2023 Winter Sports Preview: Strong leaders and new contributors

2023 Winter Sports Preview: Strong leaders and new contributors

Junior Dylan Aaronson dribbles the ball during warm ups at practice on Nov. 15.
Boys’ Soccer

Boys’ soccer faces an unenviable challenge this season: a varsity team with only five returning players. After 15 players graduated last year, soccer has built a team with a large number of underclassmen and former JV players, meaning the team will be much less experienced than in prior years. 

Despite the young squad, head coach Anthony Dimech’s hopes are high for this season, as he believes a run to the Central Coast Section playoffs isn’t out of the question. 

“I would like to do well in the preseason tournament, win league, get to the playoffs, and see what happens,” Dimech said. 

The Panthers play in the highly competitive Bay Division this year, with teams such as Aragon, Menlo-Atherton, Carlmont, Hillsdale and Woodside High Schools. In addition to league competition, Burlingame plays in a preseason tournament with elite schools – including matchups against Serra, St. Ignatius and Saint Francis. 

“League is always tough, we’re always top two or three, but it’s always tough competition,” Dimech said. “Carlmont is always strong, Aragon [has] been strong the last four or five years, so it’s always a tough league.” 

Even though they may lack experience, Dimech believes that the youth and heart of the team will carry them to a successful season

“It’s exciting bringing some new players into the varsity program, having some sophomores and juniors up here is gonna be fun,” Dimech said. “There’s a lot of hunger down there, which is good.”

Junior Dylan Aaronson dribbles the ball during warm ups at practice on Nov. 15. (Henry Gardner)
Seniors Olivia Armstrong and Kaylee Ng pass the ball to each other during practice.
Girls’ Soccer

Following a triumphant season that culminated with an appearance in the Central Coast Section (CCS) quarterfinals and a 9-5-4 overall record, the girls’ soccer program has returned with high hopes for this winter. 

In the several weeks he has spent getting to know the team, Andrew Flaherty — this year’s new head coach — has been impressed by the level of the players. He was pleased to see that most of the team played club soccer, which he considers helpful because players have a solid foundation in the game.

Although the season looks promising, the team must respond to the loss of senior central midfielder Olivia Mausehund, senior center forward Jamie Callantine and senior right midfield Josie Lacrosse. Fortunately, a number of returning varsity players — including seniors Kaylee Ng and Elise Spenner — should stabilize the team and be able to mentor newer players.. 

Sophomores are also returning to varsity after gaining valuable experience last season. Specifically, sophomores Stella Newman, Gaelle Foy and Mika Haggarty are all expected to be key performers. In addition, Flaherty expects sophomore Cara Dowdall, who transferred to Burlingame this year, to be an impactful player as well. 

The team will rely on scrimmages throughout the first few weeks of the year to prepare them for their season opener against South San Francisco High School on Nov. 28. 

Seniors Olivia Armstrong and Kaylee Ng pass the ball to each other during practice. (Joelle Huysmans)
Boy’s basketball gets ready to run during practice on Nov. 20. The squad focuses on discipline as they prepare for the next matchup against Mountain View High School on Nov. 29.
Boys’ Basketball

Things will certainly not be the same for the boys’ varsity basketball squad this season. After three consecutive trips to the Central Coast Section (CCS) Division III championship game — of which the Panthers won two — the team has a lot to figure out for this year. 

A new coach, a haul of first-year varsity players and the departure of some program cornerstones present the clearest challenge for Burlingame. The Panthers must find new scorers given the loss of experienced guards Zaden Martin and MJ Dowd filling big voids on offense. Without center Kyle Haslem, first-year coach David Lopez will also need size and intensity. 

However, there are some who seem primed to contribute. Senior Zach Shapiro will take on some leadership responsibilities, and head the defensive side of the ball for the Panthers. The team will also lean on seniors Alain Kazarian and Darien Apke to provide some scoring and hope to see positive results from the six juniors on the roster. Junior Marcus Tapia and sophomores Anthony Atkinson and Jean-Luc Uharriet could also develop into major contributors, according to Lopez. 

But the path won’t be easy, as the squad has dropped their first few exhibition contests, prioritizing discipline during practice. The new coach at the helm may be the jolt Burlingame needs to fuel them to another deep CCS run. 

Boy’s basketball gets ready to run during practice on Nov. 20. The squad focuses on discipline as they prepare for the next matchup against Mountain View High School on Nov. 29. (Zach Newman)
Junior Miranda Sibley dribbles the ball before making a swift pass to her teammates in a scrimmage against Nueva High School on Thursday, Nov. 16.
Girls’ Basketball

Coming off a tough season in which they struggled in the Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) Bay Division with a 5-19 overall record, girls’ varsity basketball will look to re-establish their winning ways. 

With five returning varsity players and new head coach Ned Diamond, the girls are ready to bounce back. Burlingame scored more than 50 points in both of their scrimmage games against Nueva and Urban High School — a notable accomplishment the varsity team could not execute in any competition last year.

“We have a lot of juniors this year, and we have all been team-bonding a lot. We’re doing good at scrimmage games, and I think it’s looking pretty strong for the team,” junior Hailey Miller said.

Miller and sophomore Addie Uhrich have impressed in preseason play thus far, but there are a few others expected to step up. 

While league games don’t begin until January, scrimmages against other schools have kept the Panthers playing hard and working on fundamentals. From effective communication on the court to accurate passes and shooting, the team is dedicated to putting up an impressive season record. And so far, they’ve hit the ground running, and have begun to see the results on the scoreboard.

“I’m really excited about playing with all my teammates. We work really well together and have good team chemistry,” Miller said.

Junior Miranda Sibley dribbles the ball before making a swift pass to her teammates in a scrimmage against Nueva High School on Thursday, Nov. 16. (Jeannine Chiang)
Senior Ariuka Purev-Chang and junior Quinn Jones wrestle during practice on Nov. 16.
Wrestling

After a third-place finish in PAL Bay standings last season, the co-ed wrestling squad has their eyes set on doing one better this year: winning the league. 

Coach Ernesto Nunez returns as the head coach of varsity and junior varsity, with the addition of assistant coaches Geo Aguilar, Neida Chavez and Luis Vasquez. 

Although there are many graduated wrestlers who are no longer on the mat, such as Nabil Balach and Erika Jiang, there are many returning wrestlers and new additions who have filled their positions.  Notably, junior Lauren Aguilar, who secured the Central Coast Section (CCS) Individual championship title, returns alongside seniors and team leaders River Lee and Ariuka Purev-Chang. 

In addition to their Burlingame team, the coaches are also coaching the Mills wrestling team— totaling 72 wrestlers on the mat at once. So many moving pieces has posed a challenge to practices, as has finding a gym that can accommodate the large numbers. For now, as the team acclimates to the different environments and many new additions, the early season strategy has been to practice and learn as they go. 

“Let’s just throw them [into] the fire and let’s see how they move. We can correct all the mistakes after we see them at full speed,” Coach Nunez said. 

Senior Ariuka Purev-Chang and junior Quinn Jones wrestle during practice on Nov. 16. (Sophia Puzon)
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About the Contributors
Henry Gardner, Staff Reporter
Henry Gardner is a sophomore at BHS and a first year journalism student. In his free time he likes to do photography, play lacrosse, and spend time with his friends. Henry is excited to take photos of school events and write about topics that interest him.
Joelle Huysmans, Diversity Coordinator
Joelle Huysmans is a sophomore at Burlingame High School and Diversity Coordinator for The Burlingame B as a second-year journalism student. Outside of school, she enjoys playing tennis, running in track and field, spending time with friends, playing board games with her family, and traveling across the world to discover foreign cultures. Her profound passion for reading and writing has led her to this class and she is excited to see where it will take her next.
Zachary Newman, Sports Editor
Zachary Newman is a junior and second-year journalism student. He is excited to be the B's sports editor this year and continue to improve the sports coverage in the paper. Zachary spends the majority of his time outside of school on the golf course. He also likes to play with his dog and cheer on his favorite sports teams.
Jeannine Chiang, Web Editor
Jeannine Chiang is a junior at Burlingame High School and a second-year journalism student. She is excited to continue journalism as the Web Editor this year. Chiang is involved with many clubs in the school and enjoys spending time with her family and friends. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and watching her favorite TV shows.
Sophia Puzon, Senior Reporter
Sophia Puzon is a junior at Burlingame High School and a second-year journalism student. She's thrilled to return this year as a seasoned senior reporter. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, playing video games, and most of all sleeping.
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