- By Terry Bernal Daily Journal Staff
It’s been a man’s world in the exceptional Half Moon Bay athletics run of 2017-18.
HMB boys’ teams have produced a Central Coast Section and Northern California championships in football; a CCS championship and Northern California quarterfinalist in basketball; and a Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division title in soccer.
Now, it’s the girls’ turn to shine on the Coastside.
In 2017, the Lady Cougars ruled the springtime with PAL championships in all three spring sports in which they compete. Each the track and swimming teams took Ocean Division girls’ titles, while the softball team tied powerhouse Carlmont for a co-championship in the upper Bay Division.
With all three teams getting the core of their respective talents back this season, the best may be yet to come for the Cougar girls of springtime.
Here’s the rundown:
Half Moon Bay is off to a 4-0 start on the diamond, extending its winning streak thanks to the heroics of sophomore Chloe Moffitt.
The younger of HMB’s softball sister act, including senior shortstop Lily Moffitt, the power-hitting Chloe Moffitt had only ever played first base and right field. On Saturday, though, the Cougars’ star pitcher, senior Grace Garcia, was unable to play due to illness. So, Chloe Moffitt got the call.
Cougars head coach Rachel Catuiza informed the sophomore she’d be making her varsity debut in the circle the day of a road trip to San Jose to take on Evergreen Valley. Catuiza infused a quick pep talk, to which Chloe Moffitt responded like a champ.
Catuiza said to the sophomore: “’I hate to do this to you but you’re good. You’re ready.’ And she took the ball without hesitation.”
With the Cougars offense rallying for crooked numbers in each of the first three innings en route to a 13-5 victory, the younger Moffitt found the comfort zone in the circle, working five innings, allowing five runs on three hits, while walking five and striking out six. And at the plate, she continued to do what she does best, going 3 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs.
The Moffitt sisters offset each others’ personalities perfectly, according to Catuiza. Lily Moffitt, a senior, is a boisterous team leader, while Chloe Moffitt is known as the quiet one.
“Lily is loud — she’s small, she’s tinier than Chloe — but it’s not a bad thing,” Catuiza said. “She’s the life of the party and is always smiling. Chloe’s quiet. … They’re very different.”
Chloe Moffitt let her performance do the talking Saturday though. And her pitching impressed to the point where Catuiza is considering her the pitcher of the future.
“I told Chloe it’s hers if she wants it,” Catuiza said.
That future isn’t likely to come to fruition until next year after Garcia, the 2017 PAL Bay Division Pitcher of the Year, departs to play collegiately on scholarship at the Division II program for UC San Diego.
“After what she did the other day … that’s someone that, ‘I respect that Grace is here. And when it’s my time, it’s my time,’” Catuiza said. “That’s a great teammate.”
Last year, it was a young foursome that led the Cougars to the PAL Ocean title, with Grace Anderson, Mia Griffiths, Eve Kearns and Riley Rhodes — all freshmen in 2017 — taking a wrecking ball to the Half Moon Bay record books.
This year, the sophomore foursome is picking up right where they left off.
“It’s kind of been a continuation of the progress we saw last year,” said Justin Ferdinand, Half Moon Bay’s athletic director, who also serves as a varsity swim coach. “They do a great job of leading the team and getting everybody involved. … Their level of competitiveness pushes everybody else’s competitiveness
Anderson hit two CCS qualifying times in the meet in the 200 free (2:00.56) and the 100 free (55.80). Rhodes made the CCS cut in the 100 backstroke (1:02.60).
Sure, there’s an excitement surrounding the HMB pool that any or all of the four can do something historic on any given day. Ferdinand said the real excitement, though, is the energy the underclassmen bring to the team on a daily basis.
“On a grander scale, they work really hard, they love to race, they love to compete,” Ferdinand said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get on a daily basis but it’s exciting every day they hit the pool.”
Track and field
Speaking of history, the Half Moon Bay track and field team will officially host its first home track meet in school history next Wednesday in a dual meet with Burlingame.
Previous to this year, Half Moon Bay held its scheduled home meets in Pacifica at rival Terra Nova’s track. The reason was HMB did not have field apparatuses at its home track.
As part of the $3 million project to make over the football field and track at Half Moon Bay, though, the school added shot put and discus pits, long jump and triple jump runways, and high jump and pole vault areas.
The remodel started in April 2017 and was completed later last year in October.
“This will be the first official season where we’ve been able to host a home track meet,” Ferdinand said.