Tag Archives: Winter Sports

Ice Gaels have their sights set on a championship run

When people our age think of MSJ sports, it’s most often football or basketball. Many people forget that the ice hockey team won 9 straight MIAA championships from ‘99-’07 and another in 2011. Yet everyone knows about that win in 2017 against Calvert Hall that went to overtime, resulting in another MSJ championship. Most people who understand the legacy that St. Joe hockey has, see it as one of the most underrated sports here because of how competitive the team has been for a while.

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Class of 2018, Noah Blonder, saluting the fans after a playoff goal against Calvert Hall. (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

In an interview with Michael Garvin, senior Tier I ice hockey player, he was asked certain questions to further explain and show why MSJ ice hockey is so important to the people who care about it and to exploit the hype around the team this upcoming year.

High expectations can easily get the best of you and put your confidence through the roof. Usually you do not play as hard as you would when you’re the underdog. You have to push to win and last year the Ice Gaels had too much confidence. An overwhelming, and self-defeating confidence. But this year, the men in purple are ready for battle and have been looking forward to this for quite some time. Coming up short in the MIAA finals really took the spirit out of the team for a bit. That seems to be the way it is for a couple of players but now it’s back and they are more ready then ever. The magic is hopefully back at the Mount and it is ring season for the ice Gaels, once again says Michael Garvin. “There’s definitely some motivation… we’re gonna be going for it this year.” Michael Garvin declared.

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Getting ready to take on Spalding – The calm before the storm (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

Tryouts for the team just concluded and the new recruits are looking strong. They seem to know how much this means to the upperclassmen and they’re willing to give it whatever they can. With a strong, deep offense, powerful and skilled defensive core, and great goaltending from Connor Churko, senior goalie, the Gaels are looking stronger than ever. The team just won its opener against Marriotts Ridge on Monday night, 5-2. Opening the scoring, for the Gaels, was Sophomore forward, Jorrdan Osafo, on the penalty kill. A few minutes after Senior forward, Frankie Gregorini, came out of the penalty box, after a 5 minute major for a monster hit, and scored 10 seconds after the penalty expired giving the Gaels a 2-1 lead late in the second period. Senior Connor Churko went 16-18 saving shots on goal to seal the win.

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Senior goalie, Connor Churko, stopping a shot against Gonzaga (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

The one major thing that the Gaels can pride themselves on is their top of the line student section. They bring the life every time they come. However, not as many students show up for ice hockey like they do for some of St. Joe’s other sports. The Ice Gaels have plenty of big games and the more people that come, the more intensity the guys play with. Ethan Hall, the team manager from last year, said “Some games can be mellow but the big games are why I love the sport so much more than just the game.” He continued to talk about his experience. “All the students are involved and rally behind each other (with) every check and every chance on the ice.”

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Michael Garvin carrying the puck up the ice (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

Off the ice, the guys are hard at work during school hours. There are a number of guys with GPA’s above a 4.0 such as Michael Garvin, Connor Flynn, and starting goalie, Connor Churko. When asked about balancing a hard work schedule and a hefty hockey schedule, Garvin simply said, “It’s not fun, but it has to be done.” They know what it takes to be a true student-athlete. The demands of a long season are something that every player on the team feels.

Looking forward to the season, the team knows that they can play a great game and they are expected to do well. More support and attendance from the student body is what they are in desperate need of. With some wins and some publicity, the team is hoping the fans come out in droves as the season progresses. Anything less than an MIAA championship this year will be a letdown for all the people involved.

8D5A6D96-4B91-4C8F-B277-9E790B5CAC3AFrank Gregorini is a senior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

 

“Taking the Long View” Coach Pat Clatchey’s Impact on MSJ Basketball

Before Pat Clatchey took over as head basketball coach at Mount St. Joseph High School, the Gaels had never won a Baltimore Catholic League Championship. Since Clatchey’s tenure began in 1992, Saint Joe has been a consistent threat in both the competitive BCL and MIAA leagues. They’ve won 20 league or tournament championships, and have remained the team to beat year in and year out.

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(Left to Right) Kam Williams ’13, Phil Booth ’14, Coach Clatchey, and Phil Lawrence ’12 Photo Credit: Varsity Sports Network

Before the Clatchey era MSJ’s basketball program was far from its current state. Clatchey saw them as “respectable”. They were a team that struggled to find consistent success, and this led to a 32 year BCL championship drought. According to Clatchey, when he arrived as the new coach he says they were “stuck in quicksand”. As a new coach, he says “I had to change things, and put things in place that I wanted to accomplish.” He wanted to change the mentality from mediocrity to excellence.

One of his biggest goals was to do a better job of recruiting players. The first player he ever recruited was a 6’7’’ 8th grader named Danny Whye. The eighth grader had never played basketball before, but Clatchey was able to mold him into a league powerhouse. Clatchey says, “He was kinda like the pioneer, he was the first guy to buy in and believe. He was a great example of what we were able to accomplish while he was here.” Whye became an all league player, and went on to play Division 1 basketball in college. His story of success hinted at the potential of the program for the future.

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Coach Pat Clatchey is entering his 25th season at St. Joe. Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

Another key turning point came with the arrival of power forward Will Thomas. “In terms of championships he took our program to another level,” Clatchey says. In Thomas’s junior and senior seasons, the Gaels won back-to-back championships. And the highly-decorated forward became the program’s first BCL Player of the Year. In college, Thomas led George Mason on their famous 2006 run to the Final Four.

With players like Danny Whye, Will Thomas and numerous others, the basketball program skyrocketed to the top. The Gaels went from a 32 year championship drought to being a favorite every year. Since 2003 the team has won 20 league or tournament championships. Clatchey says “we are the common denominator when it comes to competing for championships.” They’ve created a level of consistency that is matched by few others. The Gaels developed what Clatchey calls, “a system and style of play that is conducive to winning and competing for championships.”

Over 40 of Clatchey’s players have competed at the Division 1 level.

Although winning championships may have been new to the Gaels, it was not to Clatchey. Originally the Freshmen team coach, he was very successful. He coached for only four years, but during that time his team won the league title each year. Further along in his career he worked as an assistant coach for UMBC, as well as an NBA scout for both the Lakers and the Washington Bullets. When he returned to MSJ, he brought a new winning attitude and perspective of the game, that helped him turn around the program.

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Will Thomas ’04 playing for George Mason University Photo Credit: Getty Images

Clatchey has seen his players and himself receive many awards over the years. What stands out the most to him has been “being able to see so many guys get college scholarships and go to school for free at some tremendous universities.” Over 40 of Clatchey’s players have competed at the Division 1 level. Most recently, Phil Booth (MSJ ‘14) helped Villanova win the 2016 NCAA championship. In the tournament final, Booth led all Wildcat Scorers with 20 points. Booth is a prime example of the legacy and reputation that Clatchey has created. He has left a mark not only at the local level in Baltimore, but also nationally through players who have gone on to succeed both in college and professionally.

Clatchey is hoping for yet another successful season this year. After finishing first in the MIAA last year with a 33-6 record, MSJ looks to return to the top. With a good nucleus of returning players such as forward Jalen Smith and combo-guard Darryl Morsell (UMD ’21 commit), as well as new pieces to surround them, the Gaels will be one of the biggest contenders for a championship.

Submitted by Thomas Hill ’17.