Fall Sports Preview
September 6, 2019
As part of their first assignment, Intro to Journalism students are interviewing coaches of fall sports to find out what to expect. Since the first week of the 2019-2020 athletic calendar is in the books, teams are starting to gel and setting goals. Here’s a first look at what to expect from the Pirate Fall Sports teams in 2019.
Kicking Off the Season
This season, Coach Smith and his fellow coaches prepare for each game by watching their opponents’ previous games and determining what their strengths and weakness are. The coaches have to decide what they can do within their schemes to combat their best plan of attack.
Coach Smith said, “The things that come with playing football: off-season dedication. You have to get bigger, stronger, and faster to compete at a high level in football. You can’t just show up one day expect to be a top performer. There’s off-season football specific training, weight training, conditioning and practice sessions.”
Smith says he enjoys coaching because “I feel it’s a great way to help transition boys to men. It’s a great feeling to see someone transform from a young boy not quite knowing what is going on into a young man with a vision and plan for his future.” He also maintains that football is “a brotherhood” in which he gets to see “young people come together to achieve a common goal.”
The team has high hopes of being a state championship contender as they were two years ago.
Boys’ Cross Country Headed by New Coach
Mr. McClellan is a new teacher here at Pattonville, and is also the coach for boys’ cross country. Previously a teacher and Athletic Director at Hazelwood West High School, Mr. McClellan was born in St. Louis, and decided he wanted to be a coach for cross country when, on his first year of high school, ran cross country himself.
When I asked him what the most rewarding part about being a coach was, He says that the most rewarding part of being a coach is “just seeing how kids improve throughout the year. You can see them get better as the year goes on, and being able to see them work so hard towards a goal and then finally watch them get there.”
His goals this year include assessing where the runners are, making sure we improve throughout the year, building interest to get new runners, and to help current runners improve.
Racing Towards the Fall Sports Season
This season the Girls’ Cross Country Team is looking forward to building on the success of last year as they are returning a lot of their young talent. The team also welcomes a new assistant coach, Katie Gengler. The team will be led by Junior and State Qualifier Lucy Ndung’u as well as Sophomore Keilah Wilkes. The main goal for the team this year is to to make sure everybody improves as a cross country runner – being faster and strong. As a team they would like to qualify for Sectionals again this year, and they hope to see at least three girls make it to State.
For any incoming freshmen hoping to join the team, Coach Kyle Hall says, “our sport makes sure you are always involved, everyone gets ‘playing time.'”
The team also has a ritual where every night before a meet they have a team dinner. Hall states, “It allows them to make sure we are getting proper nutrition as well as just enjoy hanging out with one another. Traditions like this is why cross country runners are a tight knit group.”
Mr. Hall is particularly excited about this season because he enjoys “watching the girls take so much pride in their accomplishments and sharing joy with the athletes after finishing some extremely tough courses.” He also likes to coach with his wife, a French teacher, Mrs. Hall.
Swinging for the Fences
So far, the Varsity Softball Team is off to a winning season, and they hope to keep it that way. After a bit of a slow start, the team has gained momentum, and, at the time of publication, had won their last six games.
In terms of team leaders, Maddie Bailey has the most hits with 5 and the most doubles with 2. Allison Schrumpf is hitting the most home runs, with 2, and the most RBIs, with 8. Madison Leckrone has crossed the plate four times, the most often of the players on the team.
The pitching staff of Maria Madden, Allison Schrumpf, and Isabelle Usry hope to combine to get the Pirates as far past Districts as possible.
Varsity Field Hockey- Officer Mooney Interview
Pattonville’s Girls’ Field Hockey team is coached by Officer Mooney. This may seem like a strange match, but the resource officer started coaching as a way to connect with students in a new way. He wants to watch and help the girls succeed in not just a game, but life.
Mooney’s daughter played field hockey, and it helped his family a lot so he wants to continue that with a new set of girls. Mooney thinks this season is going to help improve the girls’ skills, as well as give the team a chance to rebuild and grow stronger. He wants the team to take this year to improve and hopefully win as many games as possible.
Starting Goals of Boys’ Soccer
This is going to be Mr. Christian’s sixth year coaching boys’ soccer at Pattonville High School, and he says he sticks with this sport because he grew up playing. Mr. Christian believes that succeeding in soccer “requires years of refinement” and encourages people to start playing soccer when they are young.
The team sets goals to reach districts each year, and the coaching staff works towards getting them ready for the big moment at the end of the season. To practice for season games, they contact other coaches to see what they know about the other team, and during districts they watch the opposing teams in person and then come up with a plan.
The season is underway, and while the team has lost to Mehlville, they have defeated Timberland, so they are right at .500 so far.
Stunts and Spirit: Cheerleading
Ms. Hunt is the varsity cheerleading coach and she avows that she loves it. She was a cheerleader for all four years of high school and was an Allstate NCA cheerleader, bringing her total with the sport to 12 years.
She explains that her favorite thing about coaching the team is attending the football games and spending time with the girls. Any kind of competition stunt or sponge toss is Ms. Hunt’s favorite stunt to do when it comes to performing.
Although there are many perks and highlights while coaching the cheer team, Ms. Hunt admits her pet peeve is when the girls talk too much, but acknowledges it is typically not an issue. Ms. Hunt explains that loves coaching the PHS cheerleading team because she is passionate about it and projects her love for the sport onto the girls.
In addition to cheering for sports, the team will also compete with other squads throughout the year.
Diving into Fall Sports
The Boys’ Swimming and Diving team is excited for the season. Anna Braswell, the coach of the Boys’ Swimming team for the past 13 years, wanted to become a coach because “swimming has always been my passion and I wanted to help others to be successful in their swimming journeys.”
The team prepares for competitions by doing distance and sprint workouts and focusing on turns and starts. Ms. Braswell states, “My most successful team was in 2016. We had a large, hard-working team that was full of talent and depth. They supported and pushed each other.”
The team started off strong, with two swimmers earning qualifying times for state within the first few weeks. Philip Tso and Chaska Cox-Potter distinguished themselves in the 100m fly and the 100m breaststroke. The coach is hopeful that this is only the beginning of their successes.
Returning to the team this year include state qualifiers Chaska Cox Potter, Kyle Hubbs, Wyatt Martin, Nathan Moser, Chris Tobar, and Philip Tso.
Coach Mr Kyle Walsh believes that his best strength is his ability to relate and communicate with his athletes. He also thinks, “When a coach shows that they care about the person and not just the athlete, you see the best response.”
His main goal as a coach is to use volleyball as a way of preparing young men and women to be mature, contributing members of society. He wants the members of the volleyball program to hold themselves to very high standards, and he likes to think that it gets kids ready for the real world after high school.
As far as his long term goals, Mr. Walsh would like to stay at Pattonville as long as he can. He states that he owes a lot to the school as a former student and now coach. It has given him the greatest opportunity of his life, and he works hard to pay them back every year.
Volleyball was always very fun for Mr.Walsh, and he fell in love with coaching it almost 10 years ago. He finds it much more of a hobby than a career, because he claims being on the court it doesn’t feel like work.
During volleyball season, they expect a lot out of the athletes. Performance in the classroom is more important that on the court, and if players are unable to maintain a set GPA, they are not eligible to play.
Finally, Mr. Walsh tries to learn from his mistakes and look for as much feedback as he can get while reflecting on his end of the season. “Learning new strategies on teaching young adults is also very helpful.”
On the Field: Marching Band/Color Guard Prep for FNL
It’s that time of the year again: all the fall sports are starting up again and kicking off the year. Even though sports are usually considered the main attraction, there is one activity that accompanies every football game under the Friday Night Lights: marching band/guard. The band and guard work relentlessly to hype the whole school. They pour their heart and soul into every game to promote school spirit.
Band and guard began practicing during the summer with band camp, since then, they’ve been working hard on their routines and performances for the homecoming game. They are led by a new director, Ms. Livesay.
Serving Up Another Season for Girls’ Tennis
Ms. McDaniel is the girls’ tennis coach (and an English teacher) here at Pattonville High School. This is her seventh season coaching the team. Before that, she gave tennis lessons and worked in tennis camps.
Ms. McDaniel’s coaching style involves thinking positive and encouraging her team to their best. She wants her players to feel at home on the tennis courts.
Growing up sports were a big interest in Ms. McDaniel’s life. She was a student athlete and played soccer in high school. She enjoys watching hockey and pretty much loves watching all sports, too.
Ms.McDaniel explains that she “loves seeing the different side of her students, a side she might not see in class verses on the courts.” As for the girls on the team, she loves getting to know them and teaching them something new.
Ms. McDaniel hopes to “foster a love for tennis that will last beyond this season, and throughout the girls’ high school years.”
The Girls’ Golf season is underway, with all eyes on Momo Kikuchi, a senior who could make her fourth trip to State this year. Kikuchi already tops both leader boards for golf in STL Today‘s coverage of high school sports in the Metro area, earning the lowest score in both 18 hole and 9 hole games.
While the golf team may be small, freshman Caitlyn Dermody, sophomores Kaitlyn Musslewhite and Sarah Murphy, and senior Haley Swift hope to put Pattonville’s program on the map.
The team is led by Mr. David Gross, who is assisted by Mr. Scott Hutson.
Making the Cut: Drill Team
The PHS Drill Team is the school dance team. The JV coach, Ms. Riggs has been leading her team for going on six years. Discussing this year’s tryouts, Ms. Riggs said, “We get a wide variety of talent. Every now and then we run into people who try out and just exceed expectations.”
For Ms. Riggs, the coaching staff wants “students who are willing to put in the work it takes to compete on a competitive dance team.” She explained, “That typically includes 4-5 practices a week, technique class once a week, along with performances for football, soccer, and basketball throughout the year.”
Both Varsity and JV are going to the Lindbergh Invitational and the Fort Zumwalt North Invitational. Varsity also goes to the National Competition every year.