Category Archives: Green sports

Mack’s first male cheerleader: jumps higher, does the splits

silver13malecheerleaderDavonte Braud, a McClymonds cheerleader, poses one of his favorite cheer positions

Story and photo by Anthony Beron

McClymonds’ secret weapon jumps high and moves fast on the football field. But it’s during halftime as part of the cheerleading squad’s festive halftime routine.

Davonte Braud, a junior at Mack, is the first male cheerleader in the school’s recent history. And the only one in the Oakland Athletic League.

Braud does not mind the effeminate connotation allegedly brought with the sport.

“I’ve been cheering since Pop Warner at age 3,” said Braud, who challenges the female cheerleaders with his athleticism, energy and dance moves. “I’ve modeled too.”

The junior has also played football himself. “They urged me to join the team, but I joined the cheerleading squad instead,” he said. He then leaps and does a mid-air split.

Braud was recently threatened expulsion from Mack’s cheerleading team by Humphrey Garrett, a McClymonds School Security Officer, for being obstreperous during a geometry class lecture.

Many feel Braud is a valuable asset to the team. “He’s an athlete like everyone else,” said Darlisha McGlothen, a senior. “He just jumps higher than anyone else.”

However, not everyone agrees. Some of the alumni and fathers tease the players, calling out to them,”He has your jersey number,” said Nakaya LaForte, a freshman who frequently attends Mack sports games. “It’s good natured, but they are kind’ve also insensitive.”

“We just like the cheering,” said Jacquari Warfield, a sophomore wide receiver. As for it coming from a male cheerleader? “I don’t think much about it.”

Does Mack Have A Baseball Team ….Finally?

baseballteamby Jonae Scott

Despite the rough start — two games forfeited because of delayed paperwork — McClymonds High School has its first real baseball team in five years.

In the past, it could not muster enough eligible players to have a full season.

“It’s finally happened,” said junior Mike Tugman “A minor miracle but we have ten guys representing Mack.”

And this group of guys is having fun.

“There’s more laughter than on the basketball court,” says Tugman, who played pre-season but is currently ineligble.

Unlike Mack’s other renowned team — its football team has won three back-to-back Silver Bowls and its boys’ and girls’ basketball team placed first in the Oakland Athletic League — the baseball team’s players are greener. Only six of them have actually played on a team before.

“Our strategy is teaching fundamentals of the game,” says coach Keith Britton.

The team beat Fremont 8-0 and lost a close game to Castlemont 8-7. A crucial test will be Friday’s game against Oakland Tech.

Its top pitcher, sophomore Mahlik Smith, pitches at 65 mph. Its best hitter, junior Brandon Vonderwerth, has a .380 batting average.

But that is not the point for this team.  Britton emphasizes teamwork, dubbing every member of the team “Superstar.”

“Individual stats may be important for scouts, but right now this team is aiming for the W [win],” says Tugman.


Mack Students Receive EPA award

Terranisha Nathaniel, Stephen Vance and Pamela Tapia

Five Mack students were honored for their work in environmental justice at an awards ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco on Thursday.

Three of the students — Terranisha Nathaniel, Stephen Vance and Pamela Tapia – spoke about researching asthma and environmental toxins in West Oakland, testifying in front of various regional, state and federal agencies, producing a video about Proposition 23,  and collecting medical histories and life stories from local residents.

Two other students — Sarai Cornejo and DePaul Nguon — were absent.

“These students were selected based on their impact in raising consciousness about air pollution in their community,” said Ina Bendich, director of the Law Academy at McClymonds High School.

Schools mentioned for their “green curriculum” included Fremont (Mandela) Oakland Tech and Oakland High.