All posts by Christopher Flynn

Previewing the Outdoor Track Season

Andrew Brinker leading off the 4×8. St. Joe set a school record in this race.

The Mount Saint Joseph Gaels are looking to bring the trophy back home the spring. Under new head coach Kyle Reagan, the Gaels competed very well this past indoor season, finishing second place behind Gilman. Throughout the season, many challenges were faced, but they always found a way. Saint Joe also brought eight athletes to compete at the Armory in New York City this past winter. Many athletes step up when needed and it will only carry on to the outdoor season.

Juan Mendoza participates in the long jump under the watchful eye of Coach Reagan.

In the sprints and jumps, senior Juan Mendoza led the charge. His consistent performances through his dashes and jumps was key to the Gaels’ hard fought battle during championships. He will be a key asset this spring if the Gaels want a shot at bringing the title back home this May.

For the hurdles, the junior combo of Kahri Barfield and Mekhi Nixon took over the MIAA. Barfield took first place and Nixon took third at indoor championships. This dynamic duo brought home a load of points at championships, and hope to repeat what they did during indoor this spring.

The distance crew for Saint Joe is looking solid. Many of the distance runners had a short indoor season due to the long cross country season they had, but made the most of it. The 4X800 team broke the indoor school record this year and looks to do the same for outdoor. For the 3200, the group is led by senior Ryan Hockstra, followed by juniors Gabe Antone and David Trider. In the 1600 and 800, Andrew Brinker will compete in his fourth season of outdoor track looking to do some damage. Last but not least, there is Joey Zietowski who ran some quick times during the indoor season in the 800 will be leading the mid distance group.

Hunter Petrik leading the 800 meter. Petrik also set a school record in the individual 800 meter.

Saint Joe’s ole reliable this year has been senior Hunter Petrik who ran everything from the 400 to the 3200. The senior broke the 800 meter indoor record for the school. He also anchored the 4X800 team that broke the school record. To go on top of this, he also lowered the 3200 meter record which he already owned. Petrik was striving for the 1600 meter record, but ran the full mile (1609 meters) at New Balance Nationals at the Armory in New York. Hunter ran a wicked fast time of 4:21 for the mile at nationals and represented Saint Joe well. Petrik announced in late February his acceptance to the United States Naval Academy, where he will further his education and running career.

The Gaels have a lot of talent and assets from indoor that will aid them this season. The seniors with experience hopefully can pave the way for the younger generation. The athletes mentioned in this article are only a part of the team effort that comes together during every meet. All in all, if the Gaels want to bring that trophy home it will have to be a team effort on both days of championships later this spring in May.

Dallas Ector prepares for the pole vault.

Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford Speaks to the Leaders of Mt. St. Joseph

Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford speaks to student leaders on Monday, October 23.

Little did Lieutenant Governor Boyd Kevin Rutherford know as a kid that he was going to be in political office one day. He grew up just down the road in Washington D.C., where he delivered newspapers in the wee hours of the morning. It wasn’t until his thirties when he finished school that he started to become involved in politics. Politics was not always the path Mr. Rutherford followed. He started his career in business working for a bank in New York City. He soon realized this wasn’t his forte and moved on to something different in his life. He left the banking job he had in New York to go work in technology sales for a while. In his marriage, his wife encouraged him to take his bright ideas he had for the community to a town meeting. That meeting was the beginning of a long, successful career in politics. Being able to “be open to opportunities that’ll come later in life” is essential, even if you do not know what those things are now.

Senior Steven Huang spearheaded the effort to bring Lt. Governor Rutherford to campus.

The Lieutenant Governor was hesitant to run for office with current Governor Hogan at the time because he wasn’t sure how the campaign process would affect his family. His family was very supportive, so he decided to go on and run with Mr. Larry Hogan, whom he had known for 15 years by the time they started their campaign. They were most definitely the underdog in this election, but they weren’t afraid to fail. He said “Great leaders don’t take the easy road,” and that is exactly what they did. They were able “to face adversity and going through that process will make you stronger.” The LG was able to get the win with his running mate, and then came the real opportunity to lead.

The Lt. Governor spoke about how, as a leader, “you have to manage from the deck of a gunship.”

Not being afraid to fail was what propelled them into office, but once they got there, the job had only begun. A Navy Supreme Commander once said, “You have to manage from the deck of the gunship,” meaning that good leaders can’t manage from behind a desk. They need to interact and work with their team to reach their common goal. The overall goal of Lieutenant Governor Rutherford and Governor Hogan is to leave Maryland in a better position than when they entered office. In order to lead successfully, Lieutenant Governor Rutherford stated how one must respect and depend on work of his or her peers and the dedication/hard-work of the team. As a leader, one has to be willing to jump in and get dirty to get some work done.

At the end of his talk, Mr. Rutherford answered a plethora of questions. But when it was my turn to ask, I asked why the school systems in Maryland now starts after Labor Day instead of in August. The main reasons he said are because of tradition and economics. Even though this may not be a tradition in my generation, back in Mr. Rutherford’s and our parents day, that was the norm. Also from an economic standpoint, starting school after Labor Day allows families to regather from vacation comfortably before school starts and allows more business to expand in the state and flow down to our beaches in Maryland, such as Ocean City.

“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly” – John F. Kennedy, Jr. The overall message Lieutenant Governor Rutherford wanted to get across to us was to be open minded to new opportunities, to not be afraid to fail, and to work hard with peers. Doing those things can allow us, the next generation, to be great leaders.

After his speech, Lt. Governor Rutherford took questions from the audience.


From MSJ Student to Coach: Kyle Reagan ’00

Mr. Kyle Reagan works with one of his DePaul students.

The 2017-2018 school year here at Mount Saint Joseph is welcoming a large number of new teachers and faculty members. One specifically is Mr. Kyle Reagan, or in the track team’s case, Coach Reagan. Coach Reagan is working in the DePaul Center, but he is also coaching cross country. Prior to his return to Saint Joe, he coached at Maryvale Preparatory School while he was a Phys Ed teacher at a local middle school. He was an assistant coach for cross country as well as a coach for track and field. In track, he coached mainly sprinters but also long, triple, and high jumpers. While he spent his time at Maryvale, he was a part of coaching 2 cross country championship games, two indoor track championships, and one outdoor championship. He also coached 6 different high jumpers who were conference champions over 8 years.

Coach Kyle Reagan graduated from the Mount in 2000 and claims it to be “the greatest graduating class” from Mount Saint Joseph. From his freshman to senior year, he ran cross country as well as indoor and outdoor track, totaling up to twelve total seasons of running. In fact, the Mount’s current cross country coach, Coach Peach was his track coach senior year of high school. In track he ran the 800-meter race up to the 2 mile. When he was in high school, his favorite subjects were Chemistry and Physics.

After Coach Reagan’s departure from the Mount in 2000, he went on to go to college at Salisbury and then transferred to Towson. He continued his running career both at Salisbury and Towson, but running longer distances of 5k’s and 10k’s instead of 800 meters.

Mr. Kyle Reagan, Class of 2000, now teaches in DePaul and coaches Cross Country.

Now after 17 years since his graduation, Coach Reagan is back as a teacher and a coach instead of a student and an athlete. He hopes to have the same impact on students that other teachers had on him while he attended the Mount. He’s happy to be back, and hopes he can continue the excellence in the track program that Mount Saint Joseph has had for a long time now. He is ready to take on this runner-up track team and get that championship back. Ironically, Maryvale lost the outdoor track championship as well just like Saint Joe, getting second place. He said it hurts that he didn’t finish off his time at Maryvale with a win but is ready to get that bitter taste out of his mouth by putting together a Saint Joe track team that will be “well coached and will work hard.”

Mount Saint Joseph welcomes Coach Reagan back and is ready to see what he has in store for this track team in his return as a Gael.

Mr. Clovis Njongue- International Traveler & Teacher

It’s a new school year for Mount Saint Joseph and with the new school year, we welcome a whole new class of freshman as well as new teachers. This school year, I am taking Geometry with Mr. Clovis Njongue; the newest addition to the Mathematics Department.

Mr. Clovis Njongue with one of his Geometry classes.

As you can tell by his name, with it not a common “American” last name, Mr. Njongue is actually from Cameroon. Njongue is pronounced Jon-ge, having the ‘n’ silent in the beginning of his name. Even though Mr. Njongue is from Cameroon, English is his primary language and he speaks it well. He also speaks a few other languages including French, Thai, as well as a little bit of Turkish. Given his fluency in other languages, he has taught in other countries including: Cameroon, Thailand, Cypress, and now the United States. Mr. Njongue has really experienced different parts of the world while teaching mathematics and he is now bringing his experience to our classroom in Room 22 at Mount Saint Joseph.

Mr. Njongue is more than qualified to teach at the Mount, having taught in several different countries. He has also well versed in different types of mathematics as well. He has taught Geometry, Algebra, Calculus, and Statistics. Our new member of the Mathematics Department has also taught Computer Science. For most of Mr. Njongue’s professional career, he has been a teacher (for eight years), but has also been a counselor, at times, and an instructor for Mathematics and Science camps.

Over the years he has expanded his teachings in Mathematics in many ways. As a student in college, Mr. Njongue was the Head of Student Affairs at Cameroon College of Arts and Technology. His duties were to enforce school rules and regulations among the students. So even before he even was a teacher, he was regulating rules as if he was one, practicing the profession without leaving school. Then Mr. Njongue, went on to be a Senate Chairperson at the University of Student Union. Soon, he would move on to be an Assistant in Seminars and Workshops for Mathematics at Bambili Student Development Centre.

Mr. Njongue reviews for a test with his students. Here they are going back over Algebra material before moving on to Geometry.

After that he went on to be a Distinguish Instructor at the Government Bilingual High School Deido where he taught Applied Statistics and Calculus, Geometry, and Algebra. At the Government Practicing High School Yaounde, Mr. Njongue was a Computer Science Teacher and then would later be a Math Instructor at the Government of Bilingual High School Diedo until moving to Thailand to teach at Uthaiwittayakhom Secondary and High School. In Thailand, he taught 3-4 classes a day with class sizes of 35 per class. He also was a camp assistant for a Mathematics and English camp and a camp coordinator for a Math and Science camp. He was in Thailand for about two years before coming to the United States and eventually became part of the Mathematics Department at Mount Saint Joseph.

Having a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics as well as a Teaching Certification in Mathematics and Computer Science, he has been able to use his knowledge in educating the youth in many different places. I have really enjoyed having him these first few weeks of school and hope he enjoys teaching us as much as we enjoy learning.

Christopher Flynn ’19 is on Twitter at @c21flynn

Finishing Off Another Season With MSJ Rugby

As the Mount Saint Joseph school year comes to a close, so do the sports programs, including MSJ Rugby. Rugby is not a sport widely known across the United States; it is more an international sport. Though over the years, it has become very popular going from youth leagues to high schools to college and even new professional leagues in the United States. Mount Saint Joseph is one of four schools in the MIAA to have a rugby team, along with Loyola, Spalding, and Calvert Hall. This year there was great competition.

The Varsity Rugby Team struggled during the regular season, but performed well in Tournament Play.
The MSJ Varsity team roster consisted of mostly seniors but also had a few sophomores come up including Luke Alli, Craig Rogers, Michael Corbi, and Marcus Suri. Despite the high number of seniors, the Varsity team had a tough year against skilled MIAA opponents, coming out winless and taking a loss in the playoffs to the Loyola Dons. MSJ Varsity rugby competed in two tournaments this year: the Frostbite tournament back in February and the Mount Saint Mary’s tournament. The team did fairly well in both, winning four consecutive games in the Frostbite tournament until losing in the championship. Fast-forward to April, where the Varsity team took a win over Virginia Beach, but lost two close games to some of the toughest competition in the tournament. On paper, the Varsity rugby team for Mount Saint Joseph may not look that good, until you see the senior talent and their bright futures. Many seniors will be playing rugby in college, such as Tommy Luc  (Louisville), Connor Geary (Towson), and Justus Croyle (Loyola – Maryland). There are a few more seniors such as Michael Slattery, John Scavilla, Braden Scranton, and Brendan O’Brien who will all be attending Salisbury, in hopes of showcasing their talent to play for their rugby squad.

The JV team after the 70-0 victory over the Spalding Cavaliers.
The JV squad at Mount Saint Joseph lived up to the standards that were set by the JV team last year. The JV team was a melting pot, with freshman coming from the bottom, sophomores, and a few skilled juniors who played with the JV team in need of experience. The lack of experience, despite the few juniors, hurt them in game one of the season vs. Loyola, where the Gaels took a tough loss 17-7. The young Gaels shook it off though and started to play together as a team in game 2 vs. the Spalding Cavaliers. The JV team came out strong together taking a crushing victory 70-0, and shaking off the loss from the week before. At 1-1, the JV team needed a victory over Calvert Hall and also needed Loyola to defeat the Cards as well. After falling 12-0 in the first half, the Gaels needed leadership to help complete its comeback in order to make it to the championship. That’s where sophomores Austin Bradley, Sergio Villafane and Victor Doda, and juniors Matthew Pederson, Ryan Bibeau, and Fitz Curran helped take over the game. The Gaels took care of business and bounced back completing the comeback with a 17-12 victory over Calvert Hall. The JV Gaels were on a roll and on their way to the championship, but first had the Mount Saint Mary’s tournament where they went 2-1 taking victories over West End and West Shore. The one loss came to Gonzaga where the Gaels made themselves a tough opponent, only losing by 7. The season was on the final stretch for the JV team where they got to host the championship vs. the one team they lost to, the Loyola Dons. The Gaels played a rough and sloppy game, but hung in for the most part. Despite their best efforts, they could not come out on top losing by 7, 19-12. After the game, the JV team did not dwell in this championship loss, but used it as motivation to make sure they finish the job off next year.

Having 15 out of the 23 players on the Varsity roster being seniors, that leaves plenty of room for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors to fill those spots. Many juniors started earlier and more such as Estaban Benson who was injured early in the season vs. Spalding, Gannon Conrad, Sam Borsch, and Owen and Sean Zaleski have high potential to be playing on the Varsity squad next year. Also, with being coached by only 6 coaches on all levels (F/S, JV, Varsity), the team cooperated very well in practices in order to perform well in games. Head Coach, Mr. Hoffman stated in the beginning of the season how if you play rugby at Mount Saint Joseph, you play for MSJ rugby. You do not play “MSJ Varsity Rugby”, not “MSJ JV Rugby”, not “F/S Rugby” because at any given moment one could be pulled up or pushed down and he doesn’t care how good you are, he want his players to play as a team. And after this season, you can see that his players did that, play as a team.

MSJ Alters Schedule in Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This Friday, January 15th, Mount Saint Joseph will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This year, we are choosing to celebrate this on his actual birthday instead of the national holiday. This allows us to celebrate MLK Day as a whole school community instead of as individuals. This commemoration is important to Mount Saint Joseph because Dr. King is the only African American with a national holiday, and the reasons why he has a holiday have deep and significant meaning.

Still image from Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech given in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit – Getty Images – ABC News

Mr. Bonham and Mr. Shearer, who organized our celebration this year, explained that we will be doing more as a school this week than we have in any other year for MLK Day. Mr. Bonham and Mr. Shearer’s goal is to include the whole school in the celebration. In the past, MSJ has celebrated MLK Day on the actual holiday by having a prayer service in the morning followed by a breakfast. Attendance was low since it was a day off from school, and so the celebration this year will include the whole school.

The schedule this Friday will be shortened, having most classes focus on some aspect of Dr. King’s beliefs. For example, in English you may look at some of his speeches; in History, some events of the Civil Rights Movement; and in Theology, Dr. King’s life as a pastor and how he fought (peacefully) for racial equality. Then at 1:00 PM, the students will report to homeroom and then go to the Smith Center. At the Smith Center, there will be a prayer service where Brother Edward Driscoll, head of Xaverian Brothers, will speak about how the Xaverian Brothers were involved in the Civil Rights Movement. He will also ask us to think about Dr. King’s dream and what our dream is. After Brother is finished speaking, juniors Michael Stromberg and Aaron Johnson will speak, and the choir will perform.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is a great role model from whom we can all learn. We need to remember Dr. King’s message, because it still applies to so many current events today. Also, another thing about Dr. King we should remember is how he stood for social justice in a nonviolent way and showed that love is the best way to inspire change. Dr. King also believed in the content of one’s character, not labels they are given.6a00e54ed2b7aa88330192ac062724970d

Martin Luther King, Jr. was so committed to his cause that he dedicated his whole life to what he believed in. The real question for us to consider based on his example is, are there things worth dedicating your whole life to and maybe even dying for?

Just because MSJ is celebrating MLK Day the Friday before doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it yourself as well, whether that is going out in the community or taking a minute to remember his legacy on racial equality that will be forever remembered.