The 2011 Winter Sports Season is upon us and based on last night's Menlo Madness, the enthusiasm is at an all time high with a thrilling atmosphere covering the entire campus. The two hour long event to kick off the winter season featured introductions of the men's and women's wrestling teams, as well as welcoming in the 2011-12 edition of both Oaks' basketball squads, who look prime in their quests for a Cal Pac title.
After the rousing introductions, fans were treated to a wrestling showcase, promptly followed by a men's and women's intermixed basketball scrimmage. With Haynes-Prim practically bursting at the seams with excitement, a dance-off sent the Menlo faithful over the edge as a combination of adrenaline and school spirit was pushed to the forefront.
The night also saw the birth of Menlo's newest mascot, Alfredo the Angry Ancorn. Now that the madness is over, the exhilaration of another winter season is underway. Here are the early season outlooks of all four teams:
Coming into the 2011-12 season the big question surrounding the Menlo's Men's Basketball team is how the loss of six influential seniors will affect this year's squad? Last year the Oaks won the California Pacific Conference regular season title for only the third time in the school's history and first in nine years. Cal Pac Player of the Year and second leading scorer in Menlo history Julian Harris is no longer part of the fold and neither is Conference Defender of the Year Nick McCullar…well sort of. McCullar is now an assistant coach and with second year Head Coach and last year's Cal Pac Coach of the Year Jonathan Surface at the helm, they are confident that the team will be as good as ever.
You can't forget that Menlo still returns senior forward Tim Tatum, who was a 2010-11 1stTeam All-Cal Pac recipient in his own right, averaging 9.8 PPG and 6.5 boards a contest. The Oaks also welcome back sophomore point guard Carlos Monroy who earned a great deal of experience as a freshman starter last year. Forward Andrew Young also returns for a senior season and promises to make an impact with his stellar combination of height and skill from the post. Surface brings in a strong recruiting class of five, including four transfers who have the ability to make an immediate impact based on their previous collegiate experience. A duplicate 2010-11 season is definitely a possibility as according to Surface, "Our combination of returners and new guys will put us right back in the mix for a Cal Pac title."
Now in her fourth season in charge of the Lady Oaks, Head Coach Shannon Osborne will look to continue to build off the success of the past three seasons. Osborne boasts an impressive 52-34 overall record with an outstanding 29-11 mark in the Cal Pac. This year's team features a steady combination of productive returners with a fiery incoming recruiting class of seven, which gives Menlo a chance to accomplish some pretty special things for the 2011-12 season.
Seniors Erika Garcia and Brittany Taylor sit atop the list of returners after Garcia earned 1st Team All-Cal Pac recognition last season, averaging 11.9 PPG along with 5.6 boards a contest. As far as Taylor is concerned, you can call her the unsung hero of the team, leading the Oaks in minutes year in and year out and is also one of the team captains. Garcia and Taylor will be accompanied by newcomers Jolise Limcaco, Lauren Adamek, and Laurel Donnenwirth who have the ability for an immediate impact. Donnenwirth enters her Oaks tenure after a storied high school career that saw her win League MVP as well as a 2nd Team All-State distinction. Limcaco possesses great speed and can shoot the lights out from the guard position while Adamek promises to be a dynamic forward all year long.
Experience and leadership are sure to dominate the 2011-12 Men's Wrestling headlines as eight seniors will hit the mats for their final campaigns. Among the eight, be sure to keep an eye on Lenny Romero and Christian Martinez. Romero finished the 2010-11 campaign leading the team in victories while Martinez has a unique opportunity to be the first three time All-American in Oaks history.
Joining Menlo's veteran core is an incoming group of talent ready to make an immediate splash. Juniors Alex Varela and Angel Garcia come in with outstanding collegiate backgrounds and are fitting right in with the rest of the newcomers as well as all the returners. "Everyone is meshing well, the team is working hard," remarked third year Head Coach Joey Martinez. "Coming into the season they have high expectations for themselves and I believe that we have the potential to finish in the top ten in the National Tournament."
The 2011-12 Lady Oaks come into this year's campaign with an exciting, fresh new feel. This season Head Coach Marcie Van Dusen brings in a stellar recruiting class of 15 dynamic freshmen which has given the program incredible possibilities for years to come. "I can't even begin to describe the type of energy that 15 freshmen bring into the program," remarked Van Dusen on the incoming talent. "They come in with a feeling like they can achieve anything. No goal is impossible to them."
Headlining the star studded class are Jasmine Yanez, Brazel Marquez, and Lauren Richardson. All three took home top six finishes in Junior Nationals last year with Marquez earning top bill with a second place mark. As far as Yanez is concerned she comes in with a wealth of experience after representing Team USA in the Junior Pan American competitions in Brazil this past summer. Combine the remarkable freshmen potential with outstanding returners Sherry Sabado and Michelle Iminez-Linares, who earned top five finishes at two separate national tournaments, and the 2011 season has a chance to be very special.