The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.
Last season, the Millikan Rams had a strong senior core leading the way, giving the Rams both experience and chemistry in the pool. After saying goodbye to that formidable group and saying hello to a brand new head coach, things will mostly need to start from scratch in 2022.
For incoming head coach Randy Wright, that’s a position he’s comfortable with. He plans to be aggressive and take some chances with his young team as he works to put his mark on the program.
“We are in a position where we have nothing to lose, because you know what? We lost everything. We don’t have a whole lot coming back,” Wright said. “So I love that position, because there’s no expectations. So why not? Why not push the envelope?”
One of the players that’s caught Coach Wright’s eye is senior Josh Ramos, who got good experience last season and should be a valuable leader for the Rams in 2022. He has the ability to score from the perimeter and he should draw the attention of opposing defenses. Classmate Valentino Garcia is a left-hander with good size who will have the chance to make a bigger impact this season.
Senior Carter Ryskamp also offers a veteran presence with some varsity experience, but he’ll be a more defensive-minded player, which is a valuable role for Millikan this season. Wright hopes to rely on his defense to keep the scores low and give his team a chance to grind out victories.
Essential to a good defense is having a strong presence in the cage, and the Rams have a couple of options at goalie. Junior Evan Zes is a returning starter from a season ago, and he’ll be challenged by sophomore Mazen Mendoza, who should see playing time as well. Having confidence in his last line of defense will allow Wright to try different approaches and keep teams guessing, even when they may have more individual talent.
“We're going to compete this year by having a team philosophy that mirrors the assets of our opponent,” Wright explained. “We will offer a lot of zone packages, and I know that we can run our press if that's what it calls for, but the luxury of having goalies who are experienced and who are dynamic, that will be essentially the backbone of our team, because it allows me the flexibility to do a variety of different things.”
One up-and-coming player that Wright is excited to see play is freshman Luc Poissant, who has club experience with Shore Aquatics. Wright says he’s a confident and crafty player who is skilled beyond his years and will be a player to watch for in the next few years.
The Rams will open the season on Aug. 31 at Villa Park and will begin Moore League play against defending champions Wilson on Sept. 28 as part of the Moore League Varsity Showcase at Cabrillo.