By Ryan Trom ’19
As fall sports are beginning to ramp up and the first few games are underway, The Highlander had a chance to catch up with some of the coaches of the varsity teams. Through the interviews, we noticed that many of the coaches had similar ideas: they want to coach through adversity, have fun and make sure that everyone learns.
The Girls Varsity Soccer team is dealing with arguably the most diversity of any team this fall. Their coach for all of the team’s recent history, Mr. Trundy, is not coaching this fall. While he wishes he could be out there coaching, it paves the way for Ms. Abelson, a new faculty member, getting her first chance to coach. That will be hard for many returning students to adjust to, but Mrs. Croft, the team’s head coach, says that this year’s team “listens very well and look to make improvements.” When asked about the team’s biggest challenges for the season, she said that “balancing the older and younger players” will be a challenge but she’s looking forward to seeing some of the seniors help the freshmen grow throughout the fall.
While talking to Mr. Drew about the football team this year, he said that they are dealing with a lot of adversity themselves, but in different ways. Mr. Drew said that he “expects a lot of questions, but a lot of learning about football.” He explained that he expects the biggest challenge to be “self confidence to not make mistakes” and not being afraid to “size themselves up versus bigger and older players.” One thing that he hopes to teach his players this year is “how to be under control under moments of adversity.” As always, the goal is to compete for the championship, which the entirety of the school would love to see them accomplish.
The Boys Varsity Soccer team has two new coaches this year, including an off campus head coach, Mr. Ipina. Similar to many of the other teams on campus, Mr. Balben emphasized that he wants to get better as a team throughout the year but has faith that “the new coaches are going to make sure everyone gets better as individual soccer players.” Mr. Balben told us that this team has a lot of similarities to past teams, having a majority of upperclassmen and multi-sport athletes. He believes that that presents many challenges in itself because other schools have “more experienced soccer players.”
The Varsity Field Hockey team has started their season and Ms. Nongera is very excited for this year’s team. She said that while there are a lot of young players on the team (both in tenure at The Gunnery and to the sport), she is very excited to “watch everybody realize their full potential and work to achieve their goals on and off the field.” She expects this group to “challenge themselves every day” and based on what she has seen so far in the first few practices and games, she expects the biggest challenge to be “getting everyone back to field hockey level fitness.” As always, Ms. Nongera is ecstatic for the season, and is especially looking forward to the Play for the Cure game. She would like to remind everyone to donate once we get to that game as all donations go to research for all types of cancer treatment.
We also had the chance to talk to Mr. Poole about Girls Crew, and as was the case with many of the other coaches, he has high hopes for the year. He explained to us that since this is only his second year coaching the girls, he expects this to be “the upswing from the rebuild”. Adapting to new coaches can be difficult, as the girls experienced last year, but he hopes this year will be an improvement. He is most excited for the girls to compete in the Head of the Charles regatta this year, which they did not attend last year. He expects them to compete well and earn their bid back for next year. Individually, rowing poses many challenges to anyone but Mr. Poole believes that the biggest challenge for this year will be keeping the end goal in mind of getting to nationals because “even when you don’t see the other boats, we’re always racing everybody.” Mr. Poole, along with the rest of the school, is looking forward to watching the dedication from the girls and the growth that will come with that.
Finally, we talked with Mrs. Fisher, who gave us some insight into the outlook of the Cross Country team for the fall. She is very excited for the team this year as she believes that it “looks to be the deepest team in years” and that the “team success will be very rewarding” at the end of the year. Mrs. Fisher is really looking forward to The Gunnery hosting a race at White Memorial, but expects the biggest challenge to be “keeping everyone focused throughout the long season.”