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Preseason Training Sets Fall 2021 Sports Season Into Motion


As the various scholastic endeavors of the year approached, fall sports at Berkeley High School (BHS) began before the school year’s start.

Water Polo – The girls and boys water polo teams took a plunge into the fall season, the boys team coming off of a West Alameda County Conference (WACC) championship. Head coach Bill Gaebler held a drop-in session for four weeks in July, and the girls team is currently working on conditioning. Gaebler noted that after losing eight seniors from last spring’s team, “filling in our starting lineup is going to be the biggest challenge on the varsity level.” Out of the 50 girls signed up, almost half of them are new to the sport. With a bounty of fresh blood, Gaebler expressed that the teams are going to be very quick, with strength on the offensive side. BHS will be hosting a tournament August 19 through August 21, which Gaebler expects will provide a good preseason indication of where the teams are, physically and technically. 

Cross Country – On August 9, roads and trails in Berkeley were graced with the strength of BHS runners as the cross country season kicked off. Third-year cross country runner and junior in Academic Choice (AC), Alana Lee, stressed that injury prevention will be of the utmost importance this season. “We all want to make sure that we are constantly training and trying to prevent injury, which I think a lot of people put off,” said Lee. In the midst of COVID-19 restrictions, cross country and track were combined into a condensed season last year. Lee expressed excitement about returning to a season entirely dedicated to cross country. “I think that it is going to be really nice to have a true cross country season that is focused on cross country instead of a mixture like last year,” said Lee. 

Crew – After a two-year period devoid of regattas and outside competition, crew members are excited to resume a normal year of their sport. The team has held preseason practices throughout the summer, and rowers have built strength through weight room workouts. Introducing newcomers to the tight-knit community of crew is at the forefront of their goals for the upcoming season. Wesley Smith, a junior in Berkeley International High School (BIHS) and varsity rower on the boys crew team, emphasized that crew fosters a strong bond between rowers, which reflects in their performance. “We get on BART together, go to the store together, we have team bonding events,” said Smith. The crew team is looking forward to attending the Southwest Regionals this spring. Boats receiving a high placement will have the opportunity to attend the US Rowing Nationals, which the BHS crew team hopes to qualify for this spring.

Tennis – After a spring semi-season, the fall season is looking much more promising for the girls tennis team. The team is aiming to uphold their 2019 league championship title this season. Head coach of the girls tennis team, Mary Bedford, plans to put emphasis on volleying and coming to net. She expressed that court space is going to pose some challenges this year, forcing a more limited training schedule. “Suddenly we have only three courts for our team because we are sharing with King Middle School,” she said. Despite many of their talented seniors graduating, both girls teams have a strong core group of players. “Everybody, including me, is so happy to be outside playing tennis again,” said Bedford.