don’t expect Los Altos High’s Le to be among the competitors. She has opted to try for the CCS boys championships, slated Feb. 25 and 26 at Independence High School in San Jose. And if Le doesn’t make it this year, she will try again next year – and the year after that. “As a girl wrestler, especially, it would be cool to place fifth or better in leagues during high school to get to CCS,” said Le, who was eighth at last year’s league finals. “It would be awesome.” Teammate Morgan hasn’t set her sights as high. Her goal? “Just to wrestle,” she said. “I do it because it’s fun and good exercise.” The Los Altos High wrestling team is scheduled to visit Lynbrook High School 5:30 p.m. today. Contact Pete Borello at firstname.lastname@example.org.