Fall Athletics Gear Up
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
As George School athletes returned early to campus for preseason camps and games, you could find students, coaches, and fans on athletic fields, in dorms, on Red Square, and in the dining room enthusiastically discussing the upcoming fall sports season. Hopes are high for another award-winning season.
"George School has a tradition of positive sportsmanship and competitive teams. Our goal this year is to continue building on the wonderful traditions of the past,” shared Boys Athletic Director George Long. “The coaches and players will all be committed to being leaders in the community and on the athletic fields. We want our athletes to work hard every day with the expectation of success and improvement."
From the football field, Head Coach John Gleeson reports, “We had a very spirited and successful preseason that featured a blend of ten veterans and twelve new varsity performers. As always, the spirit of teamwork was stressed and carried out by our experienced players.”
John notes after nine days of grueling three-a-day practices, the football team voted for captains, a position of leadership essential for good team chemistry. The tri-captains this year are a very solid trio who have been with the program for at least three years. The captains include Matt Brown ’10 who has started for the varsity team since his freshman year along with Franklin Cuevas ’10 and Ian Wiggins ’10 who have been varsity performers since their sophomore year. “Together they bring a good deal of talent and determination to the team. They are admired and respected by players and coaches alike,” says John.
According to the coach, other seniors on the football team—including Lamarr Milton, Christian Prajzner, Jake Skolnick, Nick Simone, and Robert Kerr—have also helped guide newcomers such as juniors Kevin Simone, Dylan Gleeson, and Rex Roskos as they make the transition to their varsity starting roles. “Rex has adapted quite well in his role as starting quarterback,” comments John. Overall, the spirit and determination shown by all the players is exciting and bodes well for our opening game Saturday, September 12, against The Maryland Christian Saints.
Eleven lettermen return from the George School boys varsity soccer team that finished fourth in the Friends Schools League (FSL) Championships in 2008. The team lost in the semifinals in a shootout to the eventual undefeated champion Shipley School. These lettermen include Jas Chojnowski ’10, Wyeth Howard ’10, Sean Potter ’12, Nathaniel McGuinness ’10, Dan Gutierrez ’10, Seumas Trull ’10, Cameron Bentley ’10, Tommy Lodge-Yanez ’12, Richie Schulz ’11, Aidan Schmidtberger ’10, and Gabe Haug ’12.
“Several of our skilled players can do well in multiple positions,” reported Head Coach Paul Machemer. “I suspect that it will take us a while to figure out our most effective offense and thus to jell as a team, but I think we have the talent to challenge for the playoffs and perhaps a championship.”
Girls Athletic Director Nancy Bernardini reported, “This should be another exciting fall term in which we have a variety of sports programs for girls to participate in including, field hockey, soccer, tennis, cross country, cheerleading, and equestrian. From what I have observed from preseason, our teams look solid, in shape, and excited to start playing games. We look forward to working with new students at team tryouts and expect many additions to our teams.”
A number of seasoned players are returning to the Girls varsity soccer team, which won the FSL Championship last year. This includes George School’s leading scorer and FSL’s 2008 Outstanding Player, Aly Passanante ’10, as well as Priscilla Wiggins ’12 and Kellie Edelblut ’11 at forward; Lily Collins ’12, Kate Harkins ’11, and Steph Heys ’12 at midfield; and Stephanie Feinman ’10 and Chrissy Haney ’12 at back. Other returning team members who are expected to play prominent roles are Alyssa Carcia ’12 and Myra Jacobs ’11. Newcomers Liz Bitzer ’10 and Xina Graham-Vannais ’11 are two goalie candidates.
“The number one priority in preseason and in early games this fall will be to determine who is to replace our goalie and three starting defenders who graduated,” explained Head Coach Tom Griffith. “If our defense can jell quickly, the team will be in the running to defend its 2008 Friends League Championship. Several new students have made an impact in preseason, and should prove to be excellent additions to the team.”
The George School field hockey team is off to a good start with twenty-seven girls attending preseason training. The team includes nine returning seniors and two new talented transfers, as well as very competitive underclassmen. Seniors Ann Lemmo, Simone Hanscom, Morgan Bender, Daisy Harris, Sydney Burns, Jessie Mooberry, Valencia Williams, Sarah Lattal, and Hilary Pearsall are just a few of the stars that will be shining on the hockey pitch this year.
“The girls trained hard, learned new skills, and improved the skills they already possess,” said Head Coach Janine Nyce. ”We welcome Melissa Keller as our new assistant varsity coach.”
The girls team had the opportunity to travel to Drexel University to watch a Division I Hockey showcase featuring some of Philadelphia's best college hockey teams—a welcome break from the rigorous training in the heat and humidity of preseason. According to the coaches, the preseason offered a nice balance of intense conditioning, challenging skills sessions, and hilarious horseplay.
Head Coach Cheri Mellor reports, “Girls Varsity Tennis preseason was short but intense. With seven players returning, there was an opportunity for more individualized focus on each player. Our enthusiastic group worked on specific strokes and strategies in anticipation of an exciting season which opens on Tuesday, September 8.” Returning team members include Aimee Pellegrino ’10, Kira Schneider ’12, Nell Sweeney ’10, Molly Finkel ’11, Kenishea Donaldson ’10, Mandy Walters ’12, and Bekah Katz ’10.
George School’s girls cross country team continues its growth spurt that began a few years ago. Returning to the team are seven seniors, including Emily Silber, JoAnn Brea, Amanda Everett, Jyoti Arvey, Ahmin Chung, Caroline Gillis, and Kate Powell. They are joined by six juniors, including Christina DiGiulian—a Bucks County Courier Times "2008 Golden Team" honorable mention,—Chloe Zorn, Gabi Griffin, Sara Harvey, and Hope Taylor.
“Our squad will likely be one of the largest FSL cross country teams,” enthused Head Coach Stephen Moyer ’82. “Whether they will improve on their third place showing last season, there is definitely strength in numbers.”
Nancy Bernardini is enthusiastic about the upcoming season and says, “We encourage all families and fans to visit their team’s page on our website and sign up for email updates on game changes and results (directions to away games are located on the team’s website page as well). We welcome all parents and friends to come support our teams and know that our players and fans will represent our school with much Cougar pride, spirit, and care. Go Cougars!”