As we approach mid-April, we enter the final stretch of the 2015-2016 school year. Collegiate’s spring sports season is about halfway done, and the many different teams taking the field, court, track, and trail this spring have achieved a great deal in the early stages of their respective seasons, but all are looking to continue to improve and ultimately reach their goals.
The varsity golf team has won four of their first five matches, including a close win over St. Anne’s-Belfield (STAB) at their home course. The Cougars are coming off a close loss to one of the strongest teams in the state, St. Chris, proving that when they’re playing their best, they can take on anyone. According to captain Ryan McGloin (‘16), their main goal as a team is “to win the State Championship, of course.” McGloin also expressed that the team is playing “their best golf yet.” This young Cougar team still has plenty of opportunities to prove themselves before the Prep League and State Tournament roll around, as they will have another opportunity at the Saints on April 26, as well as a match against the formidable Tigers of Woodberry Forest on April 29. When asked for any additional thoughts on his last season playing golf for the Cougars, McGloin kept it simple, saying, “Golf is just a game of a small little white ball in a big grassy field.”
The softball team is off to a strong start this season at 8-4. Some of the highlights of the season include beating rival St. Catherine’s 6-5, as well as one-run wins over Nansemond Suffolk and Norfolk Academy. The team is young on paper—one senior, four juniors, two sophomores, two freshmen, and three eighth graders—but this youth does not translate to a lack of experience or expectations. According to senior captain Ellie Fleming (‘16), “going into the season we expected to have a strong start, and then continue playing well, with a good group of returners and some great new additions.” The Cougars are off to a great start, but according to Fleming, they are by no means satisfied. “We are looking forward to our upcoming LIS and State games, especially our rematch against Trinity. We lost to them earlier this season, but we know we can turn it around and beat them on our home field when we play again.” Fleming sees improvement in the team from every game and practice this season, and she firmly believes they can keep it up, and, they even have been named “the hardest working softball team ever in the weight room.”
Coming off a historic 2015 season, the boys lacrosse team has picked up where they left off with a 11-1 record to begin the season. This hot start is highlighted by an 11-7 win over a very talented Paul VI team on the road. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Cougars are the number one ranked team in Richmond. The team is hungry for success, and this is evident with their play on the field. Senior captain Jed Londrey (‘16) said that their biggest test of the year will be this week against St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes on the road. It is quite clear to Londrey and the rest of the team that the Cougars will settle for nothing short of a State Championship. “Coming off an outstanding season last year but coming up just short, I really expected the team to bounce back even more hungry than before, knowing that if we put the work in, we can come out champions,” stated Londrey. “We have had a lot of young guys step up so far this season, and if we want to win a championship, they are going to need to step up.”
The girls lacrosse team is off to a 5-6 start, but they are far from discouraged. Senior captain Catherine DeVoe (‘16) remarked “Going into the season, Carson [Pinney] (‘16), Clay [Bowden] (‘16), and I were expecting to have a fun team and to be a top competitor in our league, but we knew it would be tough because all of the teams in the LIS are all so competitive this year.” A highlight for the Cougars this season was beating an always-tough STAB team 10-9, who knocked the Cougars out in the LIS Championship last year. “We’ve been playing really good out-of-league teams, and those games have made us a lot tougher, and we have already improved so much,” stated DeVoe. The return from injury of Princeton commit Jordan Marcus (‘17) may be the catalyst for the second half of the season. Her return has been a huge morale booster on the field. The Cougars have a monumental game against one of the state’s top teams, Bishop Ireton, at home this Friday.
The boys tennis team is off to a great start, with an impressive 8-1 record thus far. Their success, however, has come as no surprise. According to Grant Willard (‘16), “[There were] high expectations coming into the season. [We] gained [Felipe] Campos (‘17), and as a team I believe we have improved since last year.” The Cougars’ key win came against one of the top public schools in the state, Lynchburg’s EC Glass. The two teams split singles 3-3, leaving it all up to doubles, where the Cougars were able to pull out two of three doubles matches, winning the overall match 5-4. The only loss of the season came in a heartbreaker to rival St. Chris, which the boys are ready to avenge. According to Willard, they are “definitely looking forward to our Saints rematch. The next one counts for our league rankings and is a big opportunity for us.”
Girls soccer is off to a 2-3-1 start, but has a lot of positives to take away from it. Captain Latané Rowland (‘16) states, “We’ve had some good wins, and I think we have playing really well and have continued to improve.” The team is coming off a loss to highly touted St. Catherine’s, but the Cougars played a good game, connecting on the majority of their passes and possessing the ball well. The team has suffered injuries, such as that of goalie Claire Wilson (‘18), but this has opened the door for other players, such as Taylor Thackston (‘17), to step up and help the team. The Cougars approach every game as if it is the biggest, but a few games they have circled on their calendar are Trinity and a rematch with St. Catherine’s. According to Rowland, this young team remains confident in everything they do. “Our main goal that we work for is States and competing for the State title.”
The baseball team is coming off of a run to the 2015 State Championship, which included a 21-game winning streak, only to fall to Liberty Christian in the Championship game. With 12 seniors graduating and a multitude of young players on the team, there have been a number of openings to fill, along with plentiful opportunities for these young players. A solid core of older players complements this young talent, including Max Vaughan (‘16), William and Mary commit David Angstadt (‘16), and NC State commit Evan Justice (‘17). The 7-4 Cougars, ranked number 3 in the first VISAA State Poll, have gone through some growing pains early in the year, but according to Angstadt, this could be for the best. “We expected to drop some games early because of our youth, but the progression I’m seeing in the young guys is great, and some of the early losses will better prepare us to make a tournament run.” The highlights of the season so far have come in a comeback 7-5 victory over Benedictine and a two-game sweep of STAB, with both games ending in extra innings. The Cougars should be greatly helped by the return of their captain shortstop and UVA commit Will Allocca (‘16), who is back in action this week.
The boys and girls track team has only had two meets this far, but they are encouraged as to what the rest of the season holds. Captain John Hazelton (‘16) states, “We have already had some strong performances and personal records, especially from the younger athletes. With a sport like track, I am always anxious but excited to see how the new team will come together and how the newcomers will add to the experience.” The team is happy with their early accomplishments but are ultimately striving for something greater, and according to Hazelton, “Our ultimate goal is to train through these smaller meets in preparation for the championship meets, where all our hard work truly pays off.”
The newest Collegiate sport, mountain biking, is off to a great start. According to Harper Kelley (‘16), “The season is great so far. We have all learned so many new skills and gotten so much better since the beginning of the season.” The fact that the sport is new to Collegiate has led to much excitement for the team. “We had no idea what to expect from the racing environment. 70 people starting at the same time was insane, and the two 30-minute laps was the most we have ever had to push our limits.” Upper School history teacher and biking coach Mr. Brad Cooke has taken the team in its rookie season to levels that the participants thought impossible. According to Kelley, “I could not be prouder of the team so far. My favorite part was when I got to see Claire Tate (‘16) step up on the podium for third place. I was so proud.”
I strongly encourage you to try to find time to support your Cougars at some point this spring. The accomplishments of our student-athletes should not be missed.
Featured image: Doug Berry/Corbis.