Star senior starting pitcher Holden Glavin works in the bullpen during a preseason practice. (Jake Rothstein)
Star senior starting pitcher Holden Glavin works in the bullpen during a preseason practice.

Jake Rothstein

2023 Spring Sports Preview: New leaders and lofty goals

February 28, 2023

Boys’ Tennis

Senior Arihant Mishra-Agoram hits a backhand in the boys’ tennis practice on Thursday, Feb. 23. (Michelle Moshkovoy)

While boys’ varsity tennis returns an almost identical squad to last season after a subpar 5-8 overall record (4-8 PAL Bay), the program has far higher expectations for this year. 

Burlingame only lost two seniors in 2022, Nicholas Losito and Robert Peterson at No. 3 doubles, leaving the current group with plenty of offseason practice, chemistry and an eagerness to prove themselves in the PAL Bay. Senior Arihant Mishra-Agoram, who played at No. 1 singles last season, has helped lead that charge. 

Mishra-Agoram will be a reliable presence for Burlingame in matches with his variety and consistency. After missing his whole sophomore season due to a hip injury, junior Arda Inegol is back in the lineup and contending for a singles spot. Seniors Jared Berkovits and Jackson Spenner, who occupied the No. 2 and No. 4 singles spots, respectively, for the bulk of last season, are in the singles mix as well. Seniors Ryan Gyde and Luke Amdursky, who suited up at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, bring another valuable layer of experience. 

While the projected top-10 ladder is senior heavy, the team also returns a pair of seasoned juniors in Chinmay Rao and Dylan Ares-Hanson. They, too, are capable singles players, according to assistant coach Doug Stone. That depth and competition in the ladder can only be beneficial to the roster during both its practices and matchups. 

Some new faces have made their way to the upper courts — the varsity squad’s stomping grounds — too: Freshman Kieran Kilgo and sophomore Nicolas Moshkovoy have impressed the coaching staff so far. Moshkovoy is currently out with an elbow injury, but is expected to return at the beginning of the regular season. 

The Panthers are still finalizing their ladder, but one thing seems certain: they want to be competitive and qualify for the PAL team tournament. And, according to Stone, there’s no reason why they can’t make a deep run.

Girls’ Softball

Senior Nora Leslie works on her swing with senior Emmi Cate in the girls’ varsity softball practice on Wednesday, Feb. 22. (Athena Bostonmaer)

After having an underclassmen-heavy roster and a 7-16-1 overall record last season, girls’ varsity softball is back and expecting improvement this season. Practice officially started on Feb. 1, but many players on the team conditioned and trained during the offseason.

Now, the team is hard at work with a packed practicing schedule, on the field six times a week.

This year, head coach John Saucedo has made it a point to be stricter on conditioning, starting off each practice with cardio-oriented exercises, including running on the track. On the softball field, most practices consist of quality reps of pitching and batting, as well as running drills where players cycle through their different positions to hone their skills for games.

Saucedo and the softball team are optimistic for their fast-approaching season opener against El Camino High School on March 1.

With a competitive line-up and hard-working team, the future of varsity softball shines bright.

Girls’ Lacrosse

Freshman Lila Edmonson, a first-time lacrosse player who played varsity soccer this fall, excelled in Burlingame’s victory over Notre Dame High School, Belmont. (Elise Spenner)

Head coach Phil Wang looks for two things in his girls’ varsity lacrosse players: athleticism and coachability. 

“And I guess lacrosse experience would be the third of the three,” Wang admitted. “We tell the new players, ‘We can’t coach athleticism. We can’t coach speed. Don’t worry about learning how to use a stick. We’ll teach you how to do that.’” 

That’s especially true this season, when well over half of the 18-player roster is new to the team. And as the lacrosse program continues to recover from pandemic-induced challenges, new players are a good thing for Wang and his squad. During the 2022 season, the varsity and junior varsity teams shared just 34 players — with 12 players on the field at a time, the two rosters were often short-handed. But this year, 42 attended tryouts, providing an unprecedented cushion for the program.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Wang said. “It’s a strange goal, but at some point, if we’re forced to make cuts, that’s probably a good thing.”

But the team doesn’t lack experienced leadership — senior and returning co-captain Elizabeth Fitzgerald, who is currently sidelined by injury, will undoubtedly be a force during league play. 

“Elizabeth is our star,” said Wang, who has coached Fitzgerald on and off for six years. “I totally get her skill set, and she’s going to play for the University of Chicago next year, so I’m really proud of her for doing that.”

While Fitzgerald is relegated to cheering from the bench, other players have emerged on the field. Wang pointed to freshman Haleh Ansari as a young standout, alongside seasoned co-captains Mimi Cacciato and Gigi Bottarini.  

“I don’t know if [Ansari] is quite ready to take the spotlight yet,” Wang said. “She’s got a lot of skills. I’m not sure if she knows quite how good she is yet.”

The team is still finding their rhythm. Prior to their two pre-season games against Archbishop Mitty and Notre Dame-Belmont High School on Wednesday, Feb. 22 and Friday, Feb. 24, Wang had just one practice with the entire roster as players trickled back from their winter sports. Nonetheless, they sailed to a 15-2 victory over Notre Dame, and Wang expects their success to continue. 

“I think we can challenge for the top spot in our division,” Wang said. “I expect to be in a similar spot [to last year]. I think we are highly likely to have a very good season.”

Boys’ Lacrosse

Boys’ varsity lacrosse practices their passing skills in the rain at the beginning of practice on Thursday, Feb. 23. (Jake Rothstein)

Boys’ lacrosse expects to reestablish its strength this season, after last year’s young roster finished with a 4-11 overall record. This season, the team is made up primarily of experienced seniors and led by new coach Logan Brown — and they are ready to make a splash in the PAL Bay Division.

“We didn’t have a lot of seniors — maybe three or four — and they were a big help; showing us the ropes on how to be a leader next year,” said senior Archer Grenier, an attacker. “Now we are really senior heavy.”

To help the team improve its skill set, Brown has been focusing on high-repetition passing drills, and said he has already seen results in the three weeks of practice Burlingame has had so far.

The program has also seen a large jump in roster size, with a total of 49 players —  21 on varsity and 28 on junior varsity. The number is a seismic increase from last year, when many players did not return after the pandemic.

The team will play its first game against Junipero Serra High School — now coached by Burlingame’s prior head coach, Ryan Bolanos — at home on Feb. 28. With a formidable roster and plenty to fight for, expect the Panthers to put up a good fight.

Boys’ Volleyball

Sophomore Reiter Madden (left) and junior Brody Kelley (right) prepare to receive the ball during a match play drill in practice on Thursday, Feb. 23. (Arshia Chakravartti)

With varsity lineups finalized and a month of practice under their belt, the boys’ volleyball team has begun preparations for the league season, which will begin in mid-March. 

And despite losing two varsity stars,  Lucas Kleinheinz and Justin Guo, last year, the program is still looking strong. 

Head coach Lawrence Ngai is guiding the team through technical drills and match plays so that the Panthers can be ready for the season ahead. Some players that are forecasted to stand out this season are senior and captain Jacob Ngai, sophomore Reiter Madden and junior Erazem Mattick, Ngai said. 

This season, the Panthers are competing in the upper PAL Bay Division and will participate in their first set of scrimmages throughout the first two weeks of March. The first official league opener is scheduled to take place on March 22 — from there, the Panthers will set their sights on the CCS championships.

Track and Field

Athletes round the track to warm up during practice on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Runners have a couple of weeks to prepare and condition for the first meet of the season. (Zachary Newman)

The track and field program will look to continue building on team success from last year when it sent eight runners to the CCS trials, three of whom advanced to the CCS finals.

It won’t be easy to replace last year’s senior stars Will Uhrich, Davis Grundmann, Carson Robenalt and Kylie Holzman, but head coach Chris Coleman is confident his younger athletes can make the leap and pick up right where the program left off.

Juniors Avah Reichow and Cora Haggarty, who were standouts last season, return and join senior Romer Rosales-Hasek as seasoned leaders for the inexperienced younger runners. Reichow and Haggarty both finished in the top five during the 2022 CCS finals, and Rosales-Hasek earned a berth to the CCS championship after finishing fourth in qualifying. 

Coleman has repeatedly stressed the importance of team results over individual accomplishments in practice. According to Coleman, the primary focus will be working to get as many runners to CCS as possible, and having multiple athletes place in the top five. 

Before the team’s first regular season meet on March 14, Coleman has prioritized working on conditioning to increase stamina and avoid injuries. With younger runners on the frosh-soph level exceeding expectations last year, excitement and anticipation should continue to intensify as the program prepares for competition. 

Boys’ Golf

Senior Andres Valldejuli takes a swing at the Mariners Point Driving range on Wednesday, Feb. 22. (Alex Kelly)

Halfway through a frigid Wednesday night practice, boys’ golf was relaxed, joking about each other’s shoes and competing over who could hit the longest shots. But make no mistake: The Panthers are laser-focused on their league campaign this season. After two consecutive strong seasons of runner-up finishes in the PAL Bay division, the team is looking to step up and win the league title.

“There’s always a goal for us to win a PAL title for Burlingame, and I think we have a strong group of returners coming back that are eager and want to do well,” Coach Jon Ramirez said.

The team will return a majority of its go-to players from last year, including the senior duo of Charlie Galanter and Andres Valldejuli, who will look to lead the team in their last chance at a PAL title. Ian Lai and Zachary Newman, who impressed as freshmen, will hope to continue their consistent low-scoring performances in their sophomore seasons. Senior Hudson Rose and junior Nate Teitelbaum will also be key contributors in the long season ahead.

“We have good players at all levels. We have a bunch of good seniors, juniors, sophomores and some promising freshmen, and so I think our team has a lot of depth and that we can get it done this year,” Galanter said.

In the lead-up to the season, the team has primarily focused on improving their putting, a way to minimize strokes on the course. And even amid the unpredictably harsh winter weather, they feel fully prepared for their first match of the year, a major test against the defending champions Aragon High School on Monday, Feb. 27.


Star senior starting pitcher Holden Glavin works in the bullpen during a preseason practice. (Jake Rothstein)

High school teams are constantly evolving, yet this year’s varsity baseball lineup looks eerily similar to the one that fought to the CCS Division III championship last year. The loss of four-year varsity outfielder Lou Martineau alongside key top-of-the-order hitters in Ryan Kall, Dexter Quisol, and Charlie Dohemann, will certainly hurt. But the players arriving in their place all seem to possess the same qualities that Burlingame baseball has built sustained success on, behind tenured and proven head coach Shawn Scott. 

The departure of Lou Martineau to Occidental College’s Division III baseball program has opened a new opportunity for current senior Aidan Alfers to make his impact known after an injury kept him out of the everyday lineup in 2022. With a combination of speed and smooth play, Alfers is a spitting image of the former Burlingame star outfielder and, coincidentally, is also an Occidental College baseball commit.

First baseman junior Dylan Kall will look to work his way into the lineup after his brother, Ryan Kall, graduated out of the position last year. Dylan will likely play alongside experienced senior Chase Johnson, who is also talented at the position.

Senior Lukas Habelt will look to be a key contributor for the Panthers as well. In the Panthers’ season opener against San Mateo on Wednesday, Feb. 22, Habelt tallied two hits, proving his ability to fill the offensive hole Dexter Quisol left at third base. Quisol was among the leaders of the team in batting average and on base percentage (OBP) in a strong 2022 campaign.

While several new faces are joining the lineup this year, Burlingame returns just as many familiar ones.

Following a stellar 2022 season — earning the PAL Bay’s Pitcher of the Year honor as a junior — ace starter Holden Glavin will make a return to the mound this spring. The left hander sported a 1.61 ERA in 10 starts and will be looking to improve on those numbers this year. Additionally, senior outfielder Noah Greenblatt has his eyes set on breaking the school record for stolen bases, which he tied at 20 as last year’s leadoff hitter. Behind home plate, standout senior catcher Charlie Happ will continue in his starting role after posting an outstanding 1.000 fielding percentage as a junior.

Regroup and reload is the name of the game for Burlingame’s perennially successful baseball program, and that shouldn’t be a problem for this experienced, yet youthful and talented squad. The Panthers are already off to a strong 1-0 start after junior Luca Scatena pitched a shut-out win in their first game against San Mateo High School on Wednesday, Feb. 22.


With less than a week before their first swim meet against San Mateo High School, swimmers work on their freestyle in a long distance set to finish practice. (Amanda Nolan)

Despite the departure of junior William Walz, one of last season’s fastest swimmers, to Mills High School, many of Burlingame’s championship-caliber swimmers remain with the team and are as motivated as ever to claim victory. With an added surge of new swimmers ready to dive in, the expectation of strong performances in CCS remains the same. 

Co-captains and seniors Claire Guglielmi, Tarik Burlingham, Sam Hunter and Samantha Storey have taken initiative in mentoring the underclassmen swimmers. They have helped them master the basics of swimming, like diving, flip turning and finishing, along with guiding them through a swim meet. Both the captains and coaches have emphasized showing up and putting in the work as a unified squad. Because while it may be an individual race, everyone’s competing on one team. 

The coaching staff includes Traci Kreppel — who has returned after four seasons away from the pool deck — accompanied by Terry Horn. Kreppel, who started competitive swimming when she was five years old and now swims on a masters team, is motivated to help more swimmers make CCS time cuts and send more relays to the championship. With plenty of experience in the water, Kreppel can easily empathize with Burlingame’s swimmers — especially those who fully commit to the team.


Burlingame played in its second matchup of the season against Capuchino High School (pictured in green) on Thursday, Feb. 23. (Jake Rothstein)

After last season’s impressive fourth place finish in the PAL, the badminton program is excited to welcome a promising group of underclassmen and proven leadership. 

This season, a number of new faces have joined the team, several of whom have already caught the eye of head coach Salvador Banquiles, who plans to utilize this new talent to the best of his ability.

Banquiles, a passionate and determined coach, has worked as a professional badminton coach for over 30 years. His main strategy for success is closely studying the lineup. Seniors Erika Jiang, Madison Eugenio, and Jayden Ma return, who were all consistent performers last season.

Banquiles ultimately emphasized the importance of showing up to training, as the team’s practices start at a very early 6:15 a.m. However,  those who are dedicated to the team will come to every practice, and it is these players that Banquiles hopes can lead them to an undefeated season. As he put it, “I want to beat everybody for as long as I can.”

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Michelle Moshkovoy is a senior and a third-year journalism student at Burlingame High School. She is excited to be sports editor this year, delving deeper...

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