Berkeley Athletes Prepare for Upcoming Seasons

Despite being months away from their varsity season, Berkeley’s Basket­ball Team has been hard at work this summer, refining their game through a number of programs. The team partici­pated in the Florida Gulf Coast Univer­sity and the University of Florida team camps as well as the Berkeley Basketball Summer League and the Tampa Varsity Basketball Tournament. Senior Justin Gray is confident this will be a success­ful year: “My expectations for this sea­son are nothing other than bringing back a state championship to Berkeley Prepa­ratory School and to make history. I plan on leading my team in any way possi­ble, statistics or leadership—whatever I need to do to win in Lakeland, I will do.”

However, Gray does not intend on stopping there. He is interested in con­tinuing basketball in college and already has an impressive list of schools interest­ed in him including Harvard, Stanford, Brown, Columbia, and many more. With a large group of experienced seniors this year, the Berkeley basketball team is sure to have a successful and exciting season.

Ben Root ’15, a discus thrower on the track and field team, had an extremely training-intensive summer. “This sum­mer I have been on a strict lifting and throwing program. Every day I wake up, eat some form of protein and then go lift at Berkeley. Discus is a lot of lower body and back power so I spend a lot of time lifting with those muscles,” Root said. In addition, Root does a lot of core work to keep his rotational torso muscles loose and strong, and he runs on the track and bleachers to maintain the explosiveness in his legs. Root said, “After all of this, I throw the discus. I work on footwork, drills and technique throughout the week, and then I throw with Coach Doug Price on the weekends to monitor my improvement.” Root even made time to attend a few throwing camps, including one at the University of Georgia where he had the opportunity to work with expert throwing coaches. Not only was Root able to work with expert throwing coaches, but he also was watched by American Olympic discus athletes and the United Kingdom’s national team coach, from whom he received feed­back on his technique. Undoubtedly motivated and dedicated, Root feels he has dramatically improved his throwing skills and looks forward to using them in the upcoming track and field season.

Berkeley Football’s starting quarter­back Brad Mayes has had an exciting off­season improving his skills and scouting out his college options. Looking towards the fall, Mayes said “Our goal is the same every season: to win the state cham­pionship. We only lost six seniors, and we are returning many starters. I expect everyone to be ready for week one. In addition expect everyone to be there be­cause it’s a home game.” With so many returning players, Berkeley is looking forward to a thrilling football season.

The Berkeley Crew Team recently returned from a successful showing in Daytona’s Hailfax Regatta. The team placed first in the varsity single, the var­sity double and the varsity quad events. In addition, the team finished second in the mixed eight and third in the mixed four races. The team’s success at Hali­fax was the product of many busy sum­mers. Senior Alex Hill who placed first in the varsity single event attended summer camps at Stewards Foundation, the Air Force Academy, and the Naval Acade­my, where he hopes to continue rowing after high school. Sophomore coxswain Colette Glass participated in summer programs at Harvard, Cornell, and the University of Washington, including the Mary Whipple Coxswain camp and the Olympic Coxswains camp. Determined to start the season, Glass stated, “My goals for the year are to have a focused and successful year of improvement and good races.” Glass, Hill and the rest of the Berkeley Crew Team are looking for­ward to a successful season, the product of their hard work during the summer.

Last year, Stephanie Punzak ’16 fin­ished seventh in the diving state cham­pionships as only a freshman. Looking to improve, Punzak developed a rigorous schedule over this past summer. “I usual­ly have practice in argo twice a week and Berkeley three times a week,” Punzak said. In addition, she went to a diving camp in Austin, Texas, for a couple of weeks to further enhance her mechanics. On top of her rigorous diving regimen, the phenom said, “I also go to tennis four times a week, which involves a lot of conditioning, and I do 400 abs a day like crunches (and) pike ups.” Clearly Punzak is looking to make a huge splash in the water this year—or lack thereof.

Jeffrey Guttentag ’17 is a talented, young multi-sport star. Possessing the abilities to be exceptional at cross coun­try, baseball, football, soccer and track, Guttentag will choose to play football, soccer and baseball this year for Berke­ley. The freshman earned the Co-MVP award for both the Middle Division soc­cer and baseball teams last year as an eighth grader. It’s no surprise that Gut­tentag is a kicker in football since he has such a strong foot in soccer. “My daily training schedule is [that] I go to the gym and work out every day,” Guttentag said when asked about his training regimen.

The raw talent was also on the Berkeley summer baseball team in order to get his repetitions in and acquire some experience against high school pitching. Not only did Guttentag develop on the field, but he also took a step back from baseball and took note of all the subtle nuances of the game as a spectator. He watched almost every game the New York Mets played with a critical eye, gaining insight into the game as well as learning from all the Mets’ mistakes. To this end, Guttentag had a produc­tive summer both on and off the field.