Spring sports teams together in heart while apart

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Ms. Elizabeth Dennison

The track and field team meets weekly over Zoom to maintain contact and physical fitness while apart.

By Libby Kaseta, Sacred Heart Greenwich

In the Sacred Heart Greenwich community, varsity and junior varsity spring sports teams have been keeping the team atmosphere alive during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  Although new COVID-19 public health guidelines canceled their seasons, the teams have been utilizing Zoom Video Communications, Incorporated, an American communications technology company, to host team meetings with coaches and players. 

The track and field team is an example of how teams at Sacred Heart have been cultivating the team atmosphere from a distance. With the leadership of senior co-captains Taylor O’Meara and Gabby Petrizzo, the team was looking forward to the many opportunities that the 2020 spring season offered, such as competing in the annual New England tournament and the Penn Relays.  Taylor reflected on the role Zoom has played in the team’s new routine.

“This experience has forced me to appreciate all the highs and lows of Track and Field,” Taylor said.  “Before this experience, I would have complained about the hard workouts, but now hard workouts with the team are all I want.  I have come to appreciate the sport much more.” 

The Sacred Heart rowing team has similarly moved to practicing over Zoom conference calls.  Senior co-captains Elizabeth Colligan and Alexa Choy believe that this challenge has led them to be more appreciative of the sport.

The varsity four boat from the Sacred Heart rowing team placed fifty-eighth out of 85 boats in the fifty-fifth Head of the Charles Regatta in October 2019.

The 2019 varsity lacrosse team gets ready for another home game.  Courtesy of Mr. Christopher Pope

The varsity lacrosse team has also used Zoom to train weekly as a team.  Mrs. Alyson Messinger Costigan,  and senior tri-captains Katie Keller, Amelia Sheehan, and Morgan Smith, lead the team’s meetings. 

“We are trying to keep the team and program intact as much as possible, Mrs. Costigan said. “We have weekly team meetings and weekly program wide workouts.  We have found creative ways for us to get involved in different ways either by doing bonding activities or getting involved in competitions.” 

Last season, the varsity lacrosse team finished first in the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) regular season.  In the FAA tournament championship game, the team overcame Greens Farms Academy by a score of 13-1 to win the FAA championship title for the third consecutive year.

The tennis team uses their weekly calls to analyze different strategies for the sport, practice footwork drills, and participate in other fitness regimens.  In addition to these team meetings, the tennis team created an Instagram page to help the team to stay connected over social media.  Captains senior Megan Farrell and junior Grace Coale hope to use the platform to help teammates to get to know one another. 

“Our team has created an Instagram page where we upload and create content such as daily vlogs to keep our team connected,” Megan said. “Additionally since we were unable to meet so many of the incoming freshman and new teammates, Grace and I have created ‘get to know me posts.’ Here, the girls answer various questions and fun facts that we allow other teammates to get to know them.” 

The varsity tennis team was looking forward to their first season with Mr. Ed Metzendorf, the new head coach.  Mr. Metzendorf joined Sacred Heart after coaching at the Ursuline School in New Rochelle, New York.

Mr. Marc Medico, varsity softball coach, noticed the benefits of Zoom, and believes that the shared time together is very valuable.  To make the most of this time, the team has been completing softball-related workouts to maintain fitness.

The varsity softball team meets on Zoom to complete workouts together to maintain fitness.  Courtesy of Ms. Elizabeth Dennison

“I think everyone working together as a team has been really beneficial,” Mr. Medico said. “We are getting through this tough time together and I couldn’t be more proud of the girls.” 

The varsity golf team, which is under the leadership of Miss Karen Panarella, Dean of Upper School Students, hopes to learn from this experience.  Senior captain Carly Haines appreciates participating in challenging workouts with her team and engaging with the players during meetings. 

“I think that one of the main things that I have learned from this experience is to not take things for granted so much and to really value the people and opportunities that our families and the Sacred Heart community gives each of us as a whole,” Carly said. 

The varsity golf team placed fifth overall in the 2019 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Pippy O’Connor Tournament.  Carly noted that the most challenging aspect of this new season is the uncertainty of the future.  As a team captain, Carly has worked to maintain team bonding by sending the team workout routines.

For the Sacred Heart water polo team, the quarantine practices are particularly difficult because of the lack of access to pools.  Junior captain Karina Adams noted that the absence of a pool requires the team and the captains alike to take initiative in these times of need.

Mr. Gabriel Maldonado, head coach of the varsity water polo team, has set workouts for the team that can be done out of the water to maintain muscle tone. In addition, the varsity water polo team has been watching game footage from different angles from games from previous seasons.

The varsity water polo team under the direction of Mr. Maldonado hopes to come back stronger after their time apart.  Courtesy of Mr. Christopher Pope

The water polo team set goals this year to compete in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) tournament and place first, after falling in the semifinal round in the 2019 tournament.

“It’s very hard to keep up work for water polo especially, since we don’t have access to a pool it’s very hard to practice and keep up with the skills for the sport,” said Karina.  “This has really taught me a lot about taking initiative and communication since it’s harder to reach out to teammates when you aren’t seeing them every day.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Ms. Elizabeth Dennison

This story was originally published on King Street Chronicle on April 30, 2020.