April 23, 2008 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
A look back at the special football season that was, and a look into the future of Devon Fitzgerald.
by Devon Fitzgerald
“Who wants the ball?” Coach Owens asked coming into the huddle. There was 10 seconds left in the half and we on their 40-yard line. I said I wanted it and Coach Owens had the faith to put the ball in my hands. He designed a play that right from the snap went wrong. It was a pitch right and everyone went left. I ran right and then cut in the middle, defenders were there and three of them hit me, but I was able to spin out of their tackles and run 40 yards for the touchdown. We took a 13-0 lead into halftime with momentum on our side. That was freshman year against Montbello, and four years later Coach Owens still has the faith in me to give me the ball when it matters most.
For the past four years of my life I have dedicated myself to the TJ Spartan football program, from the grueling two-a-day practices to intense 7 am strength and conditioning, and the never-ending film sessions. The hard work paid off as my senior season approached. I was faster, stronger, and quicker than I had ever been before. My fellow seniors, some of my best friends, guys I’ve grown up with, my brothers and I, we were ready for our final season together. Read more
January 25, 2008 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
Spartans enjoy an easy win as they prepare for a showdown with East.
by Devon Fitzgerald
The TJ Spartan wrestling team took on the Montbello Warriors on Thursday night, and came away with an easy and decisive victory.
The reason the match was so easy is because there were only three wrestlers who competed: Matt Norlander, Peter Taylor, and Freshman Robert McMacken . The Warriors were only able to put three wrestlers on the mat. If a team does not have a wrestler for a certain weight class then it qualifies as a forfeit and the opposing team receives a pin-fall, or 6 points. The Spartans took eleven forfeits for 66 total points. Justin Tara said, “Even though Montebello only were able to put three kids on the floor, it was good to get another league win before we go against East, which will decide the city title.”
In the three matches that the Spartans competed in they went 1-2. Peter Taylor was the only one to be victorious for the Spartans. However, this was Norlander’s first match in almost a month.
“There is not much you can do when the other team does not have enough guys, but a win’s a win and we’ll take it,” said Senior leader Michael Hawkins.
Clearly, the Spartans are on a roll as they take their momentum from the win towards their pursuit of a City Championship.
January 16, 2008 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
Outstanding Hawkins defeats Wyoming State Champ to take first place in 285lb class.
This past weekend the TJ wrestling team traveled to Vernal, Utah for the Tournament of Champions where they wrestled their hearts out. The boys finished 21st place out of 34 teams, which is right where Coach Laurita expected his team to be.
Wrestlers report that the tournament was mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. The team started their venture with a six-hour van ride and not a lot of space to oneself. The athletes were on a strict diet, so the road trip was not filled with snacks and fast food. This was just the start of a long and rigorous weekend full of wrestling.
On Saturday, beginning at 9:00 am, the team had to weigh in to see if they made weight. If a wrestler was three pounds under he could go enjoy a nice hearty breakfast, but if not he could only have a bagel or two. Read more
January 10, 2008 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
TJ wrestlers dominate George Washington
by Devon Fitzgerald
The wrestling team took care of business last night defeating the George Washington Patriots 75-3 in a dominating performance.
The Spartans were not pressed very hard throughout the night as they scored a victory in every match but one. The one match lost was by freshman standout Brandon Tara who was battling the flu, yet he managed to show a courageous effort in the loss.
The usual dominating performance came from the undefeated Michael Hawkins out-dueling his opponent by pin-fall in the first round. “It was a good win for the team. I just tried to do my best and use my ability to overpower my opponent,” said Hawkins. Clearly, he overpowered his opponent along with a few other teammates including Evan Duran, Chris Salazar, Boris Tubic, and Matt Norlander all showed dominating performances on the mat, scoring pin-falls in the first round. Justin Tara also kept his record of 11 wins and 3 losses by forfeit because the Patriots didn’t have a contestant in his weight class. Read more
December 16, 2007 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
Wrestlers pin Kennedy and Lincoln to the mat.
The Thomas Jefferson Wrestling team had a doubleheader on Thursday night, beating league rivals Lincoln and Kennedy. With those victories, the Spartans’ season goal to be city champions has begun.
The Spartans are starting to build their reputation as a dominant wrestling team in the city as well as the state. Their first victim was the Lincoln Lancers, who in past years have given the wrestlers some tough matches. However, this night the Spartans showed a dominant performance winning 66-16 despite a slow start. The Spartans lost two early matches, but were able to turn it around with strong performances across the board. Read more
October 15, 2007 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
Senior softball star Amanda Weaver shines on the diamond.
The TJ softball team lost a few key seniors last season, but if there is one thing Coach Jackson is happy about, it is that Amanda Weaver is back for her fourth and final year of Spartan softball. It has been a long and rigorous road filled with many ups and downs, but Weaver has been through it all on the diamond, literally.
She started her career playing second base as a freshman, but since then she’s bounced around from shortstop to catcher, and now she starts at first base. “Playing all these positions has given me more respect for the game of softball,” Weaver said. Clearly, this Lady Spartan has an abundance of unique talent that she brings to the field. Since the age of 7, she has played the game of softball with a passion. “I just started because it was something to do,” Weaver said. “I liked it and it was fun, so I kept playing and practicing, and I love it now.” Weaver believes she was destined to be a softball player, as her mom also played in her younger years. Read more
September 19, 2007 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
The softball girls beat West to improve their record to 7-7.
Two weeks ago the girls’ softball team had a record of 1-5 and were outscored 18-53 in those six games. Fast-forward to Tuesday afternoon, and the girls were sitting at 6-7 with a four game winning streak on the line and the West Cowboys standing in the way of five in a row.
The girls’ softball team was victorious, but it was their presence and demeanor that was the most impressive part of the game for the Spartans. Whether in the field, at the plate, or on the pitching mound the girls had an overwhelming aura of greatness about them and showed it in a dominating performance. The Spartans took an early 2-0 lead when Lauren Kelsch scored off an Amanda Weaver double. Weaver would score off of a base hit by Senior Lucy Bell, and the West Cowboys would eventually get out of the inning shortly after. Aryn Grywusiewicz picked up right where she left off in her last game, striking out eight and giving up only one hit all game. Read more
September 18, 2007 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
The softball girls move their win streak to four.
If there are three things Head Softball Coach Kyler Jackson has wanted all year, it is for his softball girls to come out and hit the ball, get runs, and make outs. On Saturday September 15, the Lady Spartans did just that.
The Spartans took their three game winning streak to Sand Creek High School to take on the 4-5 Scorpions and the bat of Melissa Sandoval. The girls started off slowly and fell behind 2-1 after the second inning. The Scorpions drove across two more runs to make the score 4-1, and with the way Sand Creek’s pitcher Terri Carter was throwing, things didn’t look good for the TJ nine.
However, in the fourth inning the Lady Spartan bats came alive when a single by Amanda Weaver sparked a Spartan comeback. A double from catcher Lucy Bell drove in Weaver to make the score 4-2. TJ added two more as Aryn Grywusiwicz, who went 4-5 on the day, helped herself out with a triple that scored Bell and Kelly Hill. Sand Creek was finally able to get out of the inning striking out sophomore standout Morgan Bertram. Read more
September 12, 2007 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
Aryn Grywusiewicz leads team to a solid win against Montbello.
On a beautiful Tuesday September 11, the Lady Spartan softball team took on the Montbello Warriors and looked to turn their season around behind pitcher Aryn Grywusiewicz, who pitched an amazing no hitter and was only three walks away from the most prestigious feat in softball: the perfect game. With a dominating performance on the mound, the Spartans could focus on their offense, and that is what they did.
Led by senior outfielder Kelly Hill, the Spartans took an insurmountable lead in the first inning by scoring 6 runs, including an inside the park grand slam. “Aryn pitched a phenomenal game. She pretty much did the work and all we had to do was get runs and we were able to do that,” said first basemen Amanda Weaver. The Spartans looked like a team on a mission, and that mission was to turn their season around with a win. Taking four out of their last six games, and with a record of 2-0 in league play, the Lady Spartans are on their way to accomplishing their goal. “This was a big win for us, with the way Aryn pitched the confidence she has gained is great. If she pitches like this, the season looks great,” Weaver said. Read more
September 6, 2007 by Devon Fitzgerald ·
The TJ softball nine falls to 5A Monarch.
The Lady Spartans softball season hasn’t started the way they expected, but with hard work and effort they hope to turn it around. Last night was no exception as the girls’ softball team gave a valiant effort, taking on a powerful Monarch team. TJ quickly fell behind, trailing 0-10 after the first inning. Aryn Grywusiewicz started on the mound for the Spartans and pitched better than the score appeared. “Aryn pitched pretty good for us against a good team, we just made too many mistakes in the field,” said senior first baseman Amanda Weaver.
A quick hit by Monarch’s leadoff hitter Brianna Rios followed by a bunt for a hit by Nicola Jones put runners at first and second with no outs. The next Monarch batter, Amy Christopher was able to hit a single between short and third bringing in their first run. Read more