Over the next several weeks, various UCSD student-athletes will be contributing their thoughts and experiences from Fall pre-season camp. Check back each day to see how camp is going and how the teams are progressing. Each athlete will give you their own perspective of what its like going through camp as we head toward the start of the 2011 season.


Monday, August 29, 2011
Katie Condon - Women's Volleyball
Senior - Pasadena, CA


It's been two and a half weeks since we first reported at UCSD for the start of our season! It’s crazy that we have already had two scrimmages against Point Loma and Cal Baptist and are preparing for our first tournament in Hawaii.

Our first scrimmage was against Point Loma last Thursday and we won 3-1. It was a really good match where we had to fight out of a few tough situations, which really showed our team’s character and ability to compete hard. Everyone did a really good job at contributing in a variety of different ways. It was definitely a great start to our season.

Today, we played Cal Baptist. It was a close game but there were definitely some good moments. They were a good team and had a powerhouse outside hitter that was good for us to play against. However, by the middle of the match, our blockers were able to shut her down, which was awesome to see. I think our team has done a great job coming in and playing together and really working hard. Our freshmen Amber (Hawthorne) and Lauren (Eemos) have done an awesome job of making an impact already, which is really exciting to see.

Tomorrow we have a busy day filled with weights, a morning practice and afternoon practice in order to prepare for Hawaii. We leave early Wednesday morning to drive up to Orange County to fly out of John Wayne Airport. The team is really looking forward to this trip. We are ready to play Hawaii Pacific, Seattle Pacific, Northwest Nazarene and Chaminade. Hawaii Pacific and Seattle Pacific are really important matches for us and I am excited to see how we match up against them! Wish us luck!


Friday
, August 26, 2011
Annie Wethe - Women's Water Polo
Senior - Los Alamitos, CA

About a week and a half ago the coaches finalized the roster, and suddenly we are making the travel roster for heading up to Washington to play our first two games of the season; it seems like the past week has flown by.  However, we have managed to fit a lot of team bonding into a short amount of time. 

Last Sunday we had our first official team dinner at Ellie Nevarez and Jessica Wi's home with the fine cuisine creations of Gabi Hernandez-32 hungry soccer players in one area can get dangerous, but luckily no one sustained any injuries (that would have been a tough one to explain to Brian).  This dinner is an annual tradition where we hang out, get to know each other a little better, and work together to make the warm-up CD that plays before all of our home games.  I love it because we get to eat together, one of our team's favorite activities, and I end up feeling a lot closer to my teammates; it's a great way to break the ice and develop some good team chemistry.  With the dinner, practices, scrimmages, and hanging out in general in our free time, you can tell that our team is really coming together.

This Friday we played a scrimmage against the San Diego Sea Lions, a local semi-pro team and I thought we put on a decent performance.  There are definitely areas that we need to work on, but that's to be expected with the beginning of any season, especially with so many new people.  Also, there were quite a few moments of magic that showed that we're capable of working really well together, creating opportunities, and playing some beautiful soccer.  I was really impressed with the work rate everyone put out, especially the people who are new to the team; it's so exciting seeing that everyone is willing to leave everything they have on the field. Everyone has the competitive edge you love to see in a player.  We just finished up our Sunday night practice where we concentrated on working out the kinks in our game, the little things that develop and smooth themselves out with time and practice.  It looks likes everyone is focused and ready to work, and I can't wait to get the season rolling!

 

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Josh Stiling - Men's Water Polo
Sophomore - Beaverton, OR


With a week of practice under our belts, the end of Hell Week is eagerly anticipated by all on the men's polo squad. After enduring daily doubles consisting of two three-hour workouts from 9:00am-Noon and 3:00-6:00pm in the pool for the first four days, the next five days have a similar schedule except for the afternoon workouts being held at various beaches in San Diego.

Beach workouts have been a tradition of the men's polo team for a long time, and are a key part of the hell week regimen.  Our workouts start off with ab work that always end with the dreaded flutter kicks, a traditional exercise that is an unwelcome wake up to the beginning of practice. The rest of practice seems to blur together as we compete against each other in multiple ocean swims and deep sand runs. However at the end of each workout every freshman has a turn to tell the team a little about themselves, such as their water polo accomplishments, personal stories, or even embarrassing facts about themselves.  This exercise helps the veterans get to know each freshmen better and increases the chemistry between the older and newer players.

Today is our second to last day of "hell week", and traditionally the Thursday workout is always held at Coronado Beach. Our practice consisted of a half mile run to the Hotel Del, where we sang the national anthem on the deck above the pool in front of hundreds of admiring onlookers.  From there we went back to the ocean and swam back to where we started our run originally to end the practice.

With the last day of hell week in sight I can confidently say that our team is looking in great shape and is being helped greatly by the nine incoming freshman.  As most of my teammates would agree it is shaping up to be an exciting and eventful season.

Go Tritons!




Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Jordan Valenciano - Men's Soccer
Junior - Lake Forest, CA


After a hard first week of double days and two games, the coaches have given us time for some much-needed rest and recovery. Some players have needed to take extra measures, be it the training room or ice baths, to get rid of soreness and tightness. All of our players came into preseason with a hard work/no shortcut mentality that has allowed for intense and successful practices. We all came in fit and ready to perform. The first week of practice was hard and mentally challenging but we got through it with a few minor injuries. These practices made us come together to push through all the fitness and drills that required each player to do their part. Our new team chemistry was seen in the first two games of the preseason.

 

We had a good start to the preseason with a 1-1 tie against Vanguard. They were a tough opponent and were able to get the lead in the first half. Our chemistry was shown when we did not panic and instead answered back with a goal, a header by Alec Arsht, right before halftime. The second half featured many of the new players added to the squad. The level of play actually increased, showing how much depth we are going to have this year. 

In the second scrimmage against Point Loma, our ball movement was much better. We seemed to be more connected and more fluid. Cory Wolfram started things off with a shot from outside the 18 yard box that found its way to the back of the net. Point Loma was able to score from a penalty, but once again we showed our patience and perseverance when Tsuk Haroush scored from a cross, provided by yours truly, with five minutes left. We ended up winning 2-1 and kept our undefeated preseason intact.

These games were just small steps toward our ultimate goal of winning a National Championship. We have only begun to connect as a team and there's still a lot to improve on. We have the right mentality and the tools needed to be a force in the league. The preseason prediction that we are supposed to finish fourth in our division is just adding more fuel to the fire. This season is going to be exciting and with hard work and the right training we have the potential to achieve what every other school wants to achieve, a National Championship.

One of my goals this season for the team is to win every home game. In order to do that we need to make sure we have the atmosphere that makes it a home game. I remember playing Cal State San Marcos once at home and feeling like they had more fans than we did. Instead of us having the home field crowd, they did. This needs to change, so we need a ton of fans coming out to every game. So fit us into your schedules and we'll make sure you get a good show.

Check out this special video documenting the team photo shoot experience (Click Here)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Hillary Williamson - Women's Volleyball
Senior - Orange, CA

 

It's been a little over a week of double days and we already have a pre-season match this Thursday. I can't believe how fast our season is coming up. Even though we have less time to prepare then previous years, our team has done an amazing job coming in from day one and being competitive. I've been really impressed with our freshmen Amber ( ) and Lauren ( ) as well as with some of our redshirts from last year. They definitely are able to increase the overall intensity of our practices. It seems like everyone really has stepped it up and has been preparing over summer, which is one of the hardest things to do without being around your teammates.

One of my favorite moments in double days is the first ice bath. My freshman year I didn't ice bath until the third day of double days, and I paid for it. I think that was the sorest I've ever been from volleyball. But now an ice bath after the first day of double days has turned into a team bonding event. We cram two even three girls in a bath, play music off of someone's phone, and all complain about how much it hurts our feet.

Today we had our first scouting meeting. I forgot how detailed and intense Coach Mas (Shibata) makes the reports. Even though they can be overwhelming at first, having all the information has definitely helped the success of our team. I also forgot about all the contraptions and devices Coach Mas has brought for our team. It all started with "robo block," which is a metal rod with pads shaped like hands that we hit against. I always dread doing hitting lines against robo block. It usually involves each player getting stuff blocked several times before we finally figure out how to hit around it. This year we have been using a device called "Noah," which is typically used to calculate the arc of a basketball player's free throws. Instead we use it to calculate the arc of specific sets. I think it is going to really help with the consistency of our sets especially as we continue to work on speeding up our offense.

I can't wait for our tournament in Hawaii! I'm excited I get to go my senior year, but jealous that fifth years Roxy and Janessa get to go again. It looks like we'll have some good competition, and it will be a really fun way to finish our preseason. With five returning starters/seniors I'm really excited for this season and a chance at a national championship!



 

Monday, August, 22, 2011
Anthony Heredia - Men's Cross Country
Senior - Lakewood, CA


The nine hour drive to Mammoth training camp...for a member of the cross country team it is the most fun that you don't want to have. Cooped up in a 12- passenger van for nine hours with teammates can be hilarious, exciting and sometimes awkward. As a senior I have made this glorious trek four years in a row and every year it gets better and better! This year the ride up to Mammoth Lakes was quite the adventure.

This story begins at 8:30 AM Monday morning, the whole team has its bags packed and ready to go in front of the Spanos facility atop the UCSD track. To much of our dismay, Coach Nate " the great" Garcia makes an announcement that our trek will be delayed a couple of minutes due to booking issues with Enterprise van rentals (within his speech he tried to crack jokes regarding the type of service he was getting from Enterprise but I will omit them for the sake of keeping the readers' attention). Three hours later our lovely assistant coach Cynthia "Fidel" Castro reached Spanos with the last rental van. We finally depart San Diego at around 12 o'clock in the afternoon.

Eager and excited to finally get to Mammoth, most of the team falls asleep in their vans until the first pit stop in San Bernardino. As soon as we arrive back on the freeway, there was another surprise to this adventure...TRAFFIC!  YEAH! But, it gets better-after sitting through traffic for ten minutes we reach a sign that reads " Freeway closed use alternate route."  We quickly figured out that all of this madness on the freeway was caused by a huge forest fire on the sides of the freeway! Most of us in the vans were worried at first but that went away when we saw the amount of water that the emergency planes and helicopter could drop on the fire. After an hour of watching the emergency helicopters we finally passed through the three miles of traffic.

The next notable occurrence happened a couple of hours later in the middle of nowhere. We are cruising along a two-lane highway in the desert and saw a huge cloud of dust ahead of us coming from the side of the road. A couple hundred feet later I saw vivid skid marks on the road that led to a turned over semi off the side of the road. Apparently a huge semi truck full of Arrowhead water bottles lost control moments before we passed it and crashed into pieces  along the highway in the brush. The truck looked like it was a part of some crazy explosion scene of an action movie!  According to alumni Jesse "J-Mo" Morrill, who was driving the van I was riding in, it was "some designed crash scene to raise awareness about recycling water bottles or something like that." Makes sense?

Anyway, those were some of the adventures that the cross country team endured on the way to 2011 training camp in Mammoth Lakes.  We all arrived safely at the lodge by 8:00 PM and quickly settled in our belongings and food. The saddest part of this story is that we arrived so late that Coach Garcia was forced to cancel the teams three mile "shakeout" run. But seriously, it is safe to say that we are all excited about these next 10 days at Mammoth. We have a great group of guys and gals on the roster this year and it should be a good start to an amazing season.

 

Sunday, August 21, 2011
Rachel Leslie - Women's Soccer
Sophomore - San Diego, CA


This year coming into preseason, it was definitely a different experience.  Sitting in the RIMAC Green Room, I thought back to exactly a year ago, waiting in the same place, but completely clueless to everything going on and how different it felt coming in as a sophomore.  Seeing all the new people and how nervously scared they looked, I realized I was in the same position last year.  This year, however, I walked in and saw familiar faces, knew how try-outs would work, and more or less knew what to expect. 

The first day we reported for physicals bright and early, and realized that the number of people trying out was astounding.  Dealing with the numbers seemed like a daunting task with so many players to watch with so much skill and talent. After the physicals we had a captain's practice to get everyone's first day jitters out. The first few days consisted of a lot of playing and scrimmaging to see how well the different players could match up with each other. Between and after each practice we all would take turns ice bathing to make sure our legs were ready to go for the next practice.

The incoming class this year has a ton of talent, which proved to be very difficult for the cuts that had to come. After the tryout process was completed we ended up with a big squad with a lot of potential. Although last year's memories are still fresh in most of our minds, the most important task at hand is working hard in order to have a successful year. The success of this year depends solely on what we achieve this year and not what has happened in the past. With this mentality all of the players are focused and ready to prove that this is our year.

Away from the field many of the new girls and some returners, including myself, are staying on campus and utilizing our spare time to hang out and get to know each other. Also, in order to create team chemistry we have our usual team dinner, in which we all eat, talk, and hang out because preseason is the time to not only train hard but also create a bond that will last a lifetime.


Thursday, August 18, 2011
Chris Barton - Men's Water Polo
Redshirt Junior - Carlsbad, CA

We begin our "hell week" journey every year with a series of admin meetings and physicals by the athletic trainers. During the meetings we receive our game schedule and practice schedule for the year. The whole room is filled with excitement along with nervousness for the next two weeks which are intended to prepare us for the coming three month season.

 

Our program goes through a very unique hell week that even seems to produce a feeling of anticipation in our graduated players even though they are not a part of the journey this year. I was personally issued a good luck text by UCSD Water Polo alumnus Bryce Madsen and words of encouragement from another former teammate Michael Bausback.

Thursday's first day began with a run from the pool to computer hill to the Sun God statue and back to the pool. In total the run was just over a mile and during hell week every bit of excercise is meant to be a competition. Denny (head coach Denny Harper) encourages the spirit of competition by distributing a little extra work to those who come in last. These exercises range from extra lunges to extra push-ups and even sometimes a bit humorous like demonstrating a proper belly flop for the whole team to see.

Upon returning to the pool after the run, Denny told us to do it again but in reverse order. Once we got back to the pool for the second time we had a brief meeting with pool maintenance guru and legend Rob Patty who oriented all of us on the proper set up for the water polo course (a blessing because it took time away from our three-hour practice). Next we got in the pool and swam 5,500 meters and ended the practice with laps and laps of butterfly as a consequence for not getting the lane lines back in the pool in under the prescribed two minute time period. After completion of the first practice everyone was excited the first one was over with but dreading the next three-hour practice that was only three hours away.

With only a three-hour break there is not much time to do anything but stretch and eat as much as you can. The next practice began with a traditional run to Stonehenge, a UCSD landmark near the Revelle College dorms. Every year we run to Stonehenge on and take a group photo with everyone on the pillars. Upon return to the pool there was four minutes and 30 seconds on the clock which is an automatic sign that we need to break the pool down FAST. We know if we don't break it down within the time limit we will get some "bonus laps," but luckily we got it in time and avoided the extra swimming. We still swam and swam some more but those who showed some speed were rewarded in the last half hour of practice with passing and shooting while those who were lagging behind were issued another swim set of 20x100's freestyle on the 1:20.

To conclude the day about half the team sticks around to ice bath together on the pool deck. Ice baths are key to training for six hours a day at the intensity that we do to avoid injury and soreness. It also gives us an opportunity to talk about the day, joke around and plan for the days to come. As Denny puts it, "This is our time to bond through pain."

Watch the Men's Water Polo team set up the pool with commentary by Head Coach Denny Harper (click HERE)



Wednesday
, August 17, 2010
Kian Malek - Men's Soccer
Junior - Los Altos Hills, CA


UCSD Men's Soccer pre-season has officially begun! We are in the middle of double days working hard getting ready for the coming season. We have a young team with plenty of talented, experienced returners from last year including myself, who have been lifting, running and playing together all summer.

We started off this pre-season with a fitness test which most of the team passed and we began double days this last Monday. Right now our daily schedule consists of waking up early and practicing from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM, eating lunch and relaxing in the dorms, practicing again from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM, eating dinner together and then going to sleep early around 10:00 PM.

I know I'm making pre-season and double days sound terrible, but besides waking up early with chronic soreness in your legs, extreme hunger and ice baths after every practice, it's not that bad! In all seriousness, I love pre-season because I get to play the best sport in the world with my best friends in the best place on earth, La Jolla.

If you are a UCSD student, someone living near La Jolla or just someone who loves soccer and cute guys you definitely need to come watch us play this year because you will not be disappointed. I am confident we will have a strong performance this season after the wins we had against Division I schools this last spring season and because of the amount of hard work individuals on the team have put into their summer workouts to get ready for this pre-season.

I am also proud to announce that we have just completed the 2011-2012 UCSD Men's Soccer Warm-Up CD that you will not want to miss out on! So make sure to come out to our games, cheer on our team especially #9 and become part of the Triton Soccer Family!

To see why Kian says you should come out and watch the men's soccer team this season, click here.


Tuesday, August 16, 2010
Janessa Werhane - Women's Volleyball
Senior - Norco, CA

Sunday

Today is officially the start of volleyball season! No workouts or anything, but the whole team is back together again, we get physicals, our coaches go over the team rules, and the best part...we get all of our new gear for the season. However, there is a big downside to this day. Many, if not all, of the teams start their seasons off with a conditioning test of some sort and you spend most of this day worrying if you are going to pass it. It looms over your head because you know all of your teammates are thinking the same things. Am I going to pass it? What happens if I don't? Did I prepare enough over summer?!? I think that is the big one. No matter how much time you spend in the summer lifting weights, conditioning and doing rehab, the conditioning test has its way of making you question yourself. However, for the most part, we put our worries aside and today I realized our team has a different vibe this year and you can tell everyone is ready to start practicing. With five seniors, this year, more than ever, we want that National Championship.

Monday

Oh shoot, the conditioning test is today! The conditioning test! Oh man, I'm not ready, it's so early, should I eat? These are the thoughts that raced through my head this morning as I woke up to the sound of Country Strong blaring next to my head. They say that you should wake up to mellow sounds so as to relieve stress but I think this occasion called for something with a little more oomph. I got to campus around 7:30 AM-time to start doing the dynamic warm-up. Whether we are ready or not, it is time to get this run test over with.

WOOOO! Run test and first practice are over! It was difficult but as a team we did a really great job of pushing ourselves and each other and then went on to have a great practice. Just serving and passing but it was still good quality for our first day back.

First official practice of season is over!!! It was way more intense than I thought it would be and we meshed together as a team more than I could have hoped for. This is going to be a good season.

Tuesday

Whoever thinks "lifting" at 8:00 in the morning is a psycho. Most of us haven't even seen the clock say 8:00 AM in seven weeks, if not longer. Brendan (McDermott) is a good fit as our new strength and conditioning coach but he is so alive and "peppy" for that early in the morning and not too many of us are ready for that. Our bodies are already feeling the tightness and soreness of day one.  We had to rush from weights to our first practice of the day. Things started to pick up since we worked on defense. My personal favorite, but not so much for the rest. When we got done, it was the usual assessment of the 8,000 new bruises we have on our knees and hips and the floor burn we have on our thighs. Man, I love defense.

Second practice of the day was AMAZING!!!! We worked so hard as a team. For how sore most of us are we were moving well, getting to balls and our middle hitters were dominating. This was a good show of how much everyone has worked over the summer and how eager we are to start conference. Finally day two is over.


 

Monday, August 15, 2011
Catherine Crisp - Women's Cross Country
Junior - Roseville, CA


Today the UCSD cross country team met up for the first run of the season. It marked the beginning of early morning jogs with the girls and the end of a summer characterized by lazy mornings. Determined to make it to practice on time I bet my occasionally untimely roommate (also a teammate) a dollar if she could get to her car and be ready to go by 6:45 AM.  Needless to say, I lost. Twenty minutes early to practice, my roommates and I sat in a Sorrento Valley parking lot listening to Katie Perry's new single "Last Friday Night," unable to find anything else playing on the radio-shocking, I know. At 7:20 practice started, and boys stripped their shirts whilst girls complimented each other's colorful sports bras.

Soon thereafter the girls set off for a 60-minute run, a simple out and back, along a rolling trail. Each hill brought a new challenge but the quick downhills brought immediate payoff. The group jogged along and chatted about our adventures the day before, for the freshmen particularly their early bedtime the previous night and their TV screening of "Mean Girls." When back in the parking lot the group stretched for 20 minutes leaving plenty more time to plan the day ahead which for the majority of the girls was characterized by sleeping, eating, some more sleeping and then some more eating. 

At 3:00 PM, I met up with the rest of the team to participate in the much-anticipated strength test, something of a challenge for most distance runners (we are not exactly known for our upper body strength). Jackie Sikkema proved to be a beast as usual on the pull up bar-18 times she managed to poke her chin up above the bar! And Aaryon Kobayashi broke the kip-up record, pulling off 26 to knock alumni Lindsey Stalker off the all-time charts. Sore and tired, Nate (head coach Nate Garcia) sent us home to relax until tomorrow, which meant sneaking a quick hot tub session in before the late night movie marathon began.


 

Sunday, August 14, 2011
Lindsay Mills - Women's Soccer
Senior - Valencia, CA

After a long journey on the high road to NCAA Finals last season, our team is thirsty for another shot. It is hard to stay true to our "student"-athlete" title when most of us girls would rather drop it all, just to play a single collegiate game of soccer. Though this is never plausible, especially with the rigorous studies at UC San Diego, the thought definitely crosses all of our minds on game days.

This will be my fourth season as a Triton athlete, but once summer begins, the stress and butterflies that are part of tryouts for next season begin to weighs heavy on my mind. I wish I could say that confidence reigns supreme in all of our hearts, but in all honesty, our team is humble and knows that this game and a spot on this team is a true gift. It is not simply given to anyone, but earned by all who fight for the opportunity. I went into this summer, feeling like an incoming freshman not knowing what the future might hold but still giving it my best shot, like the rest of the team.

As always, the summer started with workouts. However, it is difficult when we are all apart, either back at home or on vacation, to keep a steady and strong pace with the fitness regimen. Therefore we started this past "captain's practice" week, where all the returners die for a week of double day practices and ultimately resurrect ourselves for tryouts which start tomorrow. This year, I was actually able to make all of captain's practices because I was not taking lab classes for graduate school in nursing which will be my future starting next fall. We ran track workouts, suicide drills, and did a lot of skill and ball work as well.

During this summer I realized that being a student-athlete has helped me keep my drive and determination in all aspects of my life, even if that meant missing an awesome trip to Costa Rica with the team in July! Though I was envious of everyone who went on the trip, I worked hard and completed two classes during summer session and volunteered at a local hospital.

Life is all about balance. The demands of academia and the endless hours of soccer practice motivate each of us to accomplish great things for our own future. Together we achieve success on the field through our talent and our strength as a cohesive team.