Athletic Director's Blog
An inside look at Aardvark athletics from the desk of the Athletic Director
Happy Birthday mom! Growing up I didn't know that St. Patricks Day was a real holiday. My mom's birthday is March 17, so I just assumed the Cookie O'Puss ice cream cake we got from Carvel's every years was my mom's favorite type of cake.
Winterim is here. Student-athletes have scattered far and wide for amazing experiences, but we got in one week of competition.
Tennis: Boys varsity tennis defeated Grant on Monday. The girls defeated Westside Christian on Tuesday 7-1.
Golf: The boys and girls opened the season at Broadmoor. The boys tied Grant HS and Laden F was the overall champion. It was sloppy, but the team demonstrated its mental and physical toughness during the wet 18 holes.
Lacrosse: Later that evening the OES girls varsity lacrosse team travelled to Lake Oswego High School to take on the defending state champions. The girls battled but ended up falling short 8-13. You have to admire Coach Bankowski scheduling the top team in the state for the first game. OES is one of the top programs in the state and has advanced to the semifinals the last two years. If you get one game before Winterim, play the best and see where you are at. I love it! The girls didn't win this one, but playing Lake Oswego is only going to prepare this team to take the program to the next level! The OES boys varsity hosted Lake Oswego Tuesday night and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Jack M, Nick L, and Alex S(2) tallied the first 4 goals. Jack S was outstanding in goal frustrating the LO shooters with acrobatic saves. Alex S scored with 3 seconds left in the 3rd quarter to put OES up 5-1 to start the 4th. Lake Oswego went on a 4 goal run to tie it up with 4 minutes left. You could almost here everyone on the sideline wondering how the young OES team would respond. Vernon C, who took every face-off for the game and rarely came off the field, won the face-off, picked up the groundball and scored a big goal to make it 6-5. Then Vernon won the next face-off and Henry M, tri-captain and one of the 3 seniors on the team, ran his man off a great pick from Alex S and found Nick L for an uncontested goal. OES would give up one more goal as LO battled to the final second and the Aardvarks earned a 7-6 win.
Track and Field: Maybe the most important event took place last Saturday. Coach Green organized an intra-squad track meet for the Varsity program. The weather was perfect and the team took advantage of the event to get some much needed competition in before Winterim. It also allowed Tyler and the Track program to use their new timing system. The Graybeal family generously donated the system which uses digital film technology to capture finishes. The previous system relied on having 7 different people holding a push button to capture the finish of each lane. It worked, but we often had technical challenges like when our MS 4x400 team broke the NCAA record because someone actually pushed the button early. The upgrade in technology, along with Coach Green' and his staff's commitment to help our student-athletes be their best.
The school year is moving forward rapidly. In the Athletic Department we are hustling because Spring Sports have started. Due to the inclement weather and the closure of our grass field, we are squeezing US Track and Field, Varsity and JV Boys Lacrosse, Varsity and JV Girls Lacrosse, and 7/8 Girls Lacrosse onto the turf and track from 3:20-6:30. At SPARC we have 32 girl tennis players and 28 boy tennis players training on the three indoor courts and one wood court. Golf has encountered hail, rain, and fairways that closely resemble swamplands. The weather is typical Oregon weather-wet and cold, but that doesn't seem to slow down our student-athletes and their pursuit of excellence. Every day they are out there working hard trying to improve their skills. Coaches are creative in managing their space, and like our classroom teachers, they try to maximize the instruction in the limited time they have. Games and matches start next week and then all of our student athletes will go separate ways for the OES Winterim. When the Upper School teams take a break we will start MS Track and Field, Boys 7/8, 5/6, and 3/4 lacrosse and Girls 5/6 and 3/4 lacrosse. Let's all hope for some dry weather so we can get on the grass in April.
Wrap up: It was a heart-breaking loss for our boys in the State Playoffs. Blanchet Catholic and OES battled in an amazing game. OES led by 1 after the 1st quarter, but Blanchet got hot in the 2nd and headed into the locker room at halftime up 35-23. Seniors Emerson L and Alex O left everything on the floor and juniors Ian H and Colby B seemed to hit big shot after big shot. However, everytime they closed the gap to 4 points Blanchet responded. With 2:38 left in the game the Aardvarks were down 8. Like they did all season, the boys got a stop and hit a three. After another stop they were poised to close the gap to a one possession game, but Blanchet again found a way to get the ball back and pad their small lead.
With 32 seconds left the boys closed the gap to 6 points. They executed the trap perfectly out of a timeout, but the point guard from Blanchet made a great play splitting our defense and forcing us to foul. The boys lost 68-63. It was an amazing season. Three players earned All League honors, we advanced to the District Championships, qualified for State, and beat Catlin three times. Coach Pratt earned Coach of the Year honors. We say goodbye to our seniors and we count the days until next winter season.
On my way home the image above haunted me. We had zero students at the game because of Science Fair. Blanchet Catholic's entire school was out dressed in Tropical gear cheering their team on. Did not having fans affect our boys? You will never hear our guys claim that it did. I love that about our student-athletes! They understand their priorities, and they play scholastic sports because they love the game and they love to compete.
Tonight Coach Pratt and the boys will get in the bus and head to Salem to face Blanchet Catholic in the opening round of the 3A OSAA playoffs. It happens to land on the same evening as the Science Expo. Similar to the basketball players, the majority of OES upper school students will be showcasing their talents. Months of hard work and sacrifice culminate into one evening where they will hope to execute and be at their best. Both experiences are transformational and you have to take the risk of potential failure. The selflessness of coaches and mentors is critical along with the support of peers and families. A varsity basketball season is very different than a science research project, but both experiences prepare our students for success after OES.
All League Honors:
Rachel L earned Honorable Mention All League while also serving as a sophomore captain.
Emilie D earned Honorable Mention All League honors. The senior's leadership was critical to the development of our young squad.
Congratulations to Emilie D'17 and Rachel L'19 on earning Honorable Mention All League for Basketball.
Emerson L earned 1st Team All League honors and was runner-up for Player of the Year!
Ian H'18 earned 1st Team All League honors while leading OES in scoring.
The Big O! Alex O'17 earned 3rd Team All League honors while leading OES in rebounds.
Congratulations to Emerson Lamb'17, Ian Holzman'18, and Alex Olander on earning All League Honors! Alex earned 3rd Team All League, while Ian and Emerson earned 1st team honors.
Congratulations to Gabe Sutherland for winning the Perseverance Award for the Metro Ski League. Gabe broke his arm on the first run of his ski career, but he did not falter. He returned to the team to have a solid senior season and help the boys qualify for the State Championships.
If you look closely, you can see the smiles. It may be the playoffs, but this senior squad is having fun and enjoying the moment!
Playoffs! Tuesday night the boys hosted Catlin Gabel. It was the third meeting between the two rivals. The winner would advance to the District Championships. The gym was packed with OES students and parents. It was tied at the end of the first quarter 10-10. The refs were letting them play and neither team was giving up easy baskets. Both teams know each other extremely well and Catlin was dominating the lanes due to the solid play of their 6-9 center. Coach Pratt went to the bench and Oren came in to help on the defensive and offensive end. Oren's length and athleticism gave OES a boost and the Aardvarks went up 22-18 at the end of the half. The third quarter was a defensive battle but the Aardvarks outscored the Eagles 9-5 increasing their lead. In the fourth, Coach Pratt's defensive game plan to focus on shutting down the League Player of the Year, Jacob Adler continued to work and OES defeated Catlin 47-37.
Alex O was amazing cleaning the glass on Tuesday night. He finished with close to 20 rebounds.
Alex Olander dominated the boards preventing a tough Catlin team from getting second chances on the offensive end. Offensively Catlin did a good job of shutting down our shooters, but Ian H continued to get to the line and hit timely shots.
Ian H blocks a lay-up while Colby prepares to clean up the loose ball.
The boys now face #1 De La Salle North on Saturday night at Scappoose High School. The District Championship is an amazing experience for everyone who goes. The players are playing for the title and the privilege of hosting an opening round state playoff game. The last time OES was in this position it was 2010 against Warrenton. The Senior Class did an amazing job of motivating student and faculty to drive out to Forest Grove so our boys had a fan base that could match their opponent. This year we play in Scappoose. We hope to see everyone make the trip to cheer on the Aardvarks. De La Salle North may be the #1 seed, but we can make that gym ours by coming out and supporting our Aardvarks! We hope to see faculty, students and parents wearing their green!
Senior captain Emerson is focused on winning a District title and hosting a state playoff game at OES.
Lewis and Clark District Championships
Saturday, 2/18/17 at 8:00PM
At Scappoose High School: 33700 SE High School Way, Scappoose, OR 97056
Captain Alex O poses with his mom and dad on Senior Night
In 8th grade Alex O'17 wanted so badly to make the A team. When he didn't, he was momentarily crushed. This isn't unique to Alex. Many times we hear, "If I don't make the A team, I am not going to play." I know Alex thought this same thing momentarily, but then he embraced the opportunity to play for Coach Kelstrom on the West team. Instead of being the 10th man, he became the starting center and played a ton of minutes. Instead of being the player coming off the bench, he was the leader of a team.
In white #22 Andy S, #23 Alex O, #2 Jethro S, and in green #22 Shiva B pose for the team photos during their 8th grade year. Tuesday was their last regular season game.
I had to go look up the team photos from Alex's 8th grade year. Only one player from the A team that year is playing high school basketball, Shiva B. On the West Team there are three playing on our varsity squad that is in pursuit of a District Championship. This year I have seen the same thing happen twice. In soccer we had an 8th grader not make Coach Dams' squad. Instead of quitting, he became the defensive leader of a team that won the league championship. In basketball we have an 8th grader who didn't make the A team, but is now leading the West squad to a #2 seed in their league playoffs. If we held the tryouts now, I don't think Coach Brennan lets him go. At the same time if he didn't get the chance to be the starter and leader of the West team, he probably doesn't develop the way he has.
Jethro S'17 strips a Catlin player on a breakaway lay-up.
Alex O boxes out during a foul shot. Alex is a two sport athlete. He is an outstanding tennis player. I have been wondering what would have happened if Alex chose to specialize on just tennis after not making the A team his 8th grade year.
The hurt of not making the A team is real. But there are so many examples of great athletes who persisted and didn't let a setback of not making the team diminish their love of playing the game.
Andy S was another 8th grader who didn't make the A team his 8th grade year. He played JV for three years. His senior year he has been critical to the team's success.
Shiva B runs the point on Senior Night.
The boys hosted Catlin on Senior Night. Catlin Gabel vs OES is always a big night, but it meant even more since this was the last regular season home game. If the boys won, they would host a playoff game next Tuesday and send Catlin on the road for the playoffs. The opening quarter was high flying and Jethro S got the crowd on its feet when he sliced through the Eagles' defense for a contested lay-up. OES took a slight lead and never relinquished it. The boys defeated the Eagles and secured the #2 seed for Districts. They will host Catlin again on Tuesday night at 7:00PM. It will be the third time these teams faced each other. The winner of that game will move on to the District Championship!
Thank you seniors! Coach Abraham(in the suit) poses with our three seniors Elise, Joan Marie, and captain Emilie along with the senior families.
The girls season wrapped up on Tuesday. The girls struggled to win games this season. At the same time this was one of the most closest-knit squads I have seen during my 14 years at OES. Practices were competitive and intense, but you would also hear fits of laughter during breaks. I credit the leadership of our captains: Emilie D, Anna S, and Rachel L, and our coaches. This team loved to compete and they loved each other. With 30 seconds left in the game, Coach Abraham sent in senior Elise K. At the buzzer she drained a three pointer. Elise was a 4 year JV player and the JV captain. Those 30 seconds were the span of her high school varsity career. After Elise drained her one and only shot, the team celebrated like they had won the championship, the coaches and parents teared up(including the Athletic Directors), and the entire program headed to the Rainbow Room to thank the seniors and to commit to the off season.
More photos from Senior Night can be found at: https://holloran.smugmug.com/School/Basketball-Sr-Night-Student-Intern-Photographers-TJ-AM-GW/
The Ski Team heads east for another race this weekend. The boys currently are ranked #5. The weekend poses an opportunity to move up in the standings. On the girls side Sami W is ranked #1 in the league. She continues to be one of the fastest skiers in the state and she is the fastest skier in the Metro league which she proved again by beating the fastest boy by 2 seconds last race. Check out the results here: http://www.metroskileague.org/site/1797metr/Boys2017Race4Teamtodate.pdf
#11 Andrew C'19 and #1 Will A'18 celebrate after defeating PAA in OT to continue their 9 game win streak. Photo credit: John Holloran
Coach Kirk's daughter had broken her arm and she needed surgery. The message was clear from our office. We don't want to see you today at work. Go take care of your daughter! We tell our student-athletes that their priorities should be: 1-Family, 2-Academics, 3-Their sport. We also expect our coaches to have the same priorities.
Freshman guard ZW Rahimian drives to the hoop while looking for his teammates. Photo credit: John Holloran
I grabbed an old scorebook from Coach Pratt's car, a whiteboard that had the design of a soccer field on it, a marker and planned on coaching my first basketball game since 2006. We gathered as a team and it was clear that the guys were focused. I told them every team faces adversity during a season. Today they were going to have to beat the other team and not let me negatively affect their season. I forgot how challenging it is to coach JV basketball. I have watched many of their games and knew the various line-ups, but Coach Kirk masterfully subs in all 13 players throughout the game making sure the team is in a position to win while also getting everyone quality minutes.
The team hugs Jim Lin'18 after he made sure the game was going to OT. Jim rebounded a missed foul shot with only five seconds left and dribbled the length of the court to score. Photo credit:Holloran
The boys won in overtime despite their substitute coach, but I spent the rest of the night replaying the game wondering how I could have gotten each player more minutes. I texted Coach Kirk to find out how his daughter was doing. She is going to be fine. I then gave my confession about who I would hope to play more if I could have done it all over again. Coach Kirk assured me he would balance those minutes over the next three games. It was a great reminder that you can't look at one game in a vacuum for your child-but it is hard not to. They have an entire season and OES is lucky to have coaches at the JV, JV2, and MS levels that understand that you have to find moments to give players the opportunity to contribute. Each player has to find a role on the team to feel significant, and our lower levels are critical to develop game experience. At the same time no player is guaranteed they will have the role they want. Can they put the team first even if they aren't the star? That is also an important lesson sports teach us, especially at those lower levels.
Despite the intensity and emotion that occurs during sporting events, our priorities don't change. Family first! The entire OES athletic community hopes Coach Kirks's daughter, JP heals quickly!
More links to the JV boys games can be found at the following link:
Girls Basketball:Coach Abraham addresses the girls during the fourth quarter. Photo credit: Missy SmithSaturday afternoon OES hosted Clatskanie. It was one week earlier when the Tigers thrashed the Aardvarks 55-23. Now the girls had to win the first battle of the day. They had to believe they could win. My coach Jim Grasso used to talk about inner arrogance. He would tell us that if we didn't think we were going to win, we wouldn't. He would remind us of the work we put in, the various talents we had, but he stressed that if we didn't believe that we were the better team, we would lose. It is hard to believe you are the better team when you lose by 32 points. But Coach Abraham and the girls did believe. They took the court and played aggressively and with poise. At the end of the 1st quarter they held the lead 8-7. Clatskanie seemed unfazed. OES won the quarter, but the Tigers are a veteran team. At halftime it was 16-10 with OES leading. The girls had won the second quarter. Then the girls extended their lead outscoring Clatskanie 11-7 in the third. 28-17 is not a safe lead. What was the the OES AD thinking: "Our young inexperienced team had lost three games where they gave up the lead in the 4th." What were the girls and Coach Abraham thinking? "We are going to win the fourth quarter!" Confidence! What builds confidence? Hard work, commitment, overcoming adversity, and faith in oneself and teammates. Our girls played amazingly in the 4th. Captain Emilie D'17 hit big shot after big shot including clutch free throws. Marie B'19 and Alma N'19 were outstanding on defense stealing skip passes and ripping down rebounds while Joan Marie'17 and Rachel L'19 provided the poise and leadership to thwart Clatskanie's pressure defense. The girls won 35-29 to earn Coach Abraham his first league victory in his OES career.
OES varsity girls pose after defeating Clatskanie to win their first league game this season and Coach Abraham's first league win of his OES career.
Coach Pratt and the boys continue to play outstanding basketball. Over the past two weeks they are 8-0. They defeated #1 ranked De La Salle North, Clatskanie twice and Riverdale. This past week they defeated PAA and Rainier. Everything comes down to Tuesday night: Senior Night! If you haven't caught the boys yet, make sure you come to watch the seniors final regular season game against league rival Catlin Gabel. Tip-off is 7:30PM.
I was having one of those Wednesdays where you feel like you need to take Thursday off for a personal health day. Like a student in one of my history classes, I was eyeing the clock hoping 3:05PM would arrive sooner. At the end of the academic day everything gets better because that is when the student-athletes show up. When the figurative bell rang I threw on my coat and headed to the bus barn to pick up keys and load up the JV2 boys basketball team. Coach Koski and the guys were dialed. When it was time to drop them off, I received a parade of fist bumps and high fives before I headed back to OES. While I was crossing the turf on my way to the office I saw the ski team running sprints. Coach Green and Wolfram were leading a grueling workout. Stephanie F'19 decided that she would join them, and it was great to see our skiers battle through their comfort zone and try to keep up with our top XC runner(I don't know if it was that grueling for Steph). At the other end of the field were two girl lacrosse players. One of our 8th grade girls shared she wants to try lacrosse this spring, and knows that with our no-cut program she can. The athletic department had connected her with Emma F'17, one of our varsity players, and Emma invited her out to the field to work on some basic skills and learn a little bit about the game, so she would be ready for spring. They were laughing and throwing the ball around as if they had been teammates for years. I put on some coaching gear and I headed down to SPARC for BAM! Cindy McEnroe and Missy Smith had the lower school basketball teams gathered for the opening talk. Helping three other 2nd grade dads coach basketball was a blast. The boys go 100 mph and the joy of being with their friends is contagious. I thought the inspiration was done, but I headed after practice to the Lower School. The IT department and the Lower School leadership presented on Technology Use in the Classroom and Home. The presentation was outstanding and informative, but I really enjoyed the breakout sessions with other parents. It was so helpful to share challenges and concerns with other adults and also hear about how other families are figuring out how to manage screen time in their households.
Cindy and Missy ask the LS basketball players and coaches at the beginning of every practice to let everyone know how their day went by holding up fingers on one hand. A "5" is an amazing day, while a "1" is a day that was really a struggle. I know by the end of my day it was a "10." I got to see first had the enthusiasm and camaraderie of the JV2 boys, the work ethic and commitment of the ski team, the risk taking of a middle schooler trying a sport first the first time, the selflessness of a senior sharing her love of the game, the boundless joy of 2nd graders playing, and the thoughtfulness of the parents of my son's classmates. The amazing thing is this happens every day.
What a week it has been! Last Saturday the boys defeated Clatskanie 58-43. Tuesday they faced Riverdale and won decisively 51-42. It set them up for a rematch against De La Salle North who was first in the Lewis and Clark League. The first time the two teams faced off OES was thrashed during the second quarter for 21 points. The came went dow to the wire, but the lead was too great and OES missed a final three point attempt to tie it. There is tremendous parity in the boys league and to contend for the district title, you have to protect your home court. De La Salle is talented and extremely well coached, and their press forces teams to turnover the ball and lose composure. The first quarter ended with both teams tied. OES took the lead but gave the ball away multiple times while trying to break the press. At halftime it was OES up 1. De La Salle's pressure was intense, but as our boys headed to the locker room they looked composed and confident. The second half was all OES. Ian H'18 was lights out. He scored 25 points including numerous slashing lay-ups through the Knights defense. Alex O'17 was dominant on the board finishing with 13 and Emerson L'17 played with the poise and confidence that lifted the rest of the team. They held De La Salle to 6 second half points and won decisively 41-26. It is a huge win, but the boys travel to Portland Christian tonight to face one of the most dangerous guard duos in the league. On Saturday they host Clatskanie again. It is a lot of basketball for the boys due to the snow days, but Coach Pratt is getting quality minutes from his bench. Shiva B, Colby B, Alex S, David L, Luca P, and Andy S all have starts under their belts and bring different strengths to the court.
MS Basketball is in full swing. We added two 6th grade boys teams and 1 6th grade girls team to the five already in season.
Ski Team has a bye this week, so they will be on the mountain training.
Girls Basketball and Boys Basketball
Friday 1/27/17 At Portland Chrisitian
Saturday 1/28/17 Clatskanie at OES
Monday 1/30/17 PAA @ OES
If you have not caught a game yet, make sure you clear your schedules for the final regular season game on February 7. Catlin Gabel @ OES!
I mentioned her above, but I have to say thank you to Emma F'17 for taking the time out of her schedule to share her knowledge and passion for girls lacrosse. Thank you Emma!
Thank you to all of the MS students who joined us Tuesday night for MS Hoops Night hosted by OES Admissions. The middle schoolers were treated to pizza, great basketball and a halftime 3 point shooting contest.
It has been a "unique" winter. Unique is one of my euphemisms I like to use. This winter reminds me of my health teacher Jim Stroker. I earned a D in his class, but it was the most important class I ever took. One day during health, Mr. Stroker asked the entire class to stand at the back of the room. He stood behind his solid oak desk that was covered with a dozen stacks of paper piled high to his chest. As we stood there awkwardly wondering what we were doing that day, Mr Stroker flipped his desk over. This was impressive because that desk probably weighed close to 400 pounds, and the room was showered with papers. Jim Stroker demanded, "Do not pick up one piece of paper! This is my problem. It may take me the entire afternoon to clean this up, but I can solve this problem." We stood dumbfounded as the papers floated by us. After we sat down, Jim calmly explained that even though he had a lot of work ahead of him, he knew that if he put in the time he was going to solve his problem. He talked about how stress may affect him at first, but knowing there was a solution would help him find a way to get the task done. He then shared with us about waking one morning as an elementary student to find out his dad had passed away in the night. It didn't matter how much work he put in. He could not solve this problem. He talked about the stress that he faced, and how important it was to get the support of other people to help him. I may have failed the anatomy test and I probably couldn't pass it today, but I can remember every vivid detail of that lesson. Every time there is a challenge, I go back to that 8th grade health class and put things in perspective. This winter has created some challenges for our sports programs, but we are still fortunate to be able to play and spend time together.
The program director from Play Fit Fun adresses the girls basketball program. Girls ranging from 3rd to 12th grade participated.
Wednesday night our girls basketball players spent the evening working with Play Fit Fun on team-building skills. Coach Abraham and his staff had girls from 3rd -12th grade working together, playing games, talking about what makes a great teammate, and building connections that extend across grade levels. Coach Abraham noted, "Our varsity girls were great! They immediately dug in and made sure to involve the younger girls."
Maddie R'2019 and Greta F'20 work with two middle school players during one of the activities.
Varsity players Ava C'20 and Joan Marie H'17 work with two lower school basketball players.
It was an amazing evening that could not have happened without the generous support of one of our basketball parents. I have to also thank our coaches. So often teacher get caught up in the moment, they can't step back and see the whole picture. Our coaches understand that basketball is an amazing vehicle to fulfill the OES mission and gave up time for X's and O's to focus on emotional and spiritual development.
The OES girls basketball program is building into something special!
Winter tried its best to keep the boys out of the gym. After canceling two games, OES travelled to #1 and undefeated in league play, Catlin Gabel. The boys jumped to an early lead behind a high energy defense and great shooting from Emerson L'17. The Aardvarks had a 9 point lead at half and extended it to 11 points at the end of the third. Catlin wouldn't quit, nor would we expect them to. They are a deep team that is well coached and had pulled out several close victories this season. With a minute to go OES' lead had evaporated and the score was 54-49. Catlin hit a big 3 and fouled Ian H'18 who had struggled to find his shot throughout the game. The junior captain sank both free throws to seal the victory 56-52 and earn a key away victory in the competitive Lewis and Clark League.
While our basketball folks have wished for rain, the ski team has been enjoying a great snow season on the mountain. I stopped by the Huckelberry Inn last Friday to see the team post training. I was so impressed with the coaching staff and racers. The coaches balance giving strategic advice on the race, technical support on the equipment, diet recommendations for refueling, and lights out orders to get everyone race ready. It is like no other program at OES. What a special community! Race results can be found here: http://metroskileague.org/2017_results
Hugh S, Asa B, Ian B and Ian R sit down Friday evening after training on the mountain to refuel and talk race strategy for Saturday's race.
I have pasted below Coach Urdahl's summary from the first race of the season.
Happy New Year! It has been more than a month since our last post. We lost back to back Fridays and heading to winter break early. While I was dominating my 8 year old in Monopoly, our varsity basketball teams were in the gym getting better. The ski team had a training session on Mt Hood and had to battle deep powder and blue skies. Ski racers... We are light on photos, so please feel free to send any to firstname.lastname@example.org that you would like to share.
The bus arrives today to shuttle the team up to Mt Hood to train. Coach Urdahl will be prepping for Saturday's Slalom race. The team will train on the mountain and then return to the hostel and prep their skis and talk strategy. It is a young team this year and the coaches will rely on the seniors and returning letter winners to model how to get race ready!
The boys are currently 9-4 with 2 losses against the same out of league team. In league play the boys sit in 2nd place with a 3-1 record. The lone loss was at De La Salle. The boys had a tough 2nd quarter giving up 21 points, but battled back and had the opportunity to tie it but the ball rimmed out. The team is led by tri-captains Emerson L, Ian H, and Alex O. Colby B has been stretching defenses with his shooting from beyond the arc. Pete W or Oren P have been the fifth starter. Both are juniors who bring different skills to the team but are both tough hard-nosed comepetitors. Sophomores Alex S and David L bring great defense and provide solid ball handling. One of the biggest suprises has been the stellar play of senior Andy S at center. Andy has been a rock in the low post and teams can't seem to keep him off the offensive boards. The boys head into a challenging stretch of league play facing Rainier and Catlin on the road and then De La Salle at home.
I love watching this team compete. It doesn't matter who is on the floor or who the Aardvarks are facing; this team gives 110% for all four quarters. They are 3-10, but teams dread facing the pressure defense. The Aardvarks are forcing difficult shots and ruining team's FG %. On the offensive end the girls are making great strides . They often outshoot and outrebound the opponent, but we are struggling to put it in the basket. The team is developing great depth and although they are young they are consistently bringing great energy at practice and games.
MS Hoops is in full swing. Our five 7/8 teams are at the beginning of their season. The MS West squad opened with a 2 point victory after trailing the entire game. The other four teams open today against Riverdale.
6th grade basketball begins in two weeks. Schedules are on the Athletics website.
BAM begins next Wednesday. We should have close to 120 lower school students participating in Basketball and Mindfulness. Cindy McEnroe and Missy Smith are excited to begin year 2 of this program. We are grateful to all of the parent volunteer coaches who are joining for the first time or returning from last season.
MS Spring sports sign-ups will begin next week. Track and Field, Boys Lacrosse and Girls Lacrosse are the options.
As I write this entry, both varsity basketball teams are en route to Medford to play St Mary's of Medford tonight. They will stay overnight and face Rogue River tomorrow. An overnight trip allows the team to spend time together that is different than practicing or playing games. It is also different than having a team dinner off campus. We scheduled this trip so each teams could focus on developing an identity and build trust and solidarity. The bonding that happens is unique to the trip. It reminds me of my first outdoor education trip. After a week of school, I left with the freshman class to hike and camp in the back country in the Sierras. I never had that experience as a public school student growing up in the suburbs of North Jersey, so I was amazed by how students who were clearly outside their comfort zone stepped up to support each other. The travel isn't easy or convenient, but it creates a great opportunity for our student-athletes to grow.
Opening night of basketball: November 30
We hosted Sheridan on Wednesday night. Opening night is so exciting. Coaches are eager to see what they will learn about the student-athletes. Parents anticipate the new roles their children may have on a team. Missy and I spend a lot of time imagining potential catastrophes to see if we are prepared for the unknown. If a 50ft lizard attacks Portland, we have scripted out a possible emergency action plan. Our girls varsity have a lot of new faces. Four of five starters graduated and several underclassmen did not come out for basketball to focus on other endeavors. Captains Emilie D'17, Anna S'18, and Rachel L'19 along with Maddie R'19 are the returning leaders. We also have a new coaching staff. Todd Abraham and Sarah Bithell have the exciting task of taking over the program. The team battled Sheridan valiantly and made several runs, but Sheridan had both experience and talent, and won by 15 points. What we know from the girls' opening performance is that this squad competes. Now it is up to the coaches to develop a vision and create a plan that will set the girls up for success. The boys are in a different situation than last season. Last year we joked that the team didn't warm-up after the half time talk because they didn't have any subs and needed to conserve their energy. This year OES played 11 players in the first half. Tri-captains Emerson L'17, Alex O'17, and Ian H'18 are the returning foundation, and Oren P'18 and Colby'18 rounded out the starting five. Alex S'19, David L'19, Luca P'20, and Shiva B played critical minutes early and Andy S'17 and Peter W'18 added length and physicality to the front court. OES took the lead early and increased that lead throughout the game. Sheridan's 6'8 center was good, but Oren, Andy, and Alex O continually made things difficult for him. Ian and Emerson look to be in mid-season form, but unlike last season they don't seem to have to carry as big of scoring load. Coach Pratt, Coach Meyer, and Coach Kirk are excited to see what the team is capable of accomplishing and they praise the team's focus and commitment.
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