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EPISODE #95
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: FIRST ANNUAL TRINITY LEAGUE FOOTBALL MEDIA DAY

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. His Twitter handle is: @catholicsv

On today’s episode, Bob brings you a special Trinity League football preview!

Today’s guests include:

  • Bruce Rollinson (Head football coach at Mater Dei High School);
  • Tristen Wilson (athlete at Servite High School)
  • Karrington Dennis (athlete at Servite High School)
  • Brent Vieselmeyer (head football coach at Santa Margarita High School)
  • J.P. Presley (head football coach at Orange Lutheran)
  • Jason Negro (head football coach at St. John Bosco High School)
  • Pat Harlow (head football coach at J Serra High School)

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 8/10/19

TRINITY LEAGUE ATHLETE PROFILE: ALEX HANZ

Alex Hanz was three years old when his father took him out to the driving range to hit some balls. He instantly loved golf, and although he played other sports growing up, he found his way back to the links. As a rising senior at Servite High School, Hanz loves the challenge the sport provides. 

“Some days you can be amazing, and the next day you [struggle],” says Hanz. “You never know what’s going to happen. It’s always a challenge to try and get better every day.” 

The three-year varsity golfer knows that while golf is a very individual sport, there is nothing like coming together as a team to work towards a common goal. 

“I try to focus on doing the best that I can, giving it all to try to help out my team,” says the 17-year-old. “It’s different because you’re not interacting with your teammates when you’re playing. But when you’re all together as a team and you help each other win, it feels good.” 

The Friars have been winning plenty in recent years. This past spring, Hanz contributed to the school’s sixth consecutive Trinity League title and was named 2nd Team All-League. The Fullerton resident also shot a team low 70 (-1) at Santa Anita Golf Course to help Servite secure their third consecutive CIF-SS championship.  

“Alex is a fine young man and has shown great improvement in his three years with us in the golf program,” says Servite golf head coach, Dane Jako. “He is an exceptional student, and we are very blessed to have him in our program for another year.” 

Hanz cites the mental game as his biggest challenge out on the course, and he knows that perseverance is at the top of the list in lessons learned from the sport. 

“You could be playing bad, and all of a sudden – you just need one or two good shots in a row – and you do really well,” says Hanz. “Keep your attitude good and try as hard as you can. Eventually it will turn around for you.” 

Away from the course, Hanz serves his local community through participation in the Fullerton Service League of Boys. He enjoys being outside and connecting with nature, and you’ll likely find him fishing in his free time. He would like to continue to play golf at the collegiate level, alongside majoring in an area that aligns with his love for the outdoors. 

Hanz credits his family, specifically his parents, for instilling in him a relentless work ethic. And in navigating the ups and downs he experiences while he golfs, Hanz turns to his faith to help calm his nerves. 

“We always pray as a team,” says Hanz. “If we’re nervous before a match, it helps calm us down. It unites us. We know that no matter what, we will be fine if we stick together and trust in God.”

TRINITY LEAGUE ATHLETE PROFILE: NOLAN BLACHOWSKI

When Nolan Blachowski began high school, he didn’t envision he would end up on the track team as a pole vaulter. Now the Servite High School rising senior is a Trinity League champion in the specialized event. 

“Freshman year I did football, and I joined track in the offseason to maintain my athleticism and speed,” says Blachowski. “The head coach said we needed some pole vaulters. I was looking at it, and I thought it was really interesting. I tried it, and I really enjoyed it. So I just rolled with it. It was lots of fun.” 

Blachowski enjoys the uniqueness of the sport, and while he has mastered the basics, he admits his technique is still a work in progress. Mastering the specifics takes time, and the 17-year-old learns something new each day of his training. 

“It’s really unique because everyone knows about it, but there’s so much technique,” says Blachowski. “Every day there’s something new with it, and that’s what I really enjoy about it. It’s very sophisticated.” 

His commitment to his disciplined training has paid dividends for Blachowski. In his junior year, he took the Trinity League title and qualified for CIF-SS Finals where he finished in fourth place with a height of 14 feet. He also helped lead the Friars to their third consecutive Trinity League team championship. 

“Nolan has come into his own this season,” says Servite track coach, Richard Gibbs. “He has grown and matured into a dedicated, competitive athlete. His work ethic and desire to get better will lead to great things for next season and in the future. He represents what we try to accomplish at Servite with our student athletes.” 

Away from the track, Blachowski is a participant in the school’s Sanberg Leadership Program. He was also elected to Servite’s Generalate for the next school year, which is comprised of the top four senior leaders. He will serve as Vicar General, No. 2 in command. 

In an event as technical and demanding as pole vaulting, Blachowski has learned to lean on his faith as he experiences the highs and lows of the sport. 

“It’s really unique, and there’s so many things that go into it,” says Blachowski. “There are also a lot of setbacks, and sometimes you feel defeated. So you’ve got to take a step back and rely on God. I know that with God, I can accomplish it. Just focusing on God and re-centering [myself], that really helps.” 

Blachowski would like to continue pole vaulting at the collegiate level and is interested in studying business. As the third oldest of six children, he credits his mother with being a strong influence and role model in his life. 

“I know that if she can balance six children, working as hard as
she does,” says Blachowski, “then I can work as hard as I can and still succeed.”

TRINITY LEAGUE ATHLETE PROFILE: JUSTIN ESPIRITU

With both parents having played tennis in high school, Justin Espiritu knew he would eventually find his way to the court.

“I was about in sixth grade when I started playing,” says Espiritu. “My parents led me to pick up the racquet, and I’ve loved it from there.”

As a singles player for Servite High School, the rising senior values all aspects of the game.

“I like both the mental and physical aspects of it,” says the 17-year-old. “On the mental side, you have to think about every point in advance and know where you’re going all the time. On the physical side, tennis kind of evens out the playing field.”

His appreciation for the mental side of the game also became Espiritu’s biggest challenge.

“Earlier in my high school tennis career, I was struggling mentally,” says Espiritu. “It was hard to get over points and move on. I was stuck on always losing. Once I was able to get over that hump and be able to push myself to the next point, it made me grow as an athlete.”

A three-year varsity player, Espiritu worked diligently in the offseason to take significant steps in his growth. His efforts earned him 2019 2nd Team All-Trinity League honors.

“Justin is a strong leader both on and off the court,” says Servite head tennis coach, J.P. Jugo. “His energy and willingness to speak up for his teammates is a testament to how much he cares about our program and school. I am very excited to work with him next season.”

For Espiritu, the brotherhood at Servite is more than just a word. It is a unique connection he shares with his teammates, who are also his classmates and friends.

“I’m always with these guys, the people on my team,” says Espiritu. “You create this brotherhood, and it’s real when you’re a part of it. When you wear the crest on your jersey, it means so much more when you’re competing.”

Espiritu is a member of the school’s Sanberg International Leadership Program, which took him to China last summer to study Mandarin. After serving as an Assistant Prior this past year in Servite’s student government, he will spend his senior year as a Prior. The Tustin resident plans to pursue a science field in college and is grateful to his parents for the example they have set.

“My parents [are role models] because of the sacrifice they make for me to go to Catholic school and give me this foundation for
the rest of my life,” says Espiritu. “That sacrifice inspires me to keep working hard.”

Whether on the tennis court or in life, prayer remains a cornerstone for Espiritu.

“Prayer gives you that calming effect,” says Espiritu, “and a reminder that God is always by your side.”

ON THE RISE

In the final National Signing Day of the 2018-19 school year held last month, both Santa Margarita Catholic High School and Servite High School saw several athletes commit to continuing their athletic careers in college. 

Santa Margarita celebrated six student athletes who committed to college athletic programs. 

From the Eagles track and field team, Kyle Hastings will be continuing his running career at the University of California, San Diego. A four-year varsity athlete and captain this year, Hastings holds the school records in the 4×100-meter and 4×200-meter relays. 

A two-year varsity starter, team captain and outside hitter for the Santa Margarita girls volleyball team, Taylor Heberle has committed to Kent State University. As a junior, Heberle was a member of the Eagles Division 1 CIF-SS and California State championship team. 

Also from the Eagles girls volleyball team, Grace Dennis has committed to Wesleyan University. A four-year member of Santa Margarita’s girls volleyball program, Dennis is also a member of National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation. 

From the Eagles’ pool, swimmer Jack Forsythe is headed to the University of Redlands. The freestyle sprinter is a school record holder in the 6×50-yard freestyle relay and the 4×50-yard medley relay. He is also a National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) Academic All-American. 

Also from the pool, water polo player Nick Maramica has committed to Claremont McKenna College. The four-year varsity player is a member of the school’s 2016 CIF championship team. 

And from Santa Margarita’s boys lacrosse team, Jason Cwiertnia has committed to Carthage College. The two-year varsity player and midfielder for the Eagles was part of the team that earned a Trinity League title in 2018. 

“We are so proud of these young men and women,” says Santa Margarita’s Athletic Director, Annie Mai-Garrett. “To be able to handle the rigors of athletics and balance it with their academic workloads really speaks volumes about them and their families.” 

Servite recognized 16 senior athletes from across six sports as they made their commitments to play college athletics. 

From the gridiron, five Friars will continue their football playing careers. David Cooper is headed to Chapman University. Cooper also ran track and was a wrestler for Servite. Two-year varsity player Samuel Duran has committed to California Lutheran University. Cade Fuller will be playing for Fresno State University. A member of the Curia this season and Trinity League Punter of the Year, Fuller also played soccer and ran track for the Friars. Joining Fuller at Fresno State is quarterback Blaze McKibbin. Starting all nine games his senior season, McKibbin threw for 1,394 yards and five touchdowns. And wide receiver Cade Rosenkranz is headed to Texas Christian University. He was second on the team in receptions this season with 25. 

Two hurdlers from the Friars track and field program will continue their track careers at the collegiate level. Kyle Kimble will run for Cornell University and Nathan Lacson will run for Saint Louis University. Both have contributed to Servite’s Trinity League titles over the past three seasons. 

From the volleyball court, Matthew Helmick is headed to William Penn University. Three-year starter and middle blocker Gil Herold will play for Concordia University Irvine. And three-year starter and 1st Team All-Trinity League opposite and setter Chris Morikawa committed to University of California, Merced. Both Herold and Morikawa will represent the Friars in the OC All-Star game this month. 

Servite’s wrestling program saw four athletes make college commitments. Daniel Magaña and Marcos Magaña are both heading to Colorado Mesa University. Daniel is a three-time CIF finalist and a Trinity League champion. Marcos is a three-year varsity wrestler and a CIF champion at the 126-pound weight class. Four-year varsity wrestler Teddy Okada is committed to San Francisco State University, and three-year varsity letterman Andrew Silva will wrestle for Vanguard University. Both Okada and Silva are Trinity League and CIF champions. 

Three-sport varsity letterman Christian Martinez will be swimming for University of California, Santa Barbara. Martinez also played basketball and water polo for the Friars and was a member of the school’s 2018 CIF-SS Division 3 championship water polo team. 

And to round out the group of Servite signees, Micah Navarro will run cross country for Creighton University. Navarro ran both cross country and track for the Friars and was a member of the school’s last three track and field Trinity League championship teams. 

“We wish all these young men the best of luck as they move on to compete at the collegiate level, and we thank them for representing Servite so well over the last four years,” says Servite Athletic Director, Alan Clinton. They worked hard in the classroom and on the field (court/mat/pool) to earn the chance to continue their athletic careers, and we know they will make the most of their opportunities.”

EPISODE#169
OC CATHOLIC RADIO: GUEST IS DARYL SEQUEIRA

Each week, we bring you compelling conversation with church leaders and laity. Today, Rick welcomes back one of our favorite guests, Daryl Sequeira from Servite High School in Anaheim. Daryl is the ‘chair’ of the theology department at Servite high school.

Today’s episode will be a discussion on where we are as a society today. There is so much that has come against Catholics and the church as a whole, so we’re going to dig in and talk about it.

Tune in for the very thoughtful discussion.

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 4/6/19

 

TRINITY LEAGUE ATHLETE PROFILE: MATTHEW KUEHL

Matthew Kuehl got his start in swimming in a fairly unconventional way, through the suggestion of his then baseball coach. 

“I started playing baseball when I was about seven, and when I was nine, my baseball coach recommended I join the local swim team because I was pretty bad at baseball,” says Kuehl with a smile. “I stuck with the swimming.” 

As a senior on Servite High School’s swim team, Kuehl specializes in the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays. It is the simplicity of swimming that drives his love for the sport. 

 “All you need is focus and hard work, and you’ll beat the clock,” says Kuehl. “As a part of that process, you need to dive deep into yourself to see how hard you’re willing to work and focus.” 

It is that same work ethic that earned Kuehl and his relay teammates the Trinity League record in the 200-yard freestyle relay last season. He acknowledges that the Friars may not be the “most skilled group on paper,” but their commitment has paid dividends and driven Kuehl’s personal goals for the season.  

“My goal is to be the biggest asset to the team that I can,” says the 18-year old. “As a team, especially in the freestyle relays, I want to continue the success we had last year.” 

Kuehl’s mentoring style reflects Servite’s servant leadership approach and the school’s commitment to the formation of each person, beyond their academics and athletics.  

“Matt is an amazing person and it has been a privilege to coach him the last four years,” says Servite aquatics director, Andy Coffman. “Honorable, hardworking, smart and tough are just a few of the adjectives that describe Matt. His leadership has been priceless, both verbally and by example.” 

In addition to swimming for the Friars, Kuehl was the starting goalkeeper for Servite’s 2018 CIF-SS Division 3 championship water polo team. It was a memorable season for Kuehl that also included earning All-Trinity League and All-CIF honors. 

“Winning CIF was by far my biggest athletic achievement,” says Kuehl. “It was such an amazing experience because I did it with my best friends.” 

The Placentia resident is a member of Servite’s student section, The Asylum, and enjoys hunting and fishing when he’s not training. He is also a participant in the school’s Sanberg International Leadership Program, which includes traveling to China for two summers and learning Mandarin.  

With plans to study international business, Kuehl credits his time at Servite, the example of his parents and his studies abroad for shaping his faith and giving him a fresh perspective. 

“I’ve been a Catholic all my life, and something I’ve experienced at Servite is that everyone, whether they are Catholic or not, cares about your faith life and how that affects you,” says Kuehl. “Even though not everyone is the same as you at Servite, we all care about the same thing.”

PLAY BALL!

The opening game of spring training doesn’t carry the same pomp and circumstance as the Opening Day of Major League Baseball, but for many diehards who sit idly all winter waiting for that first crack of the bat, spring training openers bring out the same level of excitement. 

Cole Irvin was certainly on pins and needles. 

Irvin, a 2012 graduate of Servite High School, was the starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies in their spring training opener on Feb. 22. 

“First game of the spring, that’s what’s really cool about it,” Irvin told reporters before the start. “I love baseball season. I think we all do, and to be the guy starting the Phillies baseball season, whether that’s spring training, it doesn’t matter to me. This is the first game of the year for us and it’s going to be fun.” 

Irvin pitched 2 1/3 innings in his spring training debut against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte, Fla. He allowed one hit and struck out three through the first two innings before departing with runners on second and third and one out in the third. 

Irvin likely improved his chances of making the Opening Day roster for the Phillies, but the 25-year-old left-hander still has a number of players he needs to leapfrog on the depth chart. 

“Hopefully, I can show a team that is probably going to win a lot of games this year that I can help out in any way,” Irvin said. 

Irvin rocketed up the organizational depth chart last season at the Triple-A level, the last stop before the majors, earning Pitcher of the Year honors in the 14-team International League. Irvin went 14-4 with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs with a league-leading 2.57 ERA in 26 appearances, including 25 starts. 

It’s been a long road to reach this stage of his career.  

Irvin was a four-year starter at Servite, but didn’t overly impress major-league scouts as a teenager. One of the experiences that fueled Irvin’s desire to be a major-league pitcher was the two years he spent as a groundskeeper at Angel Stadium while attending Servite.  

“You got to be in the front of the fans and feel the excitement,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer last summer. “You would hear a roar and be like ‘Wow, this is a different level.’” 

Irvin was selected in the 29th round of the Major League Draft following his senior year at Servite, but opted to keep his scholarship and attend Oregon, leaving him ineligible for the draft until 2015.  

Irvin faced a major hurdle when he underwent surgery on his pitching elbow and missed the entire 2014 season. Irvin fell to the 32nd round in the 2015 Draft, so he opted to return for his senior year at Oregon. 

As the team’s No. 1 starter, Irvin went 6-4 with a 3.17 ERA during his senior season with the Ducks, striking out 93 batters in 105 1/3 innings and walking just 16. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Phillies. 

“I’m a guy that gets outs,” he said. “I don’t care how hard I throw. I don’t care about my spin rate. I care about the guy’s swing coming through the zone. …  I’m a guy that pitches in the strike zone and gets outs.”

TRINITY LEAGUE ATHLETE PROFILE: CHRIS MORIKAWA

Chris Morikawa has been around volleyball his entire life. With both cousins and an aunt who played for many years, he couldn’t see himself playing any other sport. 

“It was introduced to me at a very young age,” says Morikawa. “I just fell in love with volleyball.” 

Now a senior at Servite High School, Morikawa plays both setter and opposite hitter for the Friars, positions he enjoys for their unique aspects. 

“As a setter, I like being able to directly impact the game and touch the ball every play,” says the 17-year-old. “There’s an intellectual side about setting where you can outsmart the other coaches and other offense. And being opposite, I like being able to end plays. As a setter, I get to set up the plays, but as [opposite], I get to terminate the plays.” 

No matter the position he is playing, Morikawa knows volleyball is a team sport and no one person can do it all. 

“I love how it’s so team oriented,” says Morikawa. “You can’t touch the ball three times, so you have to rely on other people.” 

The three-year varsity player is also a captain for the Friars, and his leadership style begins with creating trust by getting to know his teammates off the court.  

“Over the last three years, Chris has become a leader on our varsity team by his hard work and dedication to always improving himself,” says Servite volleyball head coach, Matt Marrujo. “His teammates respect him and look to him for how to handle different situations they are experiencing on and off the court. We are going to count on him in the big moments this season to score points and provide stability to our team.” 

A Servite Student Ambassador and a member of the school’s student section, The Asylum, Morikawa also enjoys music and playing the guitar. In his final year competing for the Friars, he acknowledges the special bond the brotherhood of Servite has brought to his sports career.  

“I’m going to miss the pride I have playing for this school,” says Morikawa. “I’m going to miss being able to play for something bigger than myself.” 

Morikawa has plans to play volleyball at the collegiate level, and wants to become an English teacher. His mom and his sister, Amy, have been his strongest role models, and his faith keeps his focus in the right place. 

“Prayer for me is essential before games because it helps me relax and get into the right mindset,” says Morikawa. “Volleyball isn’t everything, and it’s easy to get caught up in it. But prayer helps to center around the fact that there’s something bigger than volleyball, and that’s God. It helps me know that
I can play to the best of my abilities, and I don’t have to worry as much, because it’s not the end of the world.”

SERVITE ALUMNUS WINS NATIONAL EDITING AWARD

The American Cinema Editors (ACE) last month presented its annual awards at the Beverly Hilton.  Among the evening’s winners was Servite High School alumnus and current Boston University senior Marco Gonzalez, who took home the prize for student editing.  Gonzalez was the winner of a nationwide competition in which college students are challenged to use film dailies, shooting notes and script logs provided by ACE into a finished scene.  

“It was really great to be able to work with footage that is from a professional shoot,” Gonzalez said. “Though the scene was short, it was pretty difficult to work with. The blocking was tricky and the camerawork required a lot of attention. Many parts of the scene required a heavy load of re-editing and polishing, but I was very happy with the final product.” 

He submitted his final entry at the end of November and was notified on January 20th that he was invited to attend the awards as one of three finalists. Gonzalez and his father also attended the nominee cocktail reception the day before the awards. “I got to meet so many of my heroes, including Tom Cross, the editor of ‘Whiplash’ and ‘La La Land,’ who inspired me to be an editor.” 

Gonzalez also connected with another Servite alumnus at the event, Patrick Don Vito ’87, who was nominated for Best Film Edited Feature Film (Comedy) for the film “Green Book.”  Don Vito is also an Oscar nominee for his work on the film. The award ceremony itself proved to be a memorable experience. “The red carpet, the fancy dress, everything was just jaw-dropping. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to be there,” Gonzalez said. “I was so happy and in awe of everything. And when I won, those feelings multiplied by infinity.” 

Servite teacher Jeff Baldo (also a Servite alumnus) is proud of the accomplishments of his former student. “Marco was always very hard working in my film classes,” said Baldo. “While I am extremely proud of his tremendous accomplishment, it comes as no surprise to me because of his strong work ethic, ability as a visual storyteller, and character.”  

Gonzalez is already helping his fellow Servite Friars learn about careers in film, visiting his alma mater along with other film students from the past decade, to share experiences (and contacts) with them. “It’s become a neat community and is a great way for our students who are passionate about filmmaking to enjoy the Servite brotherhood,” said Baldo. 

“I am just so honored and lucky to have all of this,” Gonzalez said.  “I am so grateful for everything. Of course, the biggest thanks goes to my family. I wouldn’t be there or anywhere if it weren’t for them.”