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The Parker Weekly

New Season, New Athletics

Spring Sports Preview

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A large part of any school’s culture is its athletics. Not only do the student-athletes enjoy being a part of a team in the sport they like, but spectators and even people who aren’t involved take great pride in their teams, despite how poorly they may play.

As winter sports are slowly coming to an end, it’s time to start transitioning to spring sports: baseball, softball, girls’ soccer, boys’ tennis, and track and field.

“One thing that we’re trying to do right now is to get together some sort of spring sports event, similar to Homecoming in the fall and the Depaul Games in the winter,” Assistant Athletic Director Laura Gill said. “Some ideas that have been thrown around are doing a student vs. the faculty type of game, which we’re working on with SAC,” or the Student Athletic Council.

Despite the cold and snow, Upper School spring teams are already being organized with the majority of teams set and with a few meetings already held.

Last year, the Parker varsity baseball team led by Coach Isaiah Clark ended with a somewhat lacking record of 5-14. This year the captains are seniors Casey Barr and Max Chapman, as well as junior Alex Chapman. Head coaches remain the same while both the assistant coaches are being replaced with Eighth Grade math teacher Timothy O’Connor and experienced baseball trainer Justin Taylor. Training for baseball and other teams started February 27.

With exceptionally strong juniors returning and a new group of 11 freshmen, more is expected this year, Clark said during their first meeting. Some notable players from last year include junior George Heltzer, who had a team high of 15 RBI’s and the one HR last season, as well as seniors Barr, Tom Besold, and Cam Roehm, who were all the overall top ranked batters, base-runners and, excluding Besold, pitchers. The first game takes place on March 14 against Walther Christian Academy.

In attempts to enhance field quality and accessibility for both softball and baseball, Athletic Director Bobby Starks has looked at renting out spaces for both practice and gameplay.

“One of our biggest pushes this year from last is finding more appropriate outdoor spaces such as renting fields in the Park District,” Starks said, “so that we can better place our student-athletes to have a better experience.”

In the 2015-2016 season, the Varsity softball team had a weaker year under the coaching of Alixandria King and Upper School English teacher Mike Mahany.

“Last season we did not do very well,” King said. “We had one win, but we’re wanting to grow from that. I’m looking at this year as a new year, and I just want to take baby steps.”

This year, captains are seniors Nina Blake, Jordan Sachs, and Morgan Harler, with the coaching staff intact from last year. Similar to baseball, a large number of freshmen are joining an already strong group of 30 plus girls, hopefully to refresh the team and lead to a stronger year.

The Softball Varsity team has their first game against Holy Trinity High School on March 18.

Last year, varsity girls’ soccer ended with a middling record, winning half or so of their games. Head Coach Neil Curran and the rest of the coaches have returned, with the exception of Varsity Assistant Coach Siobhan Allen, who has a baby on the way. Captains are seniors Zoe Patinkin and Hayley Milgrom. Curran said, “The team is looking to rebuild and develop its own identity.”

With a strong group of sophomores, now with a year under their belts, in addition to some well trained freshmen and only two seniors missing from last year, a good season is anticipated. Their first game will take place on March 13 when they play Whitney Young.

Lead by Coach Jon Hall-Bryant, the boys’ tennis team is cautiously optimistic. Last year, to a fairly even win-loss ratio, the team is concerned that too few freshmen have showed up to the first practices thus far. This years’ captains are seniors Rafi Derringer and Simon Demerjiran, and junior Danny Sickle. March 14 at Lake Forest Academy marks the start of their games.

Track and Field started much earlier on January 17, with the first competition on February 4. Since then, the team has participated in multiple HS meets and has already started to look strong, placing in multiple events.

“We’re working on a lot of new things this year,” captain Graham Silverman said. “And just overall the team’s looking really great with a good mix of athletes.”

Leading the team will be Coach Brett Laoruangroch, along with team captains, Silverman, Lauren Goodman, and Will Polsky, and junior Zoe Gardner. Another good year is predicted as key players are back such as junior Jack McNabola, who made it to State last year, breaking a record for the mile.

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School
New Season, New Athletics