Category Archives: Spring Sports

Returning 15 juniors gives St. Joe Lacrosse hope for the upcoming season

Last Tuesday, I got a chance to sit down with Coach Tyler Reid of the Lacrosse team to do an interview on the upcoming spring 2022-2023 season. Here is what he had to say.

The Gaels have struggled these past few years to be a competitive team in the most demanding league in the country, but this year could change that situation.

Coach Reid says that from the 3 years he has been in the program, he is trying to change its mindset. The mindset, put simply, is to work harder. The Gaels have struggled these past few years to be a competitive team in the most demanding league in the country, but this year could change that situation. The Gaels are returning many of the same faces from last year’s team, who are now better and more experienced. Coach Reid also stated that being in the most challenging league in the country, it can be tough to compete, but with 15 juniors returning, they are pleased about the season ahead.

Photo of the Lacrosse Team from last season

I asked Coach Reid how they would match up with teams like Spalding, Boys Latin, and McDonogh. He stated that matchups are significant and what their strengths and weaknesses are. He said that they are looking to capitalize on other teams’ mistakes. Also, the players’ willingness to work with the coaching staff, to be prepared for each game, and to be able to make adjustments.

Being more focused, stressed Coach Reid. The Gaels Lacrosse team has been working hard and focusing on their work. Coach Reid said they fell short in many games and are using that as motivation this off-season. Coach Reid also says they have been working out 4 days a week with fall ball practice mixed in. He also stated that the strength and conditioning coach [Cobit] has done a great job with the players.

Photo of Lacrosse team for last season

“Successful after they leave,” said Coach Reid. I asked him what his thoughts about the program are in 5 years. The early thing was they wanted to change the lacrosse culture. He also said that “they wanted to be looked at as professional.” The final goal is for Mount Saint Joseph to compete for an MIAA championship and be one of the top contending teams in the country. It definitely can be done with hard work.

I also got to sit down and ask Junior Owen Cooper a few questions. I asked him what the goal for the season was. He said, “To win.” This statement came out very quickly; you can see that they are locked in for the season ahead.

This interview was eye-opening for me. How the lacrosse program is on the upswing, and other teams in the MIAA, as well as other top teams in the country, better watch out for the Gaels in the future.

Jack Bieda is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Facing participation issues, the golf program looks to take a step forward

Mike Dooley marks his 30th season as Head Varsity Golf Coach.

For 30 years, the Varsity Golf Team has competed under the watchful eyes of Coach Mike Dooley. Photo Credit: Edward Schultheis

Following a difficult season for Varsity Golf in 2022, the team anticipates a massive leap forward into 2023. Mr. Mike Dooley, entering his 30th season as the Varsity head coach, positively approached these struggles: “Last season, while we might not have had a great record, we had a very unique roster. We started with one senior, two sophomores, and three freshmen. We had a roster that looks forward to the next couple of years.” Coming off a season with two wins in twelve matches, Coach Dooley used last season as motivation to build a winning program for 2023.

Though young teams are an issue in any sport, sophomore J.D. Mahoney confronted the development with a concrete solution: “It came down to whether they [the players] had tournament experience or not, experience the stress that comes in competitive play. Once you get into that, it becomes more of a mind game among yourself.” He added that this mental challenge hurt their play and match scores.

J.D. Mahoney chips onto the green during a match against McDonogh. Photo Credit: Mr. Schultheis

I also asked J.D. about an issue that has plagued the golf program for many years: participation. He continued to emphasize the mental struggle that comes with playing golf: “I think they don’t like it competitively. Match play is all walking and completely serious, with a lot of mental games. If we were to popularize the sport more, we would have to make it more casual for people to go play.”

The participation issue has also plagued the coaches’ ability to select their teams. Coach Dooley said, “We don’t have the volume. Like this year, in our fall organizational meeting, we only had 23 students attend, and we will carry rosters of perhaps 18/19. We’d like to have more to choose from and people coming into MSJ with more accomplished golf games.” According to Coach Bob, the assistant JV coach, there is not a solution, but the players “have to want to do it.”

Coach Mike Dooley instructs a player during practice. Photo Credit: Mr. Schultheis

On the other hand, the increase in golfers due to COVID has become a massive assist to the golf program. Coach Bob had this to say about the growth of MSJ golf over the years: “We’ve had some lean years and some really good years. Back in 2012 or 2013, I had one freshman. But COVID brought a lot of people out because it was the first sport people could do. The last two years, we’ve had really good groups of freshmen, which will translate into a really good Varsity team over the next two or three years.” Unlike other sports, these coaches must factor in the unpredictability of the incoming golfers, and that makes it hard to know what might happen in future seasons.

Through all the ups and downs, Coach Bob has thoroughly enjoyed his time in the MSJ golf program. As the king of golf references, he paraphrased a quote from thirteen-time major champion Bobby Jones: “If you take everything out of my life except the experience I’ve had with St. Joe, I’d still think I had a really good career.”

Coach Bob intently watches his players during practice. Photo Credit: Mr. Schultheis

Though sometimes completely unrelated, Coach Bob also holds countless golf stories through his years wt Rolling Road and traveling with the JV golf team. When I asked him about some of his favorite MSJ stories, he flashed back to last season’s JV golf finale at Diamond Ridge: “My highlight last year was when Brian Cecil made that birdie on #10 in that last match. Where did that come from? But I’m glad he did it. I think that’s provided him with a, ‘Hey, I can do this.”

Junior Brock Weisman expects to lead a better St. Joe squad this season. Photo Credit: Mr. Schultheis

The MSJ golf program, although sometimes overlooked, provides a fundamental look into how a sports program should be run. Obviously, hard work and dedication come first, but the excitement and enjoyment from all the coaches and golfers build incredible trust that runs deep in the program’s history. The game of golf can be difficult and frustrating, but it provides lifelong memories and improves people’s everyday lives.

Alex Kwas is a sophomore member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

New lacrosse coach Phillip Bates aims to lead St. Joe in tough MIAA Conference

The Mount Saint Joseph Lacrosse team has had a history of previous players in its coaching staff. Many of the coaches that have come through the Mount to give back to the boys have been in the same shoes as the players. They attended the same classes and had some of the same teachers, notably Mr. Jeffrey who graduated from the Mount himself in 1974. The most recent Varsity head coach, Stephen Berger, was a Mount Graduate of 2000 who spent four years coaching at MSJ.

The new varsity coach, Phillip Bates, has been coaching lacrosse for a while. He was the head coach for two years at Dallastown Area High School in PA. His overall record at the school was 29-8, and in his first year, he led his team to the York-Adams League Title.

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Coach Bates on the sidelines during a home JV game – Photo Credit

Coach Bates, Coach Stephen Jeffrey, and Senior player Cole Baker all had lots to say about the upcoming season, and their thoughts on the coaching change at the top of the lacrosse program.

One thing is certain, everyone I spoke with were all very excited to see what Coach Bates will be able to bring to the table, especially the additions to the coaching staff that he was able to bring in — a new Face-off Coach, Luther Fleming, and a head JV coach, Omar Dupree. The new additions will bring out the best in the position that they will oversee. Cole Baker remarked, “face-offs are a big part of the game and in the past, we have not had a coach dedicated solely to the position. Our face-off specialist, Cole Trippet, will be able to get the attention he needs to do the best in his position.” One place where the team did not expand vastly was the defensive staff. Coming back to support the program is Coach Jeffrey.

Coach Stephen Jeffrey played lacrosse while a student at MSJ. He then attended Randolph Macon College and returned to MSJ to teach. He also began coaching football and lacrosse. He has been able to work with most of the coaches in the lacrosse program in recent years and has been able to work with Coach Bates personally.  He could only say positive things about him. “He’s a great coach and I’ve been with him for a few years and he has the coaching ability and the contacts to make it work at MSJ. He wants to be here and he loves it here and has what it takes. I know he’s excited, he knows what is expected, and it should be interesting.” With Coach Jeffrey coming back, the defense will be able to perform to the best possible outcome with the help of other coaches like Patrick Paine and Stephen Mersinger.

He’s a great coach and I’ve been with him for a few years and he has the coaching ability and the contacts to make it work at MSJ. He wants to be here and he loves it here and has what it takes. I know he’s excited, he knows what is expected, and it should be interesting. – Coach Steve Jeffrey on new head coach, Phillip Bates

The team is looking forward to the upcoming season, and one of the things that coach Bates brings to the table is his passion. He believes it is the thing that makes him a stand out coach from others. “It is what drives me, I am very passionate about the sport and as a high school player, the number one thing that my coach told me that I could do would be to give back to the game.”

Coaching is what Coach Bates lives for. He has been across the US coaching and playing the game he knows and loves. He a great addition in the coaching staff and the sky is the limit for him. Speaking with current players, it is obvious that Coach Bates cares about the entire organization, and the MSJ community is excited to see what he will be able to do in the spring of 2019.

Mount Saint Joseph Varsity Lacrosse Team Praying before the last game of the season Photo taken from Coach Berger’s twitter


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155DC124-040C-4FB6-8C3A-911F99D689C9Jake Schwarzmann is a senior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class. Follow Jake at @shazman_19 on Instagram

Returning a talented team, could 2019 be the year for the Golf Gaels?

Since winning the MIAA championship in 2012, the MSJ Varsity Golf Team has not come close to the top of the conference for a little over 5 years. Going on year number 6 without a championship, the 2018-2019 season could be the year where things turn around for the Gaels. Led by Head Coach Mike Dooley, there are a lot of returning players and new talent coming in, making the expectations pretty high for this upcoming season. This gave me an opportunity to dig deeper into the subject and find out how the team feels about this fast approaching season.

Head Coach Mike Dooley discussing the outcome of an early season match last season. After a hot start, the Varsity Golf Team failed to live up to preseason expectations.

The coaching staff look to be holding high hopes for the upcoming season, and sees the team “competing for one of the top spots in the league,” said assistant coach of the varsity team Ed Schultheis. Ryan Schmitz, a senior golfer on the team, seems to hold parallel expectations stating that, “With the returning players and the new talent coming in this year, the team is going to have a lot of opportunities to win a lot of matches this season.” If the players and coaches stay on the same page throughout the season and execute game plans during matches, it appears that the Gaels could potentially be putting “2019” on the MIAA championship banner in the Smith Center at the end of the season.

St. Joe Varsity number 1 golfer, Ryan Schmitz, will be expected to lead an improved and experienced squad this season.

With high expectations on the season comes high expectations for the players to perform. Coach Schultheis has high hopes for the play of all members of the team but none as high as the expectations of the “undisputed number 1” golfer on the St. Joe team, Ryan Schmitz.

The reason for having such expectations is because Ryan played at the number 1 spot last season going toe to toe with the best players in the MIAA and held his own. Being a leader as a junior last season has done nothing except prepare Ryan to lead his team as a senior this year and he seems ready for the challenge. Schmitz’s coming up from JV to a Varsity leader has been a long road with a lot of hard work. However, Ryan said his game really began to change when he joined Crofton Country Club. “Once I became a member at Crofton, this gave me an opportunity to work with a lot of Division I golfers and improve my game,” Schmitz said. Ryan expects nothing short of a successful season because of his hard work and experience at Crofton so far; and believes he will win a lot of his matches, hopefully leading the team to victory.

Even though the majority of the success is going to come from the players executing, a large part of the team’s success is going to be coming from the coaching aspect and how the coaches can put the players in a position to win. Ryan believes the way the coaches are going to be able to do is how the match lineups are handled, saying that “likely, the top two spots in the lineup are going to be a lock all season, so where the coaches can make a huge impact is how they handle the 3-6 spots in the lineup.” These 4 spots are a toss up between a lot of players, but Coach Schultheis says this is likely what is going to happen this year; “Ben Lindner, Ronak Patel, and Reese Tydings project as potential pairings in the top spot next to Schmitz, though there is always the chance someone else will surprise us and earn that second spot in the lineup.” If these three players can make an improvement in their play, it will drastically change the dynamic of the match slotting, for the good. 

For the players to improve, they will have to routinely work on the areas of their games that let them down in pressure situations. For many of the players, this happens in the short game.

Another way that the coaches can make a big impact is how they learn their players’ strengths and weaknesses and being able to help their players work on those weaknesses to round out the team’s performance. For Coach Dooley and Coach Schultheis, this means that there is always room for improvement and once as coaches, they identify the player’s weakness and show the player a way to fix it, “it is up to the player to put in the time and effort on the side to work at improving.” A big reason as to why it is a big deal to put in effort outside of the team events to improve is because of how the matches are scheduled. “The matches are so compacted in the schedule that it makes changes difficult in a short period of time,” said Coach Schultheis. Because these matches are so tightly scheduled, it is difficult to get out as a team and practice often. So, practicing outside of the team practices and putting in extra work is really going to help this team win a potential championship in 2019.

After graduating just one senior, the Varsity Golf Team returns a number of experienced MIAA players.

Getting out and practicing outside of team practices can only help and that is why it will be a key to success this season. However, there are multiple things that will need to fall into place for this team to win the conference. Coach Schultheis expresses, “We need someone to come back from the off-season and seriously have improved their play.” If any of these players, whether it be a returning player or an incoming freshman, can step up and improve their play drastically, there is no telling what this team is capable of. If everyone can play at a high level consistently, the lineup will improve from top to bottom which will help the team win a lot of matches.

Against some of the toughest players in the region, Ryan Schmitz held his own as the Varsity #1.

Overcoming a lot of adversity and challenging matches during the season is going to be a large part of success, says Coach Schultheis. With teams like Loyola and St. Paul’s always at the top of the league, there are going to be teams like Gilman and Calvert Hall who will be sneaky good teams to look out for. Also, do not count out Spalding or McDonogh with young teams looking to climb to the top of the conference. “Any of the teams really could make a run over the short MIAA season, but I think we can hold our own if we get the type of play Coach Dooley and I are expecting.” So, with all of these small keys to having a special season, it all revolves around the major goal of getting off to a hot start and staying hot throughout the season with everyone playing to their potential.

There have been multiple years of rebuilding for the Gaels in recent history and this could be the year where things change for the team. If everyone plays to their potential consistently, this year could be a special way to leave the program for the seniors and a great way to start or continue a varsity career for the underclassmen. Expectations are running high from both perspectives of the coaches and players and now only one question remains. Is an MIAA conference championship in store for the 2019 Golf Gaels? Only time will tell, but certainly, there is reason to be hopeful this season.

In a match against Calvert Hall, played at Eagle’s Nest Country Club, Ryan Schmitz found himself in a small stream on the 10th hole. That didn’t stop him from hitting up just off the green with his second shot.

D60A6C3F-10A2-4F33-B3EC-9DDFCF296545Mike Gourley is a senior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

New Coach Brings New Strategies To MSJ Baseball

Baseball at Mount St. Joe is an institution, with a long and storied history. Over the past few years, the record for the varsity squad has not been as good as expected, but things might be turning around this coming season. Last year, the varsity squad finished just shy of the playoffs, ending with a deceptively solid 11-16 record. Although they ended with this losing record, there were some very well played games, including their defeat of Spalding in a tight 3-2 contest. Coach Rod Cameron was the head coach of the baseball program until this season, having a very productive and successful run as an assistant coach, and also as head coach. While he may not have won a championship as a head coach, he set up a team with great players and strategies to get the job done correctly. The man that was chosen to follow Coach Cameron, Coach Phil Kraska, has been coaching at the Mount for 10 years, assisting the varsity team as well as previously serving as the head coach for the JV team. Before that, Kraska won an MIAA Championship as a player as part of the 2004 Varsity team.

Coach Kraska
Coach Phil Kraska, the new head coach for Mount Saint Joseph Baseball.

Coach Kraska has big plans for this season. He hopes to turn the program around and bring it back to its winning ways through rigorous offseason training and dedication. “We are doing a strength training program, trying to get our athletes stronger,” said Coach Kraska, “so that when we get to tryouts in February everyone is in shape and ready for the season.” Another issue that has plagued the Gaels are injuries, and this is something that Kraska hopes will be reduced, if not eliminated, through this offseason training.

Coach Kraska is very well-suited for the job as head coach, because he played for three fantastic coaches while attending the Mount. “I’ve played for Mr. Norton, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Cameron. They helped me while I was a player, and have helped me form my own coaching style,” he reminisced. All three of these coaches did great things at Mount Saint Joseph, and there is much to look forward to if Coach Kraska will be modeling his style from the experiences he had with his former coaches.

Matt McManus, the southpaw ace for the JV team, pitching in the semifinal game against Calvert Hall. The Mount would lose this game 10-9. Photo by Nick DeLauro ’20

Another positive for the team this year is the incoming talent. Many of the rising juniors hope to make a great difference to the team. One of the names to watch out for is Matt McManus, who was dominant on the mound last season for JV, even throwing a no-hitter against McDonogh. Another player that could drastically change the game is Michael Marsh, a clutch player at the plate who led the JV team in home runs last season. Many of the players returning to the varsity team, including Justin Looney and Connor Rudel, will be the driving force of the offense.

When asked if there were any schools in particular that he would be looking forward to facing, Coach Kraska said, “Everyone! People will have a picture of what we were last year in their minds. We are going to come out and take them by surprise.” This is another great insight into how this team will be playing this year. With a new coach and new talent, there is a definite excitement for the upcoming season.

There are many new elements in the baseball program this season, and they could turn out to be extremely beneficial. Although the team did not perform to their full potential last year, there is much room to grow and a whole lot to build off of. Coach Cameron left Coach Kraska in a very good place to start for next year. Coach Kraska, as well as the whole school, hopes all of the offseason work and preparation translates into success on the field when March rolls around.

Coach Kraska follows in the footsteps of his former MSJ Varsity Coach, Dave Norton, shown here with the team at Camden Yards. Photo Credit Brown Media

Ben McElroy is a Junior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

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.