New Athenian Sports Team Formed: Sports Credit for Women’s Lacrosse

As of the 2017-18 school year, a girls lacrosse PE class will take place during the winter sports season.

Students Mimo U. ’19 and Sam C. ’19 planned the addition of the sport over the previous school year.

Both girls played lacrosse before coming to Athenian, and have since stopped playing because of the lack of a team at school.

They were inspired to take their idea of having a lacrosse team at Athenian and put it into action because of the fact that there were fewer girl sports at Athenian, due to the loss of the softball team.

It was important to them and others that there were more opportunities for girls to play sports.

“When I applied to Athenian they said there was probably going to be a team by my freshman year because there was another group of people trying to get a team started, but when I came there still wasn’t a team,” Mimo said. “I tried out other sports but in the end, I really wanted to have a sport at the school that I was good at and experienced in.”

This year the sport will just be held as a PE for a trial year, but with regular sports credits and after-school practices. If it goes well, there will most likely be a team next year that will compete against other schools.

Director of Athletics, Darek Cliff, said the goal of the PE class this year is to “wage the commitment and dedication” of the team for next year.

“Head Royce has a team that’s pretty new, Lick Wilmerding has a team as well, and there’s definitely a lot of private schools in San Francisco that have teams,” Mimo said. “There might be club teams during that season to play, but we’re not sure exactly which season we will be playing in yet.”

In the school’s past, some sports teams, including football, have been attempted to be added by students, but this is the first successful one in a while.

“It was really hard [to get the team started] because a lot of the efforts had to be lead by Sam and I [sic],” Mimo said. “It’s really amazing that they gave us the PE, but it was really hard to get and took a lot of work.”

Teams like softball have been canceled and re-added multiple times, but none have been added for the first time in the school’s recent history. Cliff explained that because softball is in the BCL East division, the games were closer to campus and with schools in our division.

“Lacrosse is part of the BCL West division, so most games would be across the bridge, which gives a geological disadvantage,” Cliff said.

All skill levels are welcome to participate, and the team will not be participating in the league with other teams until next year.

Students Soar with Experiential Education

By Ishanni Gokli ’18

“I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial, and above all, compassion.” – Kurt Hahn

Experiential education is a fundamental part of being an Athenian student. Our students truly take pride in having it as a part of our daily curriculum, and an exemplary example of this is the Advanced Physics project taken on by Akshay Shah, Trenton Tan, and Anthony Ottati ’16.

Hang gliding Diablo 4The three seniors are building a hang glider for a project in their Advanced Physics class.

The Athenian class of ‘71 alum, Tim Holm, with his love of hang-gliding and adventure, inspired them to design and take on this project.

Tim Holm always wanted to build and fly a plane but never thought he would have the funding to do so. During Athenian’s Project Week (now Interim), Holm designed and built a plane for $8. His launch wasn’t successful and Holm cracked a vertebra. However, Holm felt grateful and passionate for his experience. 20151206_150143In a reflection on this flight, he wrote, “Not once have I regretted my decision to fly, for now, I know that I can.”

“We really wanted to explore and innovate like Tim Holm would have,” said Shah. “Our choice to attempt to make a biplane hang glider really lets us make use of the experiential learning aspect offered at Athenian: which I think Tim Holm would have been into.”

Akshay described their process of trial and error: “We went to Home Depot and bought all the materials we needed. Bruce Hamren gave us the cloth for the final design. We started by looking up a few designs and going through the pros and cons of each. We decided on a biplane design since it was the most effective. The three of us built it in the Maker’s Studio and outside of the orchard classrooms. We did have some problems throughout the building process, especially with attaching the cloth to the pipes, but we improvised and it ended up working out.”

With a project so fulfilling, the spirit of Tim Holm is embodied Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 9.33.17 AMby the three seniors.

By taking on this inspiring feat, it speaks to how Athenian students challenge themselves for the pursuit of knowledge and the spirit of adventure.

Cross Country Captain Recaps the Season

by Anthony Ottati ’16, XC Team Captain

Last year at Joaquin Miller Park, the boy’s team lost by six points to College Preparatory School, and we were not able to win a single league meet that whole year. This snapped a three-year winning streak for the Owls. But thousands of miles later, even after losing on our home course by one point, we reclaimed the league title last weekend, beating College Prep 34 to 36.

One thing about cross country is that luck is non-existent: championships aren’t won on one lucky call from the umpire, or one lucky bounce of an onsides kick. Each person on both teams trained hard for the race, some for four years. But as you are on the starting line waiting for the gun to go off, most of the hard work is behind you: the workouts, the miles and at this point the chances of a miraculous 10 minute Personal Record are slim to none.

For those who want to improve on their performance for next year (which should be everybody on the team), winners are not made on the last 100m kick to the finish. They are made through consistent year-round training over track and cross-country.

This is best exemplified by Athenian 5th man Andrew Kocins. In scoring, the 5th man is the most valuable, because as the last scorer they have the risk of scoring the most points. However, through hard work, Andrew set a 30 second PR and moved up from 18th last year to 10th yesterday to secure a victory for the owls.

This year, for the first time, an Athenian, Dara Goldfein, won the girls’ JV race. Back in 2012, during my freshman year, our girls team only had one committed year-round runner, and due to our lack of depth, College Prep swept the first 10 places in the JV race. Three years later, the girls program has become incredibly  successful, winning multiple league titles, and placing 3rd in NCS last year. While they did not win league champs this year, the JV top 7 finishes of freshmen Dara GoldfeinJenna Hajny  and Anne Domning all bode well for the future of the team.
For many, Tuesday’s meet was the last race of the season. For seniors Cade Niles and Vishnu Peri,
today marked their last cross country race in their high school careers. We will be holding daily practices all the way up until Thanksgiving break and all runners are welcome but not required to come out and keep running. At the end of the first semester, usually right when final exams begin, we do an annual summit run to the top of Mt. Diablo. If you have still been running, then you are welcome to come on out and conquer the 13-mile, 3500ft elevation gain run.
For our varsity teams, the season is not over yet. On Saturday, November 21st, we will compete against schools from all over Northern California at the NCS meet at Hayward High School. The girls will race at 10:40 followed by the boys at 12:20. Both teams will attempt to qualify for the California State meet in Clovis the next weekend. The top 5 boys teams and top 6 girls teams make it to  State. We look forward to taking this momentum into the postseason.

Spring Sports Review

This Spring’s athletes shined at league and state tournaments.  Congratulations to all our scholar-athletes who participated in Spring sports!


Track and Field

Grace Brown ’17 and Dawson Reckers ’17 qualified for the North Coast Section Meet of Champions at UC Berkeley on May 29 and 30th.  Grace qualified for the 800 and 1600 meter and Dawson qualified for the finals in the 1600 meter.  Congrats Grace & Dawson!





Varsity Golf

The golf team performed well this year. Ryan Grauman ’18 was a standout, named MVP of the BCL-East accumulating an impressive 1.56 index for 9 holes played.  Ryan set the School record this year with a 3 under 31 at Diablo Country Club and he won the league tournament shooting a 3 under 69.




2015 relay[1]

Women’s Swimming

The women’s swim team sent four swimmers to State this year! Athenian’s freestyle relay team–Emily Hamren ’15, Kenna Van Steyn ’17, Emma Cottrill ’17, and Natalie Knowles ’16–placed 10th at State in the 4×200 and qualified for All-American status. Emma also competed in and finished 7th in the State for the 50 Freestyle and qualified for individual All-American Status.



IMG_3438College-Bound Athletes

Congratulations to our scholar-athletes from the Class of 2015 who will continue to play competitively in college.  You have represented yourself, your team and the School with honor.  Well done!  Good luck to each of you in your respective sports.

From left to right:
Dylan DeWalt, basketball, Pacific Lutheran University
Sam Hollenbach, baseball, Macalister
Tessa Sternberg, soccer, Occidental College
Miguel Rodriguez, soccer, Goucher College
Annalise Stevenson, crew, Colgate University
Zach Ottati, swimming, Williams College
Abigail Kardek, softball, University of Oregon
Gabrielle Rigby, sailing, Western Washington University

Freshman Peyton to Compete in Equestrian Nationals

UnknownFreshman Peyton Freeman ’17 qualified to compete in Hunt Seat Nationals at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Championships to be held in West Springfield, Massachusetts, May 16-18. Peyton is one of two riders in California to qualify in the Varsity Intermediate Over Fences Class which requires riders to jump up to three feet on their usual mounts at home (compared to five feet at the Grand Prix). Peyton is among a total of 24 riders from California who will be competing in the Nationals competition, from a field of 340 students and 38 teams who competed in all classes.

Peyton has been on Athenian’s equestrian team since its formation in 2013. Only her second year competing with a scholastic equestrian team, Peyton went from placing fourth and sixth in her first competition to qualifying for Nationals this year. This is the first year Athenian will send a student to Nationals.

Unknown-2“Peyton rode a beautiful, nearly perfect round over fences, earning her high scores in the 80s,” said Athenian’s equestrian coach, Hilary Johnson. “Peyton’s hard work and dedication throughout the IEA season showed as she piloted her horse through the eight-fence course. Peyton has repeatedly shown that she competes well under pressure and has developed her skills at adjusting quickly to different types of horses. She has worked hard on strength training by practicing many hours without stirrups both on the flat and over fences courses. It has been a true pleasure watching her growth as an equestrian athlete and I look forward to coaching her at Nationals.”

One of the challenges of Hunt Seat, according to Johnson, is that riders do not compete on their own horses and do not use their own equipment. Unknown-4Riders draw a number before each class that corresponds with a horse. The riders are given a brief description of each horse and have only a few minutes to mount and adjust their stirrups. Then they are allowed an extremely limited time to perform a short two-jump warm up pattern and proceed to the competition arena. Often the rider does not get a true sense of their mount’s athletic ability until they are actually in the show ring.

More than 500 of the nation’s leading middle school and high school equestrians will compete for top prizes at the 2014 Hunt Sea Nationals Finals. The competitors represent the best of nearly 9,000 riders on more than 250 teams from eight zones in 32 states that competed in numerous shows during the year.

Good luck at Nationals, Peyton!


Athenian Athletics: It’s About More Than Winning

Two sophomore students on Athenian’s basketball teams get to the bottom of how Athenian’s sports teams are about more than wining games. 


Trying a New Sport
By Christian Torru ’16

The men’s basketball program at Athenian is one of many great extra curricular activities available to students at our school. The basketball program is not only notable because it has a good division 5 varsity team, but because it is a program that accepts all and teaches students not only how to become better basketball players, but athletes, and more importantly, leaders.

In my experience–being a soccer player and a swimmer–starting basketball was a little nerve-wracking because I had never played on a basketball team before and I did not think I would do very well. I decided to play anyway because it sounded like a good experience and a place to be have fun with friends. Once I got to the first practice my freshman year, I realized that the season would be awesome, not scary. The coaches were very helpful and insightful, and I improved my game significantly in the first week alone, which I did not believe would be possible. By the end of my freshman season, I had become one of the top scorers and I was a starter.

Another thing I learned from my freshmen year on the team was balancing school and sports, because freshman year I discovered that high school is a challenge; you really have to manage your time so you can go to practice and be successful in school. Now that I am a sophomore and school is getting more rigorous, this skill of time management has been an extremely useful tool that has taught me to plan ahead so I can succeed in school.

Joining the Varsity Team as a Sophomore 
By Max Vukelich ’16

Although I have only been apart of the basketball team for a month or so, I can already tell you how many great opportunities and privileges it offers. The coaches and the players do a great job of representing the school and being open to new members of the team.

bball (1 of 1)

Because I was the only new player joining the varsity team this year, I was expecting to be on the outside looking in for the beginning weeks of the year. I didn’t know the plays, I wasn’t very familiar with the coaches and their style of coaching, and I had only talked to a few of the players on the team before joining since I’m a sophomore and the rest of the team are upperclassmen. I thought that I would have a tough time fitting in with the rest of my new teammates, but to my surprise, I didn’t. All of the players that I hadn’t met before introduced themselves, were very respectful, and were happy to meet their newest teammate. They helped me along in the plays and gave me friendly advice on how to improve my game.

Now, just a month into the season, I feel like I can go to anyone in that locker room and I know they will be there for me. Some of my closest friends are on this team. If it wasn’t for this opportunity, I might never have been friends with let alone talk with these people.

The coaches, Tony Dominguez and Robert Henschel, were also incredibly delightful and compassionate to me in my transition to the team. They allowed me to ask any questions if I needed to so I could help myself get on the same page as the rest of the players. They have great relationships with each of their players. Even in this short time knowing them, I know they will always have my back, on and off the court. They have figured out how to balance Athenian’s nurturing environment with developing a winning culture on the court.

This unbelievable school has so many chances for people to express themselves and be apart of a community. If you don’t play basketball, I know that there are plenty of other teams and clubs that offer a similar atmosphere as the basketball team does. I am so thankful that I get to be a part of such an incredible team, school, but most importantly, to be with such amazing people. Everyone in this community thrives here and the basketball team is a great example of how Athenian’s culture can create amazing opportunities for its students. 

Follow Athenian’s basketball teams on MaxPreps.

Billanook College Students Teach Australian Football

Twenty-four high school students from Billanook College, a Round Square school in Melbourne Australia, visited Athenian this week. On a Bay Area stopover on their way to Vancouver, the Australian students spent a day at Athenian, teaching Middle School P.E. classes, lunching with Upper Schoolers, and playing Australian football. They brought with them 30 Australian footballs which they donated to the school. Thank you, Billanook students, for sharing your experience and athletic equipment with Athenian!

Read more about international Round Square experiences at Athenian:

Netball, Saturday School, Tea and Uniforms: Study Abroad in the United Kingdom

The Beat Goes On…Athenian Students Get Into the Rhythm of South Africa

Wishes for the World

Athenians on Exchange

Haley Goes to India

Cross Country: League Champions

Congratulations to the Cross Country team! The boys won their third championship in a row and the girls are League Champs for the first time in school history!

Over the past five years, Athenian’s Cross Country team has more than doubled in size. This year, 79% of the team saw improvements over their running times, a rate higher than more than half of the 109 North Coast Section teams.

For full team and individual statistics, go to Athenian’s team page at XCstats.

DSC_1831Athenian 13 (86) (1) Athenian 13 (5) Athenian 13 (27)DSC_1836

Athenian Summer Programs: Devil Mountain Summer Camp and Classes

A Summer of Awesome is flying by–Athenian Summer Camp is already in Session 2!

It’s not too late to sign up for Adventure Camp’s White Water Rafting trip, Video Production camp, and Summit Seekers for Session 3! Register here.

This year, there are more than 600 campers on Athenian’s campus, including more than 30 current Athenian students. There is also a record number of current and former Athenian students working as CITs and camp counselors and Athenian faculty teaching classes.

New at Devil Mountain Summer Camp:

  • Yoga
  • Sports Intensives
  • LEGO classes
  • Biology: Wild Things int he Web of Life
  • Engineering Challenge for Girls
  • Harmonica and Ocarina
  • Creative and Analytical Writing
  • Real World Math
  • Get Your Gleek On!