Editor’s Note: This is part 1 of a two part preview for Samohi’s upcoming athletic season
Vikings in ‘different spot’ after successful offseason
After a rough season last year, with an overall record of 2 wins and 8 losses, the Samohi Vikings football squad hopes to make a comeback this fall.
Head Coach Carter Paysinger is confident the team will improve its record for the upcoming season.
“We expect to be a playoff team, and do really well in both the preseason and in our league season,” Paysinger said.
Last season was the first year for all the coaching staff, Coach Paysinger included. They were still learning about the kids, and the kids were still learning about the coaches and their systems, he said. They also didn’t have an offseason in 2022 due to the transition between coaches, which had a negative impact on the squad.
“You win football games in the offseason,” Coach Paysinger explained. “So when you don’t have an offseason, you just hope for the best. This year we’ve had a full offseason, worked hard, kids have worked really hard. We’re in a completely different spot than we were a year ago.”
With the strong emphasis players put on working hard in the offseason, the team has been preparing since the spring with weight room work, plyometric work and cardio.
Although the team recently lost 14 graduates, Coach Paysinger is not worried.
“Sophomores and Juniors that played varsity last year are falling right into those roles,” Paysinger said. “And many of those guys were leaders last year, so it’s been an easy transition for them this year.”
First flag waves for Samohi girls squad
Samohi girls flag football will play its inaugural season this fall, as it is girls flag football’s first year as a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) sanctioned sport.
Coach Ramsey Lambert, who has been the weight training and conditioning teacher for eight years now, as well as an advocate for women’s sports, is “extremely excited” to be the coach.
“So far, every practice we’ve been getting better and better, so our goal is to continue that and then take that into the games too,” Coach Lambert said. “So from one game, whether we win or lose, we can outperform how we did in the last game and then hopefully put some wins together along the way, because it’s fun when you win.”
The team held tryouts at the beginning of summer and saw a turnout of almost 50 girls, which excited Lambert to see how many people were interested in playing. The current roster has 22 players, most being juniors and sophomores, with the exception of one senior. Flag football is new for pretty much every single one of them.
“I hope they’re able to understand the game itself, but also learn how working together is so important from each play in this game,” Coach Lambert said. “And that they’re willing to sacrifice their beliefs for the betterment of the team and execute what they’re asked to execute.”
On the first day of school, their first game is at Cabrillo High School to kick off the preseason.
Experienced duo readies Vikings for tournament push
Last season, the girls varsity tennis team tied for last place in the Bay League. This season, they’re back and ready to take on tough competition.
In the two previous seasons, the top players have been underclassmen. Meleja Horelick (’25) and Avey Thompson (’25) have both been playing the top two spots on varsity for the past two years. Now that they are upperclassmen and experienced, Coach Shaun Simone (on paternity leave during the 2022 season) is confident the team can improve in the standings this season.
“Our goal is always the same goal. It’s to get to the CIF team tournament,” Coach Simone said.
In hopes of better results, Simone is planning on taking a different approach on how the team practices.
While there will still be a varsity and junior varsity team, all 30 girls will be split into three different skill-based levels in order to organize practices. With this approach, players of different skill won’t practice together or have to challenge each other for positions.
“The previous seasons, we were like [a record of] 4-6, for example, and we missed [CIF] by a win. So we’re right there.”
Sienna Bevan, SMDP Intern