Approaching Gaithersburg High School from Frederick Road before the volleyball match on Wednesday offers a vignette of a place in transition from old to new. In the place of what was once a parking lot is a new school building under construction, several stories high of brick walls and a prominent front entrance beginning to show its face amidst the surrounding dirt and tools of the construction trade. Just beyond the new building, the 1951 building still functions as a school (Gaithersburg High School as an institution goes back to 1904),
Inside the old gymnasium, banners and photographs on the wall give a history lesson on the school's success in athletics. The ceiling is pitched in the middle, running from wall to wall beyond the baselines of the basketball court. Exposed steel beams extend perpendicular to the roll-away bleachers across the court, and pendants hang from the ceiling with what seems to be seven or eight different color temperature medal halide lamps. Inevitably, at several times during a typical high school volleyball match, the ball careens with pinball-like action off the beams and pendants, though not on purpose.
This was the last high school volleyball match in that old gymnasium. It was Gaithersburg's Senior Night and the well-coached Trojans played with fire and heart and mustered up a good old fashioned fight against the Patriots under that pitched ceiling, those beams, pendant lights, banners, while standing on a foundation of 62 years of tradition.
The Patriots are making a few memories of their own. Among the highlights:
- All-County veterans Justin Fowler, Jeffrey Qiu, and Paul Malinauskas continue their stellar seasons. People notice them... for good reason. They have earned that.
- Senior veterans Henry Zhou and Charles Wang are making the point on the court that any talk about the county's top players is not complete if they are not mentioned as part of that discussion.
- First year senior Aaron Krotman has completed his transition from running receiving routes on the football field to running a quick middle attack on the volleyball court. He also is learning to tie his shoes.
- Wootton is working on improving it's vocabulary to break the huddle. It is not good. Please help.
- Junior Ben Wang keeps the ball off the floor.
- Junior Cary Chin kept his chin up in a rare bench performance against Gaithersburg after being sidelined with an ankle injury. We anxiously await his return.
- Sophomore Mark Pang hits the ball hard. And he is always ready to do so.
- Sophomore Richard Hum can play middle. And leftside. And rightside. And backrow. He did all of that impressively. Oh, and he can also set. And start for the state championship soccer team. And start at point guard for the basketball team.
- Sophomore 6'3" middle blocker Ethan Frymark made his debut as a setter in set 2. Stay tuned....
- Sophomore Adam Kaplan is deceptively efficient as an opposite, and knows the right place to be in the back row, which, by formal definition, is where the volleyball is. His unique volleyball training with a hockey puck on ice with Wootton's hockey team must be his secret.
- Freshmen Aleks Psurek, Hunry Shu, and Justin Wu are still freshmen, so words must be tempered lest they become sophomoric. About them: After the daily grind of facing everyone mentioned above in practice, they use their opportunities when the get court time on game day.
Wootton's Senior Night will be held at it's next match--the last regular season home match--against a formidable Clarksburg team. First serve is at 5:15 pm.