The Whittier Miscellany

Looking Ahead at Winter Sports

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Wrestler John Blackwell '18 match ready

Wrestler John Blackwell '18 match ready

Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward

Wrestler John Blackwell '18 match ready

Mike Coons, Assistant Editor in Chief

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    As school comes back into full swing for WFS students returning from break, so do winter sports. Friends had a historically successful fall season, making the playoffs in every sport and even crowning a state champion. While many will spend the cold winter reminiscing about the fall, or looking forward to the spring season, student athletes are working hard to continue the school’s athletic success this winter. The winter season has its own unique challenges. Athletes have to practice late, and can always count on a dark frigid night when they finally get to head home. From some perspectives, skeptics would wonder why anyone would play a winter sport. It’s dark, it’s cold, and they’re notoriously difficult. But WFS students continue to thrive playing the sports they love, and represent the Friends community with the same levels of passion and success shown in warmer sports.

    The boys basketball team has started off strong with a record of 4-1, following a one point loss to Tatnall. While disappointing, the loss will soon be forgotten in the team’s twenty game season. The boys have shown huge promise in the start of their season, which could lead to a deep playoff run. This is the first season without Jordan Perkins ‘17, who helped turn around the basketball program and create a winning culture. Among others, Max Okolo ‘18 and Timmer Farley ‘19 have filled leadership roles for the team, ensuring the continuation of their success. Team captain Max Okolo looks forward to the rest of the season with optimism, “Our defense has never been better. We have a great mix of veterans and young guys playing varsity this year, which has lead to unmatched team chemistry. We [the seniors] don’t only work hard to win games this season, we push the younger players every day so that even after we leave the team will continue to succeed. It’s bucketszn.” While the team’s new slogan might sound silly, it actually holds merit. The team has outscored their opponents 248-175, with several blowout wins. The team’s chemistry has created the team work on the court that leads to such high performances. With ranked rivals like Sanford and Salesianum on the upcoming schedule, the team will be tested, but they are optimistic that they can overcome the odds.

    While the boys basketball team practices, another optimistic team works in the other gym. Despite a 2-4 start, the team is ready to turn their season around following winter break. Since the break the girls have won two games, and have confidence that there are more to come. Hailey Dicindio ‘18 shares the teams optimistic outlook, “the rest of the season is going to be a great test for us. We started with a difficult part of the schedule, but all of our games will be tight. If we keep practicing hard and building chemistry, I know a lot of those games can turn into wins. We have a really young team, but this year we have some seniors to help bring up the intensity.” The girls still have thirteen games in the season, giving them plenty of time to prepare for a playoff push.

The swim team faced a unique challenge to kick off their season. Their pool at the Hicks Anderson Center was under renovation, meaning the team would not be able to swim together until January. This did not stop the swimmers, who made the most of their circumstances by adapting and using other facilities. Every day the school’s weight room would be buzzing with swimmers, with small groups going to swim at other pools. While many teams would be disheartened by this setback, the Friends team pushed themselves to not miss a step. Katrina Winfield ‘20 actually gained a lot from the experience, “It was surprisingly fun to do dryland workouts with the team. I mainly do swimming as a way to stay in shape between field hockey and lacrosse, so this added more new elements to my fitness. Now that we’re back in the pool, we all feel faster because of the dryland work that we normally do not have time for.” Now that they have their pool back, the swimmers are looking forward to an exciting season!

Another individually-minded sport this winter is indoor track. While it is seen by many as a means to stay in shape between the fall and spring running seasons, Friends athletes have potential to leave their mark in the sport this season. The Friends track team is stacked with talent, with state finalists ready to compete again. This atmosphere helps inspire the athletes to train hard, even if track isn’t their main sport. One of these athletes, Peyton McNeill ‘19, noted this intensity, “I started doing indoor track as a way to get ready for the lacrosse season. Following football I’m always banged up, and the track coaches are great at getting me moving well again in time for the spring. It’s become more than an offseason for me, mainly because of the other athletes on the team. I’m always pushed to compete hard and to drop my times, and it’s helped me in all of my other sports. You can’t be running with people like Aaron Brick ‘18 and Connor Nisbet ‘19 without getting pushed to your limits. It’s a fun team, and another opportunity for me to compete for my school.” The Friends track team will hope to put several team members on the state podium this season, a rare feat for such a small school.

Between cutting weight, grueling practices, and draining tournaments, wrestling has received the reputation as one of the most difficult high school sports. One of the keys to a successful wrestling team is strong team chemistry. Without a bond, individual team members won’t be willing to push themselves as hard as they need to for the team’s success. This year’s wrestling team has found that bond, and they hope to use it to reach their goal of state duals. The team has a mix of veterans along with young talent. Dalton Ramsey ‘18 returned to the team this year after opting out of his junior season, “I decided I missed the sport too much to not come back my senior year. The team chemistry is unmatched, and it gave me another chance to compete with my friends. Even though it’s a difficult sport, the team gets me through it all. This is an especially exciting season because of the young talent we have. I think we have a shot at the state duals this year, and that’s been a goal of ours since I was a freshman. There hasn’t been a day that I regret coming back.” The wrestling team will continue to work hard, constantly looking forward to states.

Even though it’s cold and dark out, the winter season truly is exciting for WFS athletes and fans. With many opportunities to compete for state recognition, the athletes continue to work hard while remembering their Quaker value of respect for their opponents. All of the athletes love any support from the community as they work to represent the school!

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Looking Ahead at Winter Sports