Malibu High wraps up fall sports season

MHS Water Polo

Last week, the Malibu High boys water polo team’s charmed journey came to an end while one athlete’s fall sports season continued. 

The Sharks fell just short of their ultimate goal in a tight 10-6 loss to La Quinta in the CIF Southern Section Division VI semifinals at Mt. San Antonio College last week. The Sharks were looking to advance to the finals and win their first ever CIF title in school history. 

“It was a very enjoyable season. It was just fun to watch these guys play this year,” said MHS Coach Michael Mulligan, who called the season a “total team effort.” “Whether it was scoring goals, making steals, drawing kick-outs, making blocks or giving assists, everyone had a hand in some aspect of the games.” 

Trailing 5-2 at halftime, the Sharks rallied to tie the game early in the third period behind a goal from Emmet Pierson and two from Owen Franz. The Blackhawks stopped Malibu’s momentum with two late goals to close out the period to take a 7-5 advantage. 

La Quinta then took control of the match by scoring the first three goals of the fourth period to take a commanding 10-5 lead. Pierson added his third goal of the game for MHS, but it was a little too late for the Sharks. 

Malibu concluded its season with a 25-5 record, earning a remarkable 15th Tri-Valley League title in the process. Seniors Dane Sartorius, Morgan Hathorn, Jordan Clarke and Emmet Pierson led a Sharks team that won its third consecutive league title. 

“The seniors led the way and provided the leadership and inspiration that carried this team to a fantastic season and CIF semifinal appearance, losing to the eventual winners,” Mulligan said. 

Meanwhile, another Malibu High School athlete’s fall season continued. Sophomore cross country runner Caroline Pietrzyk qualified for the CIF State Cross Country Championships by finishing third in the CIF Division IV race at Mt. San Antonio College last Saturday. The top five runners that advanced to the state championship meet this Saturday, including Pietrzyk, who received a medal for her efforts. 

“It was a fast race, but I felt good today. I knew it was important to keep my own pace in the beginning,” Pietrzyk said. “I think going to the State meet will be a really fun experience. I had no idea in the beginning of the season that this was even a possibility so I’m really happy to have made it.” 

With rain hampering the environment, an alternate flat 2.93-mile layout replaced the traditional hilly course. It didn’t stop the relentless Pietrzyk, who established a Malibu cross country record with a time of 17:16. 

Rain or shine, Pietrzyk continues to re-write the record books each week with her performances for the Malibu cross country program. 

“Caroline has continued to exceed our expectations. She held the fifth spot for most of the race and passed two runners in the final 10-meters to secure third place,” MHS Coach Karen Costello said. “She is such a pleasure to coach and has a great future ahead of her.” 

Pietrzyk will travel to Fresno this Saturday to compete in the Division IV State Championship race at 8:30 a.m. at Woodward Park. Qualifying for the state championships signifies reaching the pinnacle in the sport on the California high school level. 

“This season has been a lot of fun and really challenging. It’s just been a great year,” Pietrzyk said. “I’m really excited about the State meet. I’ve never been in this type of competition before.”