Here at St. Joe, rivalries are things that get fans and students excited for sporting events. With Homecoming this weekend, we are preparing for some very competitive games. In soccer, St. Joe goes against Chesapeake High and football plays McDonogh. Last year, the Gaels played against Calvert Hall in football, and after spirited battle, MSJ won 21-7. Last year soccer didn’t play Calvert Hall, they instead played Archbishop Spalding, with St. Joe winning 2-0. With St. Joe playing so many different teams for Homecoming, it got students and staff wondering, who is St. Joe’s rival?
As a school, we have teachers and staff that have graduated from the Mount, ranging from the 1970s to 2014. Many of them stated that when they attended, our rival was either Calvert Hall, or Cardinal Gibbons, which is now closed. The Quill completed a survey, completed by over 20 faculty and staff, and that survey ended with predictable results. The majority of the staff surveyed said Calvert Hall is the main rival, with Archbishop Spalding as the runner-up. One notable dissent was from Mr. Tony Brockmeyer who went so far to say that since the closing of Cardinal Gibbons, “we do not have a current rival.”
Mr. Phil Kraska is the Head Varsity Baseball coach here at MSJ. He says Calvert Hall was, and is, the baseball team’s rival. They are the “most heated games, most energy at games, our guys always step up to play at a higher level.” For example the rivalry is so tense, that our school’s players are not allowed to wear anything red at practice, since Calvert Hall’s primary color is red. Mr. Kraska said that it was the rule back when he played, and it still is now. “I haven’t worn red in 19 years”, Mr. Kraska stated, explaining that the rule was so strong, that it stuck with him for life.
Meanwhile, a number of teachers & staff, including Mr. Clint Felts, Head Football Coach Mr. Rich Holzer, Athletic Director Mr. Kraig Loovis, and Librarian Mrs. Paula Wichmann, along with others, all said that Spalding is The Mount’s primary rival. Many of them cited the competitiveness in sports, and the fact that we seem to draw from the same student population in Anne Arundel County. Still others, such as President Mr. George Andrews, cited St. Mary’s Ryken, thanks to the Xaverian connection we share with the school.
According to Mr. Kraska, and the majority of the faculty respondents, Calvert Hall continues to be our primary rival. But according to the students polled, that’s not the case for all of the sports. In a student survey, 76% out of 162 students who responded, said that the rivalry depends on the sport being played. We saw responses that covered all of the major sports, and academic activities, that Mount Saint Joe competes in against other area schools.
What we noticed in the results were that depending upon the sport being played, the students all claimed a different main rival. For hockey players, Spalding stood out as the primary rival. For baseball players, Calvert Hall continued to be the primary rival. For football players, McDonogh, Gilman, and Spalding all got votes. Water polo members consistently mentioned Gilman as the primary rival. And for basketball players, every single respondent said that St. Frances was hands-down the primary rival of Mount Saint Joe.
“Year after year one night always stands out as a major sports night at Saint Joe and that is the St. Frances basketball game. Homecoming is important sure but who we play changes year from year. No other opposing school consistently has a game every year that always is considered a major night no matter what.”Basketball player survey respondent
As you can see in the chart, the students are much more fragmented than the teachers when it comes to identifying the primary rival against the Gaels. Nearly 6 out of 10 students mention Calvert Hall, but Spalding, McDonogh, and St. Frances all received a number of votes. Even Mount de Sales got a mention from a single student who took the survey, although it is hard to understand the intent of adding that to an anonymous survey.
So while St. Joe soccer will be playing Chesapeake High School, and the football team will be playing McDonogh for Homecoming on Saturday, it is obvious that for the students, St. Joe has a “revolving door” of rivals, depending on the sport, and the competition level between the schools. While some sports are locked in on a particular team, like baseball with Calvert Hall, others rotate through teams during different seasons. As shown in the faculty/staff survey, considering how St. Joe’s rivalry has transitioned from Cardinal Gibbons to Calvert Hall over the past 20 years, it will be interesting to see where’s St. Joe’s rivalry stands another 20 years from now.