Tag Archives: 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.

Talking about practice at Mount St. Joe

Cross-country member Charlie Butler running in the McQuaid Invitational.

The Mount Saint Joe community takes pride in the athletic teams. Massive investments are made to ensure that athletes are the best they can be, giving them a higher chance of winning tournaments and games. But while MSJ loves to give attention and plenty of details to the matches and competitions, practices are only mentioned as a footnote.

You really don’t know what practices for some of these sports are like unless you are on that respective sports team. So what should a new student, or someone who wants to be involved in athletics, expect from some of these practices?

To get insight into what some of these practices are like, I attempted to contact some of the coaches for these sports teams. I contacted Mr. Jack Peach of the cross country team and Mr. Sam Bianco of the volleyball team. Some questions I asked included how long practices last, what exercises take place, and where these practices are held.

Cross country competing in a match from last year.

The first person I reached out to was Mr. Peach, the coach of the cross country team. The majority of the athletes’ workouts include a whole lot of running. Mr. Peach said, “The athlete’s workouts vary between running hills, doing track workouts, or just running long runs.” Practices usually last for around 2-3 hours, and usually take place on Campus. However, Sometimes the team runs at Patapsco or Centennial Park.

The cross country team is usually expected to run 5-7 miles per practice. However, Mr. Peach says, “Newer runners may only run about 4-5 miles.” The expectation for the athletes is to run every day; however, rest days are worked into the schedule.

Volleyball team preparing for a match

The second person I interviewed was Mr. Bianco, the volleyball team’s coach. Most workouts include plyometrics, a type of exercise that uses speed and force to build muscle power. Mr. Bianco says, “Practices usually focus on explosive movements. I like to combine skill work with conditioning.”

Practices take place in the Smith Center and occur 6 days a week. The time that practices last depends on whether it is pre-season or not. During pre-season, practices last for 3 hours, while during the season, practices last for only 2 hours.

According to Mr. Bianco, practices consist of a warm-up, 2 three man drills, serving and passing drills, and 3-6 additional drills. Mr. Bianco states, “There are around 8-10 exercises per practice.” However, he added that breaks are worked into the schedule.

The volleyball team competing in a big match

Hopefully, this article will shed light on a typical practice for MSJ sports. Though they seem very different, the structure is similar. This information may encourage someone new to this school to try some of the athletic programs, and to know what to expect when they show up for workouts.

Aidan Bajadek is a junior member of the multimedia journalism class.

Getting an edge: How athletes prepare for their sports

How do different sports athletes’ routines compare with each other that help them perform to their best ability? Sports vary in different ways, like time, strength, and endurance. For example, soccer, baseball, and track and field long jump are three different sports. Soccer requires a lot of endurance because of constant running, baseball requires short bursts of energy and a quick reaction time, and track and field’s long jump involves a combination of strength and endurance. With research, I dug a little deeper into these sports.

Joe Young dribbles the ball around the opponent. Photo Credit: Stacy Young

Many know that a lot of running is involved with soccer. Players have to train for endurance, and it requires good leg muscles and an excellent heart to pump blood around the body: “I usually run and lift to get in shape for soccer. The most important [thing] is just continuing to practice,” Joe Young, class of 2025, stated. Young says that lifting for reps and running daily helps him through his JV soccer season at MSJ.

Drew Rybinski ’25 in a baseball game. Photo Credit: Perfect Game Staff

In comparison to soccer, baseball consists of fast, quick reactions and power. To generate this power, Drew Rybinski of the class of 2025 explains how he trains for power: “Most days, about 5 days a week, I try to lift weights because baseball is about strength and less about endurance, so [there is] not as much running but more about deadlifting heavy for quick, explosive movements.” Drew also practices his catching and hitting skills daily for an hour to prepare for a game.

A sport that people may not be as familiar with is the long jump event in track and field. To understand more about this sport, I asked class of 2023 Thomas Johnson III to explain his routine to prepare for a long jump event. “For long jump, I mostly just stretch then head over to the pit, where I do whatever drill my coach tells me to do,” Johnson said. “After practice most days, I go into the weight room and lift for reps.” Johnson also talked about how long jumping involves more strength than endurance because, “you want to run fast, jump high, and go as far as you can.” Comparing all three in the training aspect of the sport, the long jump, and soccer require lifting for reps, while baseball consists more of heavy, explosive lifting. All three sports require consistent days of training to get in the best shape.

Thomas Johnson III ’23 in a long jump event. Photo Credit: Caleb Turner

Aside from daily routines, athletes must watch what they eat to do their best in a game. Coincidentally, Joe Young, Drew Rybinski, and Thomas Johnson III have similar pre-game foods. Joe Young stated, “I usually don’t eat much before a game. I like to make sure I feel good, and my stomach sits right, so usually, I eat a protein bar.” Like Young, Rybinski does not eat breakfast but drinks a caffeinated energy drink right before a game. To combine Young and Rybinski’s pre-game snack, Johnson “eat[s] a protein bar and a protein shake with caffeine.” As you can see, these different sports have a similarity in pre-game meals, so any athlete can do their best.

Wrapping everything up, while many think that completely different sports require different training, most routines of any athlete are alike. For example, soccer and the long jump require lifting for reps, but baseball also is similar to the long jump because they are both strength sports rather than endurance sports. Comparing the foods, the three athletes, Joe Young, Drew Rybinski, and Thomas Johnson III, all eat minimal food before a game. Choosing and applying similar routines from all athletes can create a great all-around athlete.

Collin Park is a sophomore member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

In the paint: A look inside the world of athletic recruitment

We all know that when high-level student-athletes get recruited, it can be a stressful and demanding process. Fortunately, two of my friends on the varsity basketball team at Mount St. Joseph High School went through the arduous recruiting process this past summer. In July, senior guard Ace Valentine announced he was committing to UMBC after receiving offers from Loyola (MD), Saint Peters, and the Naval Academy, among others. Meanwhile, at the end of August, senior forward Amani Hansberry announced his commitment to the University of Illinois after a very long process, including an incredible summer playing for Team Durant in the Peach Jam Tournament in Georgia. I talked with both of them to get a real perspective on what it’s like to go through such a challenging and demanding process.

Amani Hansberry being introduced ahead of the MIAA A Conference Championship Game between Mount St. Joseph and Mount Carmel on February 27, 2022, at Harford Community College. He announced his commitment to Illinois in August. Photo Credit: Joey O’Dwyer

Before his big summer playing in the Peach Jam, Hansberry told me his recruitment process was “very heavy,” and then it slowed down a bit. “When my last AAU season started, it kinda picked up a lot,” he said about his status before his last tournament at the AAU level. During the Peach Jam, he received offers from Auburn, Virginia Tech, and Oregon. Out of those schools, only Auburn made his Top 5. “It felt good not having to worry about anything,” he said. “Definitely very blessed, and all the hard work paid off.” When I asked him about what he’s looking forward to about his senior year, he kept it simple, “Just winning. I’m trying to hang two more banners up [MIAA & BCL].”

Ace Valentine kept it real. When he was at the DMV Live Tournament at DeMatha High School in June, he didn’t have any offers. But once the tournament finished, he had eight offers, one of which was from UMBC. “The coaching staff showed me the most love, and I feel like I can thrive there,” he said about his commitment. “I feel like I can step in and play right away.” This season the St. Joe basketball team is playing in high-level tournaments like the ‘Iolani Prep Classic in Hawaii before Christmas and the Hoophall Challenge in Springfield, Massachusetts, in January. Valentine told me that’s what he’s looking forward to the most about his senior season. “Playing a national schedule, that’s what I really want,” he said.

Ace Valentine in a game against Archbishop Spalding last season. He announced he was committing to UMBC this summer. Photo Credit: Jason Kush

For athletes at St. Joe who are attracting interest from schools, I would say to make a decision that you feel is right for you. Make a decision not based on the school but on the fit and how you feel you would do there. Prioritize making every day better than the last. Hansberry said that you need to “stack good days.”

Amani and Ace aren’t the only talented players that Mount St. Joseph basketball head coach Pat Clatchey has sent to the next level. Two notable players were Jalen Smith and Darryl Morsell, who both committed to the University of Maryland one year after each other. Jaylen Adams committed to St. Bonaventure ahead of the 2014-15 season, and Phil Booth committed to Villanova before the 2014-15 season as well. Smith currently plays for the Indiana Pacers, and Morsell received an Exhibit 10 deal with the Utah Jazz. He will join them for training camp and primarily play with their G League Affiliate, the Salt Lake City stars.

Amani Hansberry, Ace Valentine, and Austin Abrams speak after last year’s BCL Championship.

I asked Coach Clatchey how difficult it really is for them to actually make that decision to shape their future. “Many factors go into that decision,” he said. “Education, level of play, opportunity to play, and how far it is from home.” He also mentioned how important it is for schools to have a good reputation for player development in terms of putting players in the pros. He called it “the biggest and most important decision they’ve had to make.”

I hope this article helps St. Joe students understand what this process is like for basketball players like Amani Hansberry and Ace Valentine. Hopefully, if you get recruited, you will pick a place that suits you and has the same goals and ambitions as you do.

Harry Kennedy is a senior 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.

What’s in store for the Orioles this offseason?

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The MLB Playoffs are in full effect, but the Orioles are not involved. The Orioles surprised many this year, going from an abysmal 52-110 record in 2021, to 83-79 in 2022. General Manager Mike Elias has the team going down the rebuilding route, but they seem ahead of schedule. Many top prospects have been called up, such as SS Gunnar Henderson and C Adley Rutschman. The rookies have become an essential part of the lineup, and a huge reason why the O’s have had recent success. The front office made some sneaky good pickups last offseason, like SS Jorge Mateo and SP Jordan Lyles. Both players were snagged on cheap deals and have been very productive down the stretch.

The O’s came alive during a 10-game winning streak in July, and have been consistently winning since. Unfortunately, the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Rays also kept winning, which made the playoff race challenging. Making the playoffs would have been nice, but finishing with a winning record is a huge success. Elias has said he wants to spend in the offseason, but who could he pick up? There are some big names on the market, like Dodgers speedster Trea Turner and Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, but they will likely head elsewhere. The O’s have never been a big spending team, but I expect them to make small additions to improve the team.

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The main focus should be a backup catcher. Starter Adley Rutschman can’t catch every day, and his backup Robinson Chirinos is 38 and on the verge of retirement. Current Rangers catcher Kevin Plawecki would be great for the role. Plawecki provides solid defense, as well as an average bat. The O’s have not had a serviceable backup catcher since Caleb Joseph, who left the team in 2018. Having a backup catcher would be crucial to winning games when Adley needs rest.

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The next concern has to be pitching. Top prospect Grayson Rodriguez is expected to be added to a rotation that overachieved this season. Rodriguez seems to be the long-term ace, but they need an ace now. Dean Kremer and Tyler Wells had solid seasons, but they weren’t consistent. 2022 ace Jordan Lyles will enter free agency and is not expected to return to the team. The pitcher market features some big names, like 3x Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, and Giants All-Star Carlos Rodón. Those two aren’t impossible to acquire, but it will be tough. My choice among the many solid pitchers in free agency would be Michael Wacha of the Red Sox. Wacha has a decent ERA at 3.06, and has been reliable this year, pitching 123.1 innings. Sure, it’s not a flashy signing, but it will get the job done.

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It all depends on what Elias wants to do. He could spend big, or stay conservative. Prospects are what this organization is centered around, not free agents or veterans. The O’s are infamous for trading away big players for prospects yearly. These risky trades often don’t work out, but they have before. So let’s say the Orioles have one of these in the offseason. Who gets traded? The answer should be Austin Hays. While Hays is a great fielder and hitter, the O’s outfield is overloaded, and Hays has been slumping. A new change of scenery would be great for his career. OF Colton Cowser will likely take his spot anyway. It just doesn’t make sense to have a player like Hays on the bench. Hopefully, the front office makes decent decisions that can improve the team, and not hurt it like in past years.

Daniel Hurson is a freshman contributor for The Quill. This is his first published piece.