Racing to success

Christian Axelgard is awarded a spot in the Hall of Fame of athletics for his excellency in coaching water polo and P. E

Monika Petrosyan, Staff Writer/ Film

You may know him as the man who made you run one too many laps during freshman year, but little did you know, P.E. teacher Christian Axelgard has been a part of the athletic world for practically all of his life.

Axelgard is the youngest of three siblings, each having their own titles in their respective Hall of Fames. They had the privilege of growing in up in remarkable places like Greece, Egypt and China because of his family’s business. His father is the owner of Foremost Dairies; every time they opened a new company in a different country, he and his family had to move to that country to monitor the business until the local dairies were on their feet. In fact, he didn’t live in the U.S. until he was eight years old.

A year later, he moved to California where he attended Monte Vista Elementary School in La Crescenta. In fact, Axelgard was the star of his Little League baseball team and he had accomplished “lots of little stuff” during his time on the team. In high school, he was a part of the California Interscholastic Federation (C.I.F.) leauge for both his junior and senior years of high school.

Axelgard considers his “moment of glory” in athletics when he became the first person in the history of the Crescenta Valley water polo team to be have the honor of being a two-time All American and two-time CIF player. “Athletics is great to me,” Axelgard said. He then went to Rosemont Middle School and graduated from Crescenta Valley High School.

In his senior year of high school, Axelgard was offered two scholarships for his outstanding record in baseball. He had the opportunity to go to UC Alabama on a full ride; however, he chose to stay in Southern California and attended Chapman University in Anaheim on a baseball scholarship where he continued to play the sport.

Axelgard wanted to become a professional baseball player; however, he didn’t get the opportunity. “I promised myself that I would never become a teacher,” Axelgard said. “However, I was given so much by great coaches and I realized that it was my chance to give back.” Interestingly enough, Axelgard comes from a long line of teachers. From both sides of his family, he can trace his roots back to family members who were also teachers.

Even though he was focused on baseball, Axelgard has many other athletic interests. Aside from the general liking towards basketball and volleyball, Axelgard enjoys deep sea fishing. “It’s one of my deepest passions,” Axelgard said. “I once caught a 200-pound fish.”

The very first time that Axelgard taught was varsity water polo in CV. Two weeks after that, he was offered a job at Glendale High School for coaching water polo until 1998, when he began teaching at Clark when it opened. For the past four years, he has been coaching varsity water polo for both girls and boys at Crescenta Valley High.

Axelgard’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. On May 16, he and fellow P.E. teacher Judy Thomsen were welcomed into Crescenta Valley’s hall of fame of athletics at the Chevy Chase Country Club. It is CV’s sixth year hosting this event. This award was presented to Axelgard for his accomplishments with the water polo team that he has been coaching. His team, which is home to some of the best water polo players in Southern California, has been undefeated for three straight years. “To be one of of 23 people to win this award is both an honor and a privilege,” Axelgard said.

After spending much of his life surrounded by sports, Axelgard thoroughly enjoys what he does. “Everyone has a gift,” Axelgard said. “Mine is with athletics and a lot of people think I’m crazy because the best thing that it has taught me is how to lose. When you lose, you try harder.”