Winter sports updates


Claire Grobler, Troy Seanoa ('24), Bryan Oglesby ('23), Taya Sibichenkova ('24), Jenny Tran ('24)

WSC and VWS winter sports teams are starting off their season with great enthusiasm and achievements. While the wrestling team swept the competition in all three meets, the WSC soccer team emerged victorious from their first league game, and the VWS soccer team maintained their undefeated title. “I believe we will have a successful season.” Coach Dunford said. “Our league was restructured this year, so I am looking forward to seeing how we compete against our new league opponents.”

Despite the freezing wind, raging flu, and long breaks, the winter sports season is on full blast. After the long fall season came to an end, WSC Basketball, VWS Basketball, WSC Soccer, VWS Soccer, Wrestling,  VWS Water polo athletes began intense practices. Winter coaches and athletes recap their early challenges and successes as they move towards the middle of the winter season. 


A part of a new, reconstructed league, the WSC basketball team has high hopes of making the playoffs. Trust, friendship, and community are 3 words that describe this team perfectly on and off the court. 

“My favorite thing about our team this year is the camaraderie,” said Michael Dunford, head WSC varsity basketball coach. “I believe our team truly likes one another and is willing to work hard for each other.” 

“It is going really well,” said Isaac Naren (‘23), varsity captain. “We are starting to gel together. The rest of the season will be a little harder, but I think we are ready for it.” 

With Christmas break coming up, the basketball team may struggle to practice and find ways to train on their own. 

“Our biggest challenges are the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks,” Coach Dunford said. “The majority of our opponents either practice or participate in tournaments during these breaks. Many of our guys go home or to another destination and do not have the ability to practice with each other.” 

Coach Dunford and Isaac Naren share a similar viewpoint when it comes to their biggest challenge.  

 “Since we are an international school, players will be going away,” Isaac said. “I think the chemistry will be fine, but I am not sure how the conditioning will be for everyone coming back.” 

“While on campus, we can work together and build cohesion,” coach Dunford said. “When away, the cohesion starts to deteriorate. I will ask each player to condition and play basketball while away, so they are ready to play once back on campus.” 

They have a fourteen-man roster, which only includes 3 seniors, meaning they will have a lot of the same players returning next year. If the players maintain a strong bond, they will be unstoppable. 


“Defense, defense, defense!” voices of basketball players echo the gym every afternoon. The VWS basketball players are kicking off the season with positive energy and great determination.  

“My favorite thing about the team is how scrappy we are at defense. I love that,” said Karma Griggs (‘23), varsity captain. “I am a defensive player; I love how scrappy we are and how a lot of us talk at the ball.”  

The great chemistry between the players and leadership allows them to transport their passion onto the court. The support that all players give each other is heartfelt and genuine. 

“There are a few [favorite things about the team], but my favorite one so far is probably my girls are not afraid to advocate for themselves,” said Ronnie Alvarado, head VWS varsity basketball coach. “I think that is really good to speak on their characters and where that’s going to propel them in the future.” 

With a clear goal set in mind, Coach Alvarado looks forward to every practice. Her training focuses mainly on setting the correct mindset for players as they are heading off for winter break after two months into the season.   

“I have this passion for the game, and that passion goes to the girls,” Coach Alvarado said. “My whole outlook on coaching is what is done as a team, a teammate, and as a person should be beneficial outside of the stat book.” 

Even though the season started off successfully, the main obstacle for the team was the number of injuries at the start of the season. 

“I had a lot of obstacles; we had a lot of injuries so far. We had ankle injuries; we have players that are new to the sport,” Coach Alvarado said. “We are a pretty young team, so we have a lot of fundamentals to get over: dribbling, shooting, and shot form.” 

Looking forward to a great season, everyone on the VWS basketball team has been working hard-in preparation for a competitive season with a clear goal pinned down.  

“Our next step is to work on those fundamentals outside of practice, and we have to come together as a team. Like I said earlier, we have a different league this year, so we are going to be competitive; like, I want another number on the flag up there, you know what I’m saying?” said Coach Alvarado. 


Placing second in the San Joaquin League last season, the WSC soccer team is prepared to work hard this season.  

“Our goal is to go onward and upward,” said Esteban Vazquez, world languages department faculty and WSC soccer coach. “We were second in the league and went on to CIF. This year the goal is the league championship.” 

Although the season has been looking upward, the team will need to combat the high injury risks.  

“One of the biggest challenges for the boys will be injuries,” Coach Vazquez said. “We’ve already been looking at that with injury prevention drills.” 

The boys struggled early in the season due to injuries and a faulty roster, but they recently scored their first win against Gladstone.  

“Our first three games were very rough as we were missing a lot of the cross-country players, so we didn’t have a set roster,” Coach Vazquez said. “We were able to pull a victory last game. Little by little, the team is getting more comfortable.” 

Team captain, Daniel Hu (‘23), also sees the team improving with their recent win.  

“In the second game, we got a freshman, sophomore, and junior on the scoresheet, so it’s definitely coming together,” Daniel said. 

Coach Vazquez is confident that the season will get better as the players build upon their skills and chemistry with one another.  

“Right now, it’s the time when they need to get together,” Coach Vazquez said. “Individually, we are very good, but as a team, we are building on those characteristics. So far, there’s definitely been improvement. We have the team to compete, we just need to bring our A game every time.” 


After coming off a hot season last year, the VWS soccer team is far from done. Returning from the 20-0 record from last season, the team is ready to continue to work to continue their winning streak. The VWS soccer team is also recognized as being a unit on and off the field.  

“I love how close we are to one another and how we always have so much fun together,” said Abbey Cook (‘23), varsity soccer captain. 

Since the team moved to Division 3, they will be experiencing greater competition than ever before. Therefore, the heart of the team has to remain strong throughout the course of the season. 

“Everybody loves being out here and playing,” said Malick Mbengue, Head VWS varsity soccer coach. “As a soccer coach, that’s what I’m looking for. Someone that is passionate about the game and just wants to play regardless of a win or a loss.” 


With a winning score of 39, Webb’s wrestling team started their season with a bang! Many individuals including Conrad Poon, Ryan Weigand, Pui Fong, and Ray Kan, defeated their opponents, with Leo Levintin-Shilman securing the win with a first period pin.  

“It felt great to win. Seeing new wrestlers win their first match was awesome,” said Conrad Poon (‘23), co-captain of WSC wrestling. 

This exciting first match sparked anticipation for what the rest of the season has to offer. 

“Given how the team performed in our first match, winning even though we were missing a lot of people in specific weight classes,” Conrad said. “I’m confident we will do very well as a team this year.”  

This year may be Webb wrestling’s best year yet, as the team’s roster is full of many new and returning players. 

“There’s a good chance we will win the league, we have a very full lineup, and we also have many individual league champions in specific weight classes,” said Eric Hansen, head wrestling coach and humanities faculty. Though they have their expectations set high for the season, the wrestling team is not only looking to win this year. They hope to form a close bond as a team and to support each other the whole way through. 

“Wrestling can be so challenging, and because of that a lot of wrestling teams can easily become emotionally exhausted, but our team is always joking and having fun,” Mr. Hansen said. “It’s a really supportive wrestling team.” 


Braving the cold weather and diving straight in, the VWS water polo team is ready to take their opponents by storm! 

Many students have made their return from last year’s season, but there is also a large number of courageous new players eager to get in the water and work hard to win.  

“We’re a new team with new players, and it’s been amazing getting to know them and being able to basically create a new team from their personalities and work ethic,” said Izzy Kim (‘24), varsity waterpolo co-captain.  

The season has got off to an exciting start, with a 2-6 record so far, and many more games to come. 

“This sport is able to be intense and fun at the same time, it’s also one of the most unique sports out there,” Izzy said.  

This season, the biggest challenge for the team is overcoming the mental blocks that sometimes come with being down in a game, but the team has shown that they have a lot to prove and will not let losses deter them.  

“I think that we are going to grow a lot, because everyone is coachable, and they listen so well, that I think that we are just going to improve exponentially,” said Sawyer Belville, science faculty and water polo coach.   

Though winning is important, it is not the only thing that the team is working to achieve.  

“I want to help foster relationships, and individual growth. As long as someone feels they’re learning, they’re growing, they’re attaining new skills, and if they can bond as a team, then I feel like I’ve done my job,” Ms. Belville said.