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Sunnyslope 2023 Fall Sports Preview

Sunnyslope+2023+Fall+Sports+Preview

The start of the school year always seems like it goes by the slowest, but we are rapidly approaching the beginning of the fall sports season.

Hundreds of student-athletes have been preparing for the past three weeks – some even over summer – for this very moment, and this fall the school will doubtlessly witness unparalleled success, grit, and students giving their last ounce of effort to bring a little bit of glory to the school and themselves.

This preview will cover the first three sports due to start, so click on whichever sport you would like to read more on: Badminton, Golf, Football

Badminton

By Bode Pangborn, Reporter

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Excitement is in the air, Sunnyslope-Green lines the bleachers, and the girls are ready to smash the birdies and score some aces — the badminton match is about to begin.

Sunnyslope’s badminton season is starting today.

The team did very well last year, going 14-3 making it all the way to the third round of the state tournament before falling to Perry.

Head Coach Sara Schlesinger attributed the team’s success to the rigorous exercise done each and every practice.

“We do a lot of conditioning and whatnot to keep the girls ready,” said Schlesinger.

Even so, the team will be without some talent from this past year.

Senior Sabrina Case said, “We had two seniors leave that were on varsity, our number one spot left and she was a big component to the team.”

Nonetheless, players are hopeful that this year’s freshman can help fill those spots left behind.

“We have some new talent coming up, so hopefully they’ll help fill the seniors’ place,” said Case.

The incoming freshmen are already showing their dedication to the sport as well.

“We have a lot of incoming freshmen that actually came to our open gyms when they were in middle school,” said Senior Phoebe Roussin.

Still, there are many challenging opponents that the team must face this year.

Perry’s badminton team has been really good; they’ve won the past couple of state championships along with Chaparral said Case.

Slope has multiple state championships under its belt as well, and has been in the state tournament every year since 2001.

Despite having a difficult season ahead of them, the players manage to keep spirits high; Roussin said, “I’m looking forward to having a good time because it’s my last year, so I’m excited to be up on varsity.”

Along with this, interest in badminton has been steadily growing.

“I would say last year was maybe some of the best fan support we’ve had from our students,” said Schlesinger.

Regardless, the varsity spot stays a high honor not all can receive.

Schlesinger said, “We’ve had some good talent try out this year, it was so hard because there were so many good freshmen and you can only have so many [players].”

The first match is today August 22nd at Chandler High School, against the Chandler Wolves.

 

Golf

By Sam Porell, Sports Editor

It’s a quiet, clear day as you hear the unmistakable sound of a golf ball being struck purely…  and then… a  thump as it lands on the green inches away from the hole.

Sunnyslope’s golf team teed off to start the season on August 15th winning their first match, but it’s not too late to preview their season quite yet.

Head Coach Joshua Woznicki said, “The team did good as a whole last year and improved over the season, so they got a lot of experience under their belt.” 

Experience is one thing that really could help the team this year as it is full of underclassmen and only 2 seniors.

“Some of the younger guys are better scorers right now,” said Wonzicki, “So, even some of the older guys, I think, look up to them as good players.”

Just because this year’s team is full of youth doesn’t mean they should be counted out of having success or even going to state.

Junior Jackson Pieratt said, “I think if we all pull together our best games and go low at every match I think we have a chance of [making state].”

This isn’t just a sentiment that is felt by the players either.

Woznicki said some goals for this year are “definitely to repeat at districts, repeat at regions, and hopefully make it to state as a team.”

Ambition is surely one thing that drives this team, but not only for team success.

‘We got a lot of guys on the team that want to make state,” said Pieratt.

While the boy’s golf team is looking forward to having a successful season, for the first time there is a girl’s golf team to watch.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for these girls,” said Head Girls Coach Jens Erie, “I think it’s intimidating for them to come out and try to compete against the boys unless they’re really good.”

Girls golf is brand new at Sunnyslope this year which Eire largely credits to students like Sophomore Golfer Caroline Gibson, and the new program is already starting to grow.

Erie said that four girls showed up at tryouts, but in the next week two more plan on joining the team. 

The next boy’s match is August 26th and the girls will play their very first match on August 23rd.

And as for expectations for the girls, Erie said, “My expectations are to have them grow as golfers, get better, and compete as hard as they can.”

 

Football

By Eva Echeveste, Reporter

Football has always been a coveted sport here at Sunnyslope and last year, the season didn’t end how the team wanted: losing in the first round of playoffs to Marana High School.

With many returning players and 29 seniors on the roster, expectations this year are high with lots of potential coming in. 

“We have a lot of kids,” said Head Coach Sam Jacobs, “A lot of players back with a lot of experience.”

With a lot of the returning players, there is also a lot of maturity on this team and the players have cultivated a strong friendship during the off-season.

“This year, we’re like a brotherhood really,” said Senior Jacob Jenners, who is entering his third season on varsity. 

Since they are all close with each other, they have good chemistry going into the season; however, there are still a couple of things to work on.

“There were a couple of games I think we probably should have won,” said Jacobs, talking about last year’s schedule. 

After an off-season of identifying weak points to work on, the team is gearing up for a solid 5A schedule.

“Our schedule is probably the toughest one in 5A, but I think we’re up for the challenge,” said Jenners. 

With a tough schedule up ahead, the team has had to put in a lot of work during the off-season.  

“The whole team knows the plays, we’ve just got to work on perfecting them,” said Jenners. 

By perfecting the plays, hitting harder, and refusing to lose, the team will hope to improve their record and postseason success. 

After a 6-5 season and a playoff appearance Jacobs said, “I think it was a good growing step as a program.”

Using last season as a stepping stone, the team is hoping to capture a top seed in the playoffs and make a run for the state championship while also having a home playoff game hopefully. 

The team has high expectations this year being picked to win their region by AZ Central and it’ll start with the first game for the varsity football team which is on August 25th at home against Cactus High School. 

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