The Cabrillo Jaguars made school history by reaching their first CIF semifinal last year. However, this season they’ll be without the decorated group of seniors who led them to the playoffs as well as head coach Lawrence Durand. Assistant coach and alum Chris Ortiz has taken over and knows what needs to get done for Cabrillo to get back to the promised land. The Jaguars are up to Division 6 this season.
“Although we didn’t meet our ultimate goal of winning a CIF title last season, we consider it a huge success for Jaguar Aquatics,” Ortiz said. “We want to build upon last year’s success. The sudden change in our coaching staff makes the goal of reaching playoffs more difficult, but it’s a challenge that the boys and myself are up for.”
Juniors Jose Mejia, Guy Gainer and Nathan Lucindo will be the leaders and team captains in the pool for Ortiz. Players like sophomores Gabriel Castaneda, Mateo Jimenez, Tlaloc Morales and Christopher Caracoza, who all played junior varsity last season, will have to step up behind the three captains.
“Jimenez adds explosive strength and speed to our offense,” Ortiz said. “And Castaneda offers playmaker assists on offense and commanding communication on defense.”
The Jaguars feel like the game at Poly on Oct. 23 is the most important of the league season because of their proximity to the Jackrabbits, but also know that wins over Lakewood and Jordan are more important when it comes to reaching the postseason.