The John Carroll School, one of many schools whose student-athletes participate in MIAA and IAAM athletic conferences, has nine varsity teams ready to battle in abbreviated seasons due to COVID-19.
Play for some began over the weekend, while others were to begin play this week and next. Here’s a brief look at each team (excludes football).
Head coach Jim Fendryk begins his 11th year with the Patriots.
The Patriots are fielding a blended group of experienced upperclassmen with talented sophomores and freshmen and are very optimistic about their chances at a postseason run and title challenge. “We are really excited about getting back on the field and thankful that the other schools came together to give all of our kids the opportunity to play this fall," Fendryk said. “A few weeks ago, none of this seemed possible and now here we are, back to it, ready to work and most importantly ready to have some fun.”
Some of the Patriots to players to watch are Michal Gradus, a senior forward who was the top scorer in the MIAA A Conference last season with 19 goals. Others are Davin Clarke, senior midfielder; Ryan Petty, senior midfielder; Ethan Thomson, senior defender; Ethan Wagner, senior goalkeeper; Eric Schultz, junior center back; and Ryan Skandalis, sophomore midfielder.
“I think the common theme when it has come to these COVID sports restarts is that you need to expect the unexpected and we’re confident that our group can compete for a championship at this level,” Fendryk said.
Head coach Hayley Howe is in her seventh year with John Carroll.
“Our team is excited to get back on the field. This year’s team will be the most veteran we’ve had with 10 seniors and nine juniors,” Howe said. “The coaching staff is eager to see the years of recruiting and training come to fruition. We hope to bring energy and high-level soccer to our opponents in the abbreviated season against IAAM teams.”
The key returning players are led by a pair of All-Harford players; Ellie Hollin a senior defender. and Ally Krieger, a senior central midfielder who is committed to Robert Morris, a Division I University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Two other returning players are Mya Gerbes, a junior goalkeeper, and Macy Vail, a junior striker, who was second in scoring last year.
Two freshman are among key new players, that includes Madison Shaffery, a junior transfer from IMG Academy.
The freshman are Natalie Kelly and Sophie Anderson.
The girls team has a four-match schedule and second year head coach Angela K. Ward is getting them ready.
“The team is excited that the season is happening,” Ward said. “They have been practicing and ready to compete in their four-match schedule.”
Sophomore transfer Sydney Harrison and senior Sofia-Marie Morrello will play singles for the Patriots. Morrello was a doubles player.
Doubles players are returning seniors. The teams are Megan Scannell/Katelynn Warfel; Lily Dippel/Gracyn Meisz; Ella Messick/Madison Sumwalt; and Elise Bailey/Valerie Friar.
Notable additions who will play doubles are Sydney Walsh/Savannah Sheppard and Emma Bison/Hannah Smith.
“Our senior doubles teams are experienced and work well together. Megan Scannell/Katelynn Warfel and Lily Dippel/Gracyn Meisz will represent JC well,” Ward said.
Head coach Kelly Pulaski is in her first year to guide the Patriots.
“Despite COVID-19 the team has been working hard all Fall in small group practices to prepare for a potential season and to work on individual growth and development,” coach Pulaski said. “The team has never lost their passion for the game or desire to play and learn so therefore I have high expectations for this season.”
Top players on the team are Jamie Alatzas, senior forward; Emma Campitelli; junior midfield; Gabi Myer; junior midfield; Haley Lauer, sophomore midfield; Evelyn Leonard, senior defensive midfield; Rachel Fitzpatrick; junior defender; and Angelina Giglio-Tos, senior goalie.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to play and our top priorities are to be safe and have fun,” Pulaski said.
Tucker Snow has been coaching at John Carroll for the last four years, but this is his first year as head coach of the program. Tucker says the three top players are Austin Shorts, a junior outside hitter; Jeremy Biggerman, a junior opposite; and Jackson Coyner, a junior setter.
“Obviously, this season will be unlike any others. My players have come into this sudden season with a determination and dedication to getting better with every practice. We have an incredible group of juniors, who have developed into very good volleyball players and incredible leaders,” coach Snow said. “I truly am excited to see the level of play that they are able to achieve this year. We are very excited and ready for the season to be underway.”
Joe Scheide takes over the program and this is his first year as well. Scheide coached the JV boys team the past two years.
The Patriots have a few senior leaders including setter Reilly Moore and middle hitter/setter Morgan Yaich. They also have a really exciting junior class with outside hitter Ella Andrychowski, defensive specialist Julia Hudson and middle hitter Rosalie McGuirk leading the way.
The girls and I are thrilled that so many schools are welcoming back fall sports amidst this pandemic. We know it will look and feel different, but we are just excited to finally be able to play," Scheide said. “We will have a ton of fun and we look forward to putting together a competitive season against some great opponents.”
Boys cross country
Michael Monaghan enters his 20th season with Patriots.
The Patriots top runners are seniors Lukas Dattoli, Kai O’Brien and Elie Fraiji; junior Jackson Holschuh; and sophomores Brendan Brooks and Ryan Frampton.
“I know the pandemic has taken a toll on us. Our numbers are well below the past few seasons. Two of our top five runners from last year have decided not to run, so we are basically in a rebuilding year,” coach Monaghan said. “In our unofficial, abbreviated season we have four meets scheduled. We’ve been training since August, mostly in a limited capacity, but you can only practice for so long. Our athletes are yearning for some competition.”
Girls cross country
Rob Torres leads the girls cross country team for a 19th season.
Top runners are Cadence Beatty, Freshman; Tori Novak, Sophomore; May Berger, Senior; Ava Moore, Freshman; Hailey Sowinski, Freshman; Maddie Phillips, Junior; and Liz Marlow, Senior.
“After winning the IAAM B conference last year and returning all seven varsity runners, we were excited to move up to the A conference to see how we would do. Also, we have a very strong group of freshmen plus a couple new juniors who all look like they’ll make the team very good,” coach Torres said. “We practiced as much as we felt was safe, 2-to-3 times per week starting in July and now back to almost full time. The team looks good and is almost ready to go, so we’ll see how the abbreviated season goes.”