Swimmers prepare to exit the pool

There were as many highlights to the region swim meet as there are lanes in the pool.

Three swimmers, junior Cole Kershner, junior Alex Lynch and freshman Zoe Lynch, qualified for the state meet, which is the highest number of qualifiers the swim team has had in awhile. It was also senior captain Claire Rudy’s last meet, as well as the first region meet for freshmen Hannah Gates and Natalie Simon, as well as before mentioned Zoe Lynch.

Junior Alex Lynch took third in the 200-yard IM and first in the 100-yard breast. He will compete at the state tournament this weekend in both events. Photo by Juliee Beyt.

Zoe Lynch has been swimming since she was in the third grade. “My whole family swims, so I grew up swimming. I really like McCallum swimming because I like being part of a team and that good environment,” she said.

Lynch swam the girls 100 breaststroke and pushed through to get second place, making her a state qualifier.

“I was excited to compete with the other fast swimmers from the other high schools,” Lynch said. “It was fun because I met new people who I raced against and that was nice because it was my first time competing for my school in such a big meet.”

As a freshman, qualifying for a state meet is a big deal, and not done by many swimmers. The last to do it at McCallum was her brother, Alex.

“I’m excited to go, I’m excited to go with two other people from our team and represent McCallum,” Lynch said.

Freshman Zoe Lynch took second in the 100-yard breast and automatically qualified for the state swim meet in that event. Photo by Juliee Beyt.

Speaking of which, junior Alex Lynch also qualified for the state meet. This is his third year going to state, but this year he wasn’t seeded to go.

“So for the 100 breaststroke I think I was seeded third … first place seed was Landon Alarcon, who’s a really fast guy, I swim against him a lot,” Lynch said about his qualifying race. “I knew I could beat him, it was really just finding the perfect race, had to make sure I felt good out of the gate. I knew I had him on turns and pullouts, that was kind of an advantage that I had. Going off that last wall, I was even with him … then got the better pull-out and just you know brought it home from there.”

“For those races, like against Landon in the breaststroke, I know I have the reach on him, so it’s really just a matter of executing that finish,” Lynch said. “I was able to calculate the number of strokes I needed to take to get into it, and it ended up paying off, I think I ended up winning by about 15 hundredths of a second or so. … During the breaststroke, your eyes are focused forward so the last look I really had at him was in the pullout, so you know I was kind of just swimming blind, just hoping stroke for stroke would be efficient enough to win.”

And it was. Lynch ended up in first place for the breaststroke, as well as getting third in the boys 200 IM which he got called up for.

Junior Cole Kershner, left, took third place in the 50-yard free and swam fast enough to be called up to the state meet. In addition, the boys 200-yard freestyle relay shown here (Kershner, Jack Hester, Alex Lynch and Marco Emami) finished fifth at region. Photo by Juliee Beyt.

The last state qualifier this year was junior Cole Kershner. He placed third in the 50 free, getting a new personal best time of 21.8 seconds.

“[Right before I swim], I really think about going over what I need to do, thinking about technique, and what I’ve been doing wrong, then I fixed it, and then I went really fast,” Kershner said. “I kind of knew like where I was gonna [place], because in my first race I missed the flip-turn, so I knew if I hit that flip-turn, I would go a lot faster,” he said.

For state, the top two swimmers for every region automatically go, but they also pool together the rest of the swimmers and choose the fastest eight. Kershner was chosen for state in this manner, but you never know for sure until after all the region meets are over.

I knew I could beat him, it was really just finding the perfect race.”

— Alex Lynch (11)

“I figured I would make call-ups, but I mean I wasn’t gonna be like ‘Yeah I made state!’ because I was still waiting,” he said.

Even if he hadn’t made state, it still would have been a successful swim; he hit a new personal best and team record of 21.8.

“Yeah [I got a new personal best]! 21.8. It was good!” Kershner said. He also said he hopes break his record again at state; “I’m gonna try to get a new personal best, hopefully a 21.3 or something. Hopefully place well in state.”

Senior captain Claire Rudy swam her last high school meet at regionals too. As a captain and the only senior to go to region, Rudy was determined to make it her best meet.

Right before my last race was when I really felt it the most. I was like, ‘Ok, I’m just gonna go all out right now because I’ll never have the chance again.”

— Claire Rudy (12)

“Right before my last race was when I really felt it the most.,” Rudy said. “I was like, ‘Ok, I’m just gonna go all out right now because I’ll never have the chance again’…  I’ve been trying to get this time that I wanted, I got it sophomore year once and I haven’t been able to get a 27 [seconds] on my 50 [meters] since [forever]. And then it happened again, and I just told myself I’d do it again and then it happened,” Rudy said of her 50 free in the 200 free relay, which was her last event at the meet.

She has swam for most of her life, and with her father Jeff Rudy as the coach she is inspired to keep doing swim.

“I have always liked swimming,” she said. “I’ve done it since I was five, and so I was thankful for the opportunity of the competitive aspect. I never did year-round swimming, so this was as close as can get to just continuing to swim. I feel like swim is something you can do forever, so I want to do it as much as I can now,” Rudy said.

Her relay team got called to finals, and ended up placing eighth.

As this year’s swim season comes to a close, the swimmers at least made sure to go out with a bang. Every swimmer set a personal best at some point. This weekend (Friday and Saturday at the UT swim center), the state meet will take place and after that meet, the swim season will be over until the 2020 season.



Girls varsity extends win streak to 6

In the first of two #TuesdayTop10 photo essays, this week, we are pleased to take you back to House Park to revisit the girls varsity and JV games played there last Friday night.

GIRLS VARSITY 5, CROCKETT 0: In the varsity game, the Knights kept their district record unblemished after three games with a 5-0 clinical takedown of Crockett at House Park Friday night. The win also extends the team’s win streak to six. Mia Gomez scored twice and Gillian Rashid, Avery Miller and Delaney Carter accounted for the other three goals. Carter also had an assist along with Karen Esparza and Anna McClellan. The team hopes to get to 4-0 in district and get consecutive win No. 7 when the Knights face the Reagan Raiders at 7:45 p.m. tonight at the cozy confines of the Noack Sports Complex.

JV GIRLS 0, CROCKETT 0: Freshman goalkeeper Emma Mattie preserved a scoreless tie when she made a crucial save after colliding with a Crockett striker who had broken free and created a chance to win the game for the Cougars. The Friday night draw was marked by good defense on both sides, and the Mac defensive effort was led by senior center back Alison Arteaga. The Knights’ offensive effort was led by senior Emily Matkin who created many scoring opportunities and freshman Lily Dickey who handled many of the free kicks the Knights were awarded throughout the game. The JV Knights hope to resume their scoring and winning ways when they take on Reagan at 6 p.m. tonight at Noack.

A team of her own

When junior Rose Dotson decided to try out for the 2018-2019 bowling team at McCallum High School, the big question wasn’t whether or not she would make the team but rather whether there would be a team at all.

Frances Arellano
Coach Ann Shivers helps Dotson works on her bowling technique during the team’s practice at Dart Bowl last Wednesday.

With a boys program well-established and competing well, the bowling program tried and failed to muster a girls team the year before.

Thankfully for Dotson, four other girls also decided to join to bowling team last fall and as a result, McCallum was able to form its first all-girls bowling team.

“I’m really happy that this is McCallum’s first girls bowling team,” Dotson said. “I was originally told that I wasn’t going to be able to bowl unless other girls would show up, or I was going to be stuck on the JV boys team, but since other girls showed up, now I have other girls to bowl with.”

Dotson first got her experience of bowling at the age of 5 when her dad put her in a father-daughter league, but as she got older and found other pursuits, she had to leave the lanes behind.

“She got pretty good at bowling and had to quit later on,” Dotson’s mom Luisa said. “She got too busy with her after school activities.”

I was originally told that I wasn’t going to be able to bowl unless other girls would show up or I was going to be stuck on the JV boys team, but since other girls showed up, now I have other girls to bowl with.”

— Rose Dotson

Dotson’s whole family enjoys bowling. Her dad, Daren was really into bowling, and it was something that her grandfather, Gary had taught him to do. When he realized Rose liked it, it made him so happy that this tradition was still going on in their family.

“I think there are a select few who can take a liking into bowling and with a proper amount of practice it’s very invigorating and the feeling of getting a strike is very fulfilling,” Dotson said. “I think those who discover their little successes like that really get better at the sport, and I think that could be said for a lot of people on the McCallum bowling team.”

Rose has been wanting to bowl competitively for some time, and now that she quit track and cross country, she was able to do something that she used to love as a child.

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TACO SHACK BOWLING: The football team defeated Anderson in a non-district game to start its season last August. The Mac bowling teams did the same on Friday night, as the boys and girls bowling teams opened their seasons with decisive non-district victories over their Trojan counterparts at Spare Time Lanes in Pflugerville. "We beat them by almost 1,000 pins," John Pratt told MacJournalism. Gordon Bolton rolled a 201 and a 236 to lead the boys effort. Zoey Rucker bowled a 145 and Rose Dotson a 142 to spearhead the girls effort in the first-ever girls match for Mac Bowling. The boys won every singles game and every Baker game, in which team members bowl alternate frames in a collective game. The girls won all their singles games all but one Baker game, which was a tie. The Mac bowlers are back in action at Dart Bowl on Friday, Nov. 30 when they host Hendrickson in another non-district match. Anderson will also compete at Dart on Nov. 30 when the Trojans host the Weiss Wolves. Photos by Frances Arellano, Ivy Golyzniak and Kelly Pratt. #MacBowling #TacoShack #TacoShackBowl #SpareTime

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“I’ve been doing it for so long, but I have learned that bowling is not a key skill for many people,” Rose Dotson said. “Bowling can be very difficult because there is a lot more technique going on. There’s a lot of analyzing where you stand, and you have to know how you personally release a ball, you need to know how to hold a ball, how to throw it, aim, how to curve the ball, and how all individual balls work.”

After defeating McCallum beat Anderson 15-2 on Friday night, Dotson gained one place in district ranking by individual average. Dotson ranks sixth in the THSBC Austin Capital district with an average of 104 pins. As a team, the Knights are 5-1 on the year including 4-0 in district play.

Knights win revenge rematch with Raiders

Before a large and energetic crowd in the Don Caldwell Gymnasium on Friday night, the boys varsity basketball team ambushed the Reagan Raiders, avenging a Jan. 2 loss and then some with a 70-44 victory that left the teams tied for third place in District 25-5A.

Dave Winter
Rather than avoiding the tallest player on the court, Takai Satberry challenged him, leaping high to shoot over 6-8 center Josiyah Thorn.

Guard Sam Werkenthin was the player of the game, leading the team in scoring with 20, a total he arrived at by nailing six of eight 3-point attempts (plus a couple of made free throws). Every made 3-pointer felt like an explosion as the large crowd and the Knight bench rose to its feet to cheer loudly every time Werkenthin’s long-range shot touched nothing but net. The junior sharpshooter made three 3-pointers in the team’s 25-point first quarter and another in a 17-point second stanza as the Knights built an unassailable 18-point halftime margin.

While Werkenthin was dangerous from downtown, the Knights’ interior players were also effective. They did not shy away from the Raiders’ big man in the middle: 6-8 center Josiyah Thorn. Rather, the Knight players drove right at the big man on several possessions in the first half, creating open looks for teammates or drawing contact and resulting free throws.

The team also benefited from a great night on defense thanks in large part to the hustle and energy provided by defensive stalwarts Darius Lewis and Jeremiah Ashton.

The Knights extended their lead by six points in the second half for a 26-point margin of victory.

The Raiders routed the Knights by almost the exact same margin, 70-42, on Jan. 2, in a game where the Knights were short-handed.

McCallum’s next test is on the road at Travis on Tuesday. The Knights won the first round between the traditional rivals, 65-56, on Jan. 4.

Shout out to Emmett Sweeney for his continued help with the stats.

Boys varsity basketball thumps Reagan 1-25-2019 (DW)

A touchdown worth more than six points

The outcome of the freshman football game between McCallum and Lanier at Nelson Baseball Field on Oct. 10 had been determined long before a reserve running back from McCallum scored what seemed to be a meaningless fourth-quarter touchdown. To the casual observer,  it was just six more points added to a lopsided score, but to Joaquin White and his teammates and coaches, the rushing TD was worth a lot more than just six points.

“Joaquin works as hard or harder than anyone on the team,” said offensive left tackle Johan Holmes, who was blocking for White on his scoring play.

Judging from the reaction of Holmes and his teammates, who erupted on the sidelines in celebration, one might have thought that White had just scored the winning touchdown in next week’s Super Bowl.

Annabel Winter
As his teammates and coaches cheer behind him, freshman Tino Rodriguez awaits the arrival of teammate Joaquin White after White scored a touchdown in the Knights 60-6 victory over Lanier at Nelson Baseball Field on Oct. 10. Photo by Annabel Winter.

But team wasn’t really celebrating the touchdown but rather the character and heart of the teammate who scored it.

White attended every single practice, workout and football game the freshman team had throughout the season.

Joaquin works as hard or harder than anyone on the team.”

— offensive left tackle Johan Holmes

“I can always count on seeing Joaquin at the early morning workouts and the practices” said Coach Brad Bernard, who coached the offensive line.

The 2018 season was White’s first year playing football. “I signed up for football because I wanted to try something new and meet new people,” said White, who has played baseball for most of his life.

On the morning of the game, White had no clue what was about to happen seven hours later.  The Knights hit the Lanier Vikings with everything they had. On offense, No. 20 Breyonn Wooley scored three rushing touchdowns, and quarterback Jaxon Rosales rushed for one and threw to Major Faught for another. Even reserve running back Jose Delacruz-Florez found the end zone for a rushing touchdown. On defense, the Knights intercepted the Vikings three times with Peyton Bergeron and Faught each returning a pick for a touchdown.

[The touchdown] was special to me … for a week or so.”

— Running back Joaquin White

The Knights led 41-0 at half, and by the fourth quarter, the only drama left involved White’s entry into the game at tailback. His first efforts to run the ball were repelled by a resilient Viking D. But on fourth-and-15 at the 50-yard line, Rosales scrambled for 40 yards to give the Knights and White a first-and-goal and one more chance for White to score.

White had no idea what was about to happen on the next play. The atmosphere in the huddle before the play seemed perfectly ordinary.

“The huddle was the same,” Holmes said, “a moment to relax.”

But then the team approached the line of scrimmage. When White got the ball, it looked like he was going to be tackled for a loss again, but White exerted a tremendous second effort and for the first time in his football career scored a touchdown.

Madelynn Niles
Joaquin White’s freshman teammates leap skyward to celebrate his fourth-quarter touchdown against the Lanier Vikings at Nelson Baseball Field. Photo by Madelynn Niles.

“I really didn’t think I would score,” White said. “But I just ran, and I broke the plain.”

Everyone on the sideline couldn’t contain their emotions.

“We all went crazy,” Devon Wald said. “Right after the play we rushed and jumped on him.”

The team wasn’t alone in its excitement. The coaches reacted to the touchdown in the same way.

“I saw the coaches, and they were smiling,” Holmes said.

It was a special moment for White and for his teammates, but only for a little while.

“Yes of course it was special to me,” White said, “for a week or so.”

Lords of the lanes

The boys and girls bowling teams both claimed sole possession of first place in the THSBC Austin Capital District on Friday with victories over Hendrickson at Dart Bowl.

In a battle between the two teams tied for first in the district, the Mac girls bowling team (2-0, 3-1) came from behind to defeat previously undefeated Hendrickson (1-1, 3-1), 9-7. Mac trailed 3-1 after the individual games but dominated the Baker games to claim the victory.

Frances Arellano
During last Wednesday’s practice session at Dart Bowl, Coach Ann Shivers worked with the girls team on converting spares where only 10-pin is left standing after the first ball. The girls team is hoping to improve its average scores by converting more spares. Photo by Frances Arellano.

The boys’ victory over Hendrickson was less dramatic. The Knights (2-0, 4-0) swept the individual round and won all but one Baker game to cruise to a 14-2 victory. Max Cioci rolled a 241 in the match, his top game and the highest single-game score of any Mac bowler so far this season.

For the season, the boys are not only undefeated but they’ve won virtually every individual and Baker game they’ve played. The boys have won 48 of a possible 52 points this season.

“The guys are doing great and don’t need much help,” girls bowler Frances Arellano said. “They keep getting strikes.”

The boys are not only undefeated, but they’ve won virtually every individual and Baker game they’ve played.”

A team earns one point for a victory in the individual games and two points for every Baker game won. In a Baker game, the bowlers on the team alternate frames and earn an aggregate team score.

Both the Mac girls and boys are in first place after two district matches with four left to play. The teams square off against Weiss on Friday at Spare Time Lanes in Pflugerville. The Weiss girls (0-2, 0-4) are hoping for their first team win of the season. The Weiss boys (1-1, 2-2) have enjoyed more success and boast the boys bowler with the fourth best average in district.

To qualify for the regional tournament, Mac must finish first or second in the district. The boys and girls with the four highest averages also qualify for the regional tournament as individuals. Currently, McCallum has two girls bowlers in the top four and three boys in the top four.

Ivy Golyzniak
Max Cioci rolled a 241 on Friday night, the top score for any Mac bowler all season. Photo by Ivy Golyzniak.

Zoey Rucker (114.5) and Frances Arellano (113.0) have the No. 2 and No. 3 individual averages and would qualify for the regional tournament if they finish district play in the top four. The McCallum boys have five of the top six bowlers by average in the district. Anthony Bourda (188.25), Max Cioci (185.0), and Gavin Lee (177.5) have the top three averages and would qualify for regionals if they finish in the top four. Gordon Bolton (168.75) and Bruno Cioci (165.25) are just outside the top four at No. 5 and No. 6 in the individual average rankings. Either would qualify by moving into the top four by the end of the district season.

The next Dart Bowl match for McCallum is Feb. 1 against Anderson. The Anderson girls team is tied for second in district at 1-1 with a 2-2 season record. The Anderson boys (0-2, 0-4) are looking for their first win of the season.

Max Cioci rolled a 241, the highest single-game score of any Mac bowler this season.”

After a match against Hendrickson at Spare Time Lanes on Feb. 8, McCallum will close the district season with matches at Dart Bowl against against Weiss.

At Wednesday’s practice session, Coach Ann Shivers worked with the girls team on converting spares where only 10-pin is left standing after the first ball. The girls team is hoping to improve its average scores by converting more spares.


Sports profile: Tracy Atoo

The Shield: Why did you decide to come to McCallum?

Tracy Atoo: I wanted to come because they had a really good fine arts program, and I like theatre so I wanted to do that.

TS: What was your life like before coming to the United States?

TA: It was honestly pretty hard because we were growing up in a war zone, but it wasn’t too awful.

TS: Where did you live?

TA: I lived in Lira, Uganda.

Tracy Atoo drives towards the hoop in the JV Girls Basketball 57-16 loss to Vandegrift on Nov. 30, 2018. “I like basketball because of the community,” Atoo said. Photo by Anna Bausman.

TS: When did you leave for the United States?

TA: I came here seven years when my mom got a scholarship, and she brought us here the next year.

TS: What has life been like in the United States compared to Uganda?

TA: It is a lot better because you’re obviously not in a war zone. People are pretty nice here.

TS: What sports do you play?

TA: Volleyball, wrestling and basketball.

TS: Which sport do enjoy the most?

TA: I like basketball because of the community; it’s fun and loving, and you feel welcome.

TS: What do you think the most important thing to do is to win in wrestling?

TA: It is important to build endurance because you get tired fast, and if you can have that one boost of energy you can win.

TS: What is it like balancing two sports in the same season?

TA: It’s challenging. You have to split your practice time between the two sports. Since I have wrestling during the [school] day, I usually go to basketball practice [after school].

TS: Are you involved in any other school activities?

TA: I am in the fashion show.

Tracy Atoo hits the ball back to San Marcos during the freshman B’team’s 2-1 loss to San Marcos on Aug. 31. Atoo has played volleyball since seventh grade when she moved here with her family seven years ago. Photo by Risa Darlington-Horta.

TS: What is being in the fashion show like?

TA: It feels great because you’re in the fashion show, and you get to walk, and everyone is like ‘Wow, it’s Tracy!’

TS: How did it feel being in the homecoming court this year?

TA: I was so excited, and I was really happy. I love everybody who voted and I am so grateful that I was the baroness.

TS: What are you looking forward to this school year and the rest of your time at McCallum?

TA: I am looking forward to getting better at each sport and getting good grades, and having a good time overall.

TS: How would you describe your McCallum experience so far?

TA: So far it has been great. People are nice and everyone does their own thing and no one is that judgy of you.

TS: What prior experience do you have playing each sport?

TA: I started playing volleyball and basketball in seventh grade in school. I never played out of school. I used to play soccer, but I don’t play anymore.

TS: Have you ever done wrestling?

TA: No, this is my first year.

Playing sports is a great escape from everything. I mainly joined sports so I could learn more skills and get a college scholarship.”

— Tracy Atoo

TS: What differences do you see between all three sports you play?

TA: With wrestling, I know I have to have more endurance and have to build some muscle. Basketball is about the speed, and in volleyball, you have to be really powerful in the arms so that you can hit well.

TS: Why did you leave your home country? Were you forced to?

TA: My mom got a scholarship to UT and after that she decided to bring my brother and I here the next year. After my mom was already in the USA. She applied for political asylum.

TS: What made you want to be so involved in school sports?

TA: Playing sports is a great escape from everything. I mainly joined sports so I could learn more skills and get a college scholarship.

TS: If you had one word to describe the change from middle school to high school, what would it be?

TA: Great!

TS: What keeps you motivated to play all of these sports?

TA: The fact that I can get into college and become a doctor so I can help my country out motivates me.

TS: Where do you see athletics taking you?

TA: I see sports taking me to college and leading me to a better life.

TS: What does it feel like to be an official citizen as of recent?

TA: It is honestly such a relief. Not being a citizen in the U.S. was scary. There were always chances of being deported. If we were to have been deported, I don’t even know what would happen. My family would definitely be in trouble with the president of Uganda.

Knights win one for Coach Caldwell

Video by Randy Varela, provided to MacJournalism by Emmett Sweeney via Stuart Wade. Reposted with permission.

Coach Caldwell was watching over us. That last-second layup; that was all Coach Caldwell.’”

— varsity assistant coach Carlin Shaw

The clock winds down as double overtime draws to a close. The Vikings lead the Knights 57-56 after a successful layup. The Knights call a timeout with 30 seconds left on the clock. The Knights hurry the ball down the court, the energy in the stadium at a fever pitch, and they pass the ball around up top trying to find a good shot. Finally Takai Satberry drives towards the hoop with five seconds left on the clock. His shot clangs off the backboard but on the other side Rob Wade is there to tip the ball back in. He misses the first time, and the audience gasps, but then he puts it up again, the buzzer sounds with the ball frozen in midair above the rim and then, miraculously, it sinks in as time expires. The gymnasium explodes into pandemonium as Wade’s teammates and members of the McCallum student section rush the court to celebrate with Wade.

If it seems like a moment of divine intervention, well, perhaps that’s exactly what it was.

ON A DRIVE: Darius Lewis drives to the hoop in the Knights’ 58-57 double-overtime over the Lanier Vikings. Gregory James.

The Knights won the game last Friday night, 58-57, to go 3-2 in district play. Satberry led a balanced team scoring with 14 points. Wade and senior forward Norman Boyd scored 12 points, followed by Albert Garza with nine and Sam Werkenthin with eight.

Individual game stats and even the team’s district record don’t explain the true importance of Friday’s McCallum win. The game held much more meaning for the Knights than numbers can reveal. The win was especially meaningful because of the passing on Thursday of longtime McCallum basketball coach Don Caldwell. The team dedicated that game and the rest of their season to him and felt great when they won for him.

“Coach Caldwell was watching over us.” varsity assistant coach Carlin Shaw said. “That last second layup: that was all Coach Caldwell.”

The Knights had stayed close to the Vikings through the first quarter, only trailing by two at the end at 12-10 Vikings. Then Lanier went on a run that McCallum could not answer until the end of the second quarter, but McCallum still trailed by five, 23-18, at the half. The Knights were staying in the game, but varsity head coach Daniel Fuentes knew that in order to win, the Knights needed to bring up their energy levels and their level of play.

We’re a group of fighters, and we showed it tonight.”

— sophomore guard Rob Wade

“I told them that we weren’t playing with the same energy that Lanier was playing with at all,” Fuentes said. “We were not playing at our level. When the guys realized that we came back and went on an 18-0 run and by the end we were playing at our level, at the McCallum level.”

The Knights outscored the Vikings in the third quarter, 16-2. The surge came from scores by Albert Garza with two 3-point shots, Takai Satberry and Rob Wade each added two layups, and Sam Werkenthin sank a mid-range shot. Unfortunately for the Knights, the Vikings rebounded in the fourth quarter with 16 points to McCallum’s seven to tied the game at 41 by the end of regulation.

BREAD AND BUTTER: Rob Wade shoots a close range shot in the Knights’ 58-57 win over the Lanier Vikings. Wade would shoot a similar shot at the buzzer to get the Knights the win in double overtime. Photo by Gregory James.

The Vikings started off hot in the first overtime period and were able to go up 45-41, but the Knights fought back to tie the game. The Vikings went on the attack again and were able to gain another four-point lead with less than a minute to go in the first overtime period. The Knights survived, however, thanks to a clutch three-point shot by Albert Garza to make the score 49-48, the Knights closed to within one. After the Vikings sank one free throw, the Knights rebounded the missed second attempt and called a timeout. Then as time expired on the first period of extra time, Darius Lewis drove in and scored a game-saving two points to tie the game again at 50 and extend it into a second overtime.

We can’t have … Norman foul out. He’s got to be on the floor at all times.”

— varsity head coach Daniel Fuentes

Lewis’s heroics were huge, but the game’s outcome was still in jeopardy. After a back-and-forth start to the second overtime, the Knights gained the lead, 56-52, before the Vikings would score five unanswered points to lead by one with under 30 seconds to play.

The rest as they say is an instant classic in Mac history. The celebration was intense and not just because it was a crucial district win that puts the Knights back above .500 in district play. Although Rob Wade was happy with the outcome of the game. he said that he thought the Knights could have done more to prepare for the Vikings mentally.

“ I think we underestimated Lanier, and it messed us up,” Wade said.  “We fought hard even after Norm fouled out, through all the bad calls and whatever happened. We’re a group of fighters and we showed it tonight.”

Senior point guard Andrew Alvarez dribbles the ball down court against Lanier defender Shamar Roach in the Knights’ 58-57 win over the Vikings. Photo by Gregory James.

Coach Fuentes agreed with Wade’s sentiments. The Knights who had come out flat, had to pick up their energy as the game went on. The team also made several mistakes that nearly cost them the game.

“We can improve on everything,” Fuentes said. “We’re still a pretty young team. We can’t have one of our main starters like Norman foul out. He’s got to be on the floor at all times. We have to take care of the ball more, that’s one of the big improvements we’ve got to work on.”

The Knights face LBJ at McCallum this Tuesday at 8 p.m. Both teams are near the top of the district standings. According the MaxPreps, the Jags are 3-1, a half game behind Reagan and Dripping Springs who are at 4-1. The Knights are 3-2.

Fans, players and coaches storm the court to celebrate in the aftermath of Rob Wade’s buzzer-beating, game-winner, double-overtime put back that propelled McCallum to a 58-57 district win over Lanier at the Don Caldwell Gymnasium. Video by Gregory James.

Once the young gun, now the old pro

Last year, Sam Werkenthin was the only sophomore on McCallum’s varsity boys basketball team. Despite being the youngest player on the team, Werkenthin improved a lot and says that he learned a lot from the more experienced players on that team.

Annabel Winter
Werkenthin led the varsity boys basketball team with 15 points and three blocked shots in the team’s season opener at Georgetown on Nov. 9, but the host Georgetown Eagles prevailed, 62-48. Photo by Annabel Winter.

This year, the junior guard is one of only two returning players from last year’s varsity team, with senior forward Norman Boyd being the other. Being one of only two veterans has forced Werkenthin into a different role on the team than he had the year before.

“Last year I was the only sophomore on the team, and it was just a team full of seniors, so I had to learn from them, and now this year my role has definitely changed,” Werkenthin said. “Since me and Norman are the only ones who have experience playing varsity, [my role is to be] a scorer and a leader.”

Boyd agrees that Werkenthin’s primary job on the team is to score, and he also believes that Werkenthin has done a good job doing it.

“He is a reliable scorer,” Boyd said.

Werkenthin’s long journey playing basketball first started about 10 years ago when his mom convinced him to play the sport.

Sam is a reliable scorer. We have good chemistry because I’ve known him for a long time.”

— Senior forward Norman Boyd

“My mom played basketball in high school,” Werkenthin said. “I always had a ball in my hands when I was a kid, so she wanted me to get into basketball.”

Werkenthin may have started playing basketball because of his mom’s advice, but he continued to play because he loved, and still loves, to be a part of a team.

“I enjoy the team spirit and that you can’t do everything by yourself,” Werkenthin said.

Werkenthin says that he also enjoys the work it takes to improve at basketball, which is something former McCallum Knight basketball player Kenny Hall said Werkenthin did a lot of last year.

“You got to put in a lot of work to be good at it, and you can’t cheat your way through it,” Werkenthin said.

Werkenthin hopes that this hard work can help him achieve an individual goal this season.

My mom played basketball in high school. I always had a ball in my hands when I was a kid, so she wanted me to get into basketball.”

— Junior guard Sam Werkenthin

“I’m trying to get either second or third team all-district,” Werkenthin said.

Werkenthin said at the start of this season, however, that he was looking forward to playing with the two seniors on the team for the last time more than he was looking forward to achieving his personal goals.

“[I’m looking forward to] playing with Norman and Andrew [Alvarez] for the last year because I’ve played with them since my freshman year,” Werkenthin said.

Boyd says that over the years, he and Werkenthin have gotten good at playing together.

“We have good chemistry because I’ve known him for a long time,” Boyd said.

Werkenthin hopes to extend the time he gets to play with Boyd and Alvarez by helping the Knights qualify for the 5A state playoffs, something last year’s team was unable to do.

“This year, I want to make playoffs at least. That’s the lowest expectation,” Werkenthin said. “I want to win district. I feel like we have a pretty good shot this year.”

Anna Bausman
Werkenthin attempts to dribble past a St. Andrew’s defender during McCallum’s 40-28 win on Nov. 19. Werkenthin’s ability to dribble with his left hand is something that senior forward Norman Boyd says Werkenthin has improved on a lot since joining the varsity team last year. Photo by Anna Bausman.

So far, Werkenthin and the Knights have proven that they are legitimate contenders to at least finish in the top four finishers in district and thus earn a playoff berth. According to MaxPreps, the Knights currently have the fifth best ranking out of the eight teams in District 25-5A, behind Reagan, LBJ, Dripping Springs and Lockhart. The Knights have reason to believe, however, that they can outperform those expectations. McCallum beat Bastrop 73-65 on Nov. 20 less than a week before Lockhart lost to Bastrop, 70-66. The Knights have also had a comparable result with Reagan, the top ranked District 25-5A team. The Knights beat St. Andrew’s by 12 on Nov. 19 by a score of 40-28, while the Raiders beat St. Andrew’s by 17 the next day, 72-55. The Knights’ results against common opponents suggest that they can compete with the top teams in the district.

The team kicked off its 25-5A district schedule with a 79-44 dismantling of host Crockett on Thursday Dec. 20. It was a complete victory on both sides of the court. Five Knights combined to make nine 3-pointers, and the Knights also found offensive success in the paint.

I want to make playoffs at least. That’s the lowest expectation. I want to win district. I feel like we have a pretty good shot this year.”

— Junior guard Sam Werkenthin

On defense, the Knights deployed a halfcourt press that disrupted the Cougar offensive the entire game. Werkenthin was among the high scorers for the Knights. Boyd the team with 33 points, while Werkenthin added 13 and Takai Satberry, 12.

The team went 3-2 most recently at the Hays Rebel Classic, and Werkenthin was a key factor in the Knights’ three wins, scoring 24, 20 and 15 in the Knights’ victories over San Antonio Kipp University Prep, Wimberley and Houston Stafford.

After winning their district opener, the Knights hope to continue their winning ways when they play at Reagan on Jan. 2 and when they host Travis on Jan. 4

Werkenthin’s final goal for the team, though, cannot be measured solely by wins and losses.

“I want to see the team grow,” he said.

If that happens, the rest of Werkenthin’s hopes for a district title and a playoff win are well within the team’s reach.

Always on the field of play

It’s game day for the freshman football team and two key players, Johan Holmes and Gavin Freedman, aren’t at the team’s mandatory morning lift … again.

But they aren’t slacking off. They are still working hard … at band practice, which is also mandatory, and is concurrent with the football weightlifting session.

While they haven’t managed the ability to be in two places at the same time, Holmes and Freedmen have managed to excel in football, band and academics in their first semester in high school.

Owen Linder and Johan Holmes perform during the marching band’s halftime show during the varsity’s 63-0 shutout of Travis on Nov. 9 at Burger Stadium. As a freshman this season, Holmes was able to negotiate his dual participation in marching band and freshman football on game days because the freshman team always played the day before the band had to perform at the varsity game. Playing football and band will get more difficult when he makes the varsity roster. Photo by Grace Nugent.





As football players, Holmes and Freedman are expected to participate in morning weightlifting, as well as practices in and after school.

As band members, they were expected to participate in morning practices, as well. You can see where the two conflict.

Committing to both band and football makes for tough, over 12 hour days, but they’ve found it to be very rewarding.

I play [football] because I love it. It’s the whole brotherhood, community and most importantly the game.”

— freshman offensive tackle/bandit Johan Holmes

“I would wake up at 6 [in the morning] and then get to band by 6:45 and then football ends at 6:30 [in the evening],” Holmes said. “Sometimes I would stay 30 minutes after to work out because I missed morning lifts.”

Band and football are just parts of life for Holmes and Freedman. Both started band in sixth grade at Lamar.

“When I joined percussion I thought it was like drum set, and I thought it was like an actual rock band.” Holmes said. “Then they like told me to buy bell kits and stuff and I was like, ‘What is this?’”

The two have continued with band into high school love that band is a competitive activity but also one that creates a close-knit community.

“I like band because I really love playing my instrument and the music we do is very enjoyable,” Freedman said.

Football is an integral part of any Texas High School, and McCallum is no exception. Holmes plays left tackle on offensive line and bandit on defensive line, and Freedman plays right tackle on offensive line and nose tackle on defensive line. Both Freedman and Holmes have grown up playing football.

“I started in fifth grade,” Holmes said, “and I play it because I love it. It’s the whole brotherhood, community and most importantly the game.”

Both agreed that the benefits of football go beyond the game itself: it’s the brotherhood that most players remember.

Both Holmes and Freedman are valued on the freshman football team.

Gavin Freedman and Johan Holmes head back to the line of scrimmage after a stoppage in play during the freshman team’s 55-6 loss at Seguin. “It’s kind of embarrassing because this is not what this football team is about,” Holmes said after the disappointing loss. “We just have to practice hard because it’s all about the practice.” Photo by Grace Nugent.

“I remember in the Travis game, I got hit on the sideline,” said quarterback Jaxon Rosales, Freedman’s teammate. “When I got up I like shoved the dude, and I was like ‘Don’t do that!’ and then Gavin came up to me and was like ‘Yo chill out we just got the first down. We are having a good game,’ and that’s one of my memories with Gavin.”

Quarterbacks rely on their tackles to protect them from sacks, but Rosales said that Freedman is always there as a teammate.

“After you score a touchdown he is one of the first ones there ready to celebrate with you,” he said.

“Johan is … always doing weird stuff in the locker room that’s very funny, and … Gavin is the one person you can always talk to.”

— freshman quarterback Jaxon Rosales

The boys are also appreciated in band. Holmes plays the bass five drum in bass line, and Freedman plays sousaphone.

“Our job is very important,” said Max Hoff, a fellow drumline member.

“We keep the tempo, and [Holmes] plays a lot of down beats at the end of our splits.”

This year the Mccallum Bassline won Best 5A Bassline at the Brandeis South Texas Classic Percussion Competition.

After a standout inaugural year, what does the future hold for these versatile freshman? Will they continue with band, football or both?

Holmes plans to continue to split his time between both, and Freedman is unsure of his future with band.

Regardless, Holmes and Freedman’s teammates are very excited that they’re both planning to continue with football.

“They’re both amazing,” Rosales said. “Johan … he’s the hype man of the team he always does chants, and he always doing weird stuff in the locker room that’s very funny, and Gavin is always just there. He is the person you could go to when your mad about a loss or something. Gavin is the one person you can always talk to.”


‘Climbing just for climbing’s sake’

The Shield: When did you start rock climbing and what originally got you into it?

Zach Steiner: I started almost four years ago now. I started because I was into American Ninja Warrior. American Ninja Warrior was really popular and seemed super fun, so I thought that climbing would be a good way to get on the show. Eventually I sort of moved away from that and started climbing just for climbing sake.

TS: How long has the Climbing Club been around at McCallum?

ZS: The Climbing Club has been around for a while. I think even before Mr. Wydeven took over. It’s been around for a long time, but it’s gotten really big recently.
TS: What has been your biggest accomplishment in your four years of climbing?

ZS: My biggest accomplishment so far has probably been doing five V-7 Outdoors. V-7 is just a grade in climbing, it’s sort of like an intermediate level. That’s just my personal best, being able to do that has been really awesome.

Zach Steiner practicing bouldering, a type of rockclimbing. “Bouldering is climbing without ropes, and shorter, more dynamic climbing”. Photo courtesy of Zach Steiner.

TS: How are climbing competitions ranked?

ZS: For ranking, in big competitions, it’s based off how far up you get on a route and how many tries it took you to get to that highest point. There’s three divisions in USA climbing. There’s “sport” which is ropes climbing, “bouldering” which is climbing without ropes and shorter more dynamic climbing. There’s also speed climbing, which is a whole other discipline.

TS: What type of climbing do you practice?

ZS: I practice predominantly bouldering and some sport climbing.

TS: How often do you practice?

ZS: With my new schedule that I’m on, I practice three to four days a week.

TS: What does a typical workout look like?

ZS: A typical workout is usually just some climbing, working on particular routes, and different moves that trip me up. After that we usually do a core or an arm workout.

Steiner bouldering at Waco Tanks in El Paso, Texas. “Waco tanks is one the premiere bouldering spots in the world and it’s just right outside El Paso”. Photo courtesy of Zach Steiner.

TS: Do you have a coach or a trainer who instructs you?

ZS: When I was on a team I had a coach, but now I have a private trainer. He gives me a schedule for the month that tell me what I need to do each day. I just follow the schedule every month and that’s how I train.

TS: Do you think that you being vegan and very diet conscious gives you an edge over your competitors?

ZS: I haven’t thought about that a whole lot. I think that being more conscious about my diet has helped me get to where I am as fast as I have. For most people getting to the level that I’m at can take a really long time, but because I’m conscious about my diet I was able to improve a lot faster.

TS: Tell me a little bit about the Rock Climbing Club.

ZS: Our first meeting [was] October 23 and for our first meeting [we just talked] about what we want the climbing club to be this year, how often we want to go out and practice, how relaxed we want to be, times, membership details and stuff like that. But when we get farther into the year, all it will be is [meeting] every Thursday at Austin Rock Gym, and we just climb and hangout. It’s a super relaxed environment and you really don’t have to have any prior experience to join.

TS: Where’s your favorite spot to climb and why?

ZS: I think my favorite spot would have to be Waco Tanks in El Paso,Texas. It’s basically this group of huge rock structures and they’re situated all around these mountains. It’s one of the premiere bouldering spots in the world and it’s just right outside of El Paso.

Claire Rudy enjoys being busy

The Shield: Can you tell me a little bit about the UIL competition on Aug. 23?

Claire Rudy: It was our UIL competition and since it’s not a state year for us this year, it’s like our main contest of the year: what we’re building up for, what summarizes our marching season and what we’ve been working for. Division 1 ratings are the best, and I think Division 4 is the worst. We ended up getting straight 1’s yesterday.

TS: Do you get multiple ratings from different judges?

CR: Yes, there are a few judges, and they have different categories that they are judging. There is musicianship and marching technique and other things, and then they will grade you on those scales, and straight 1’s means the average of all their scores ending up being a 1, or they all submitted 1’s.

TS: When did you start doing color guard?

CR: I started freshman year, so four years.

TS: What got you interested in that?

CR: I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to play my instrument, [the oboe], marching on the field because the reed doesn’t work, and it is such a sensitive instrument that being outdoors would be weird for it, but my older sister, went here and she did color guard because she also couldn’t march her instrument. And my dad used to do color guard, and I’ve just been around it, so I was like, ‘I want to try it.’ Really I could have played flute or something like that in the marching band, but I like the color guard uniforms a lot more.

Sydney Gomez
Senior Claire Rudy acknowledges the cheering crowd after her name was called during swim team introductions at the Pink Week Pep Rally on Oct 18. Photo by Kristen Tibbetts.

TS: How did that start, you doing color guard freshman year?

CR: It’s learning an entire new skill set. I remember coming to one of the camps in eighth grade in May. We called it our audition, but really it was, ‘Let’s see if you can learn this and see how you like it,’ and I remember I was struggling with it, and it was really difficult to figure out. I was like, ‘I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how this is going to work out,’ but as you do it more and more, like when summer band camp happens, and we spend all day working on technique things and just getting to be part of a group, you pick up on it. It was fun.

TS: What is your favorite part about it?

CR: We just started saber this year, which is a new piece of equipment. It looks like a sword, and I really like that so far, it’s been really fun.

TS: What do you guys do during the non-marching season?

CR: In the non-marching season is our winter guard season which really starts in winter, so it officially starts in January, but I guess we will be starting on it kind of early this year, getting our show under way and learning equipment, but that’s just solely color guard, and it’s indoors, so we’ll perform in a gym of a school and it’s on a tarp, and it’s just color guard, and it’ll be fun.

TS: Do you guys use the same equipment?

CR: Yeah, we use flags, poles and sabers. It’ll be different looking probably. We’ll probably get a new set of flags. We’ve had colored rifles before, but that is just putting tape on it. I don’t know if we’ll do that again.

Marching rehearsal starts at 6:50 [a.m.] and then swim practice goes from 8-9:30 [p.m.]. And then we live in Southwest Austin so it’s also a lot of driving and a lot of car time, so it’s a balance between figuring out when to sleep and when to do homework. It’s a lot of moving, but I like it. It’s good to be busy.”

— Claire Rudy

TS: Since you’re on the swim team too, how do you manage morning band practices and practices for swim team?

CR: It makes for really long days, but marching rehearsal starts at 6:50 [a.m.] and then swim practice goes from 8-9:30 [p.m.]. And then we live in Southwest Austin so it’s also a lot of driving and a lot of car time, so it’s a balance between figuring out when to sleep and when to do homework. It’s a lot of moving, but I like it. It’s good to be busy. It also makes weekends, if I’m not doing anything, like, ‘I need to calm down.’

TS: What got you into swimming?

CR: I’ve done swimming since I was 5. I’ve never done year-round swimming, which I kind of have some regrets for not doing, but at the same time I knew I wanted to do band and focus on school, band and color guard, and if I do year-round swimming, that’s going to take up everything, so I have done a summer league since I was 5, and it’s my neighborhood one on the City of Austin League. My sister did swimming first, and I remember signing up for lessons, and they were like, ‘You should really continue this,’ so I went and joined swim team and ever since then I’ve been in to it. I love the sport. It’s something you can do forever because it doesn’t have to be fast, it can be therapeutic. That’s why you see people that are 90 years old still swimming.

TS: How has the swim season been so far this year?

CR: It’s been good. We have a junior that just recently broke one of our team records, so people have been doing well. There is a lot of new freshman this year and so it’s good to see a lot of new people learning as well.

TS: What is it like to have your dad also be your coach?

CR: Interesting. There’s ups and downs definitely. It’s nice in a way. I don’t have my license so my dad goes everywhere with me already, so I have a ride. I don’t have to worry about that. It’s nice to always have someone to turn to that I know really well.

TS: Did your dad do swim team in high school too?

CR: No, he’s never done swim team, but he’s watched my sister and I swim, and he’s one of those people that can pick up on stuff for whatever reason. He’s just naturally talented at stuff.

TS: What are you most looking forward to?

CR: For the rest of the season I am really looking forward to winter guard for sure because we had a really good season last year and ended up making state, so I really want to do that again. That would be awesome. My goal for swimming this year is just to be there. I didn’t really have a season last year because I was out all the time with a concussion.

TS: How did you get a concussion?

CR: I swam into a wall really hard. It was on backstroke and your bound to hit the wall at some point. I’ve done it a million times; it just happens, but it just happened that I was sprinting and usually you will have something to block the way, like your arm will hit first and you’ll slow down, but for some reason I had nothing, and so I just went straight into the wall. It happened in last September and it affected me throughout November and then after swim season, when I came back I qualified with a relay team to go to regionals, but I ended up getting the flu so I didn’t go to regionals.

—interview by Kristen Tibbetts