Solvers of last week’s puzzle (in order):
1. David Hla
2. Katie Ambrose
3. Ashley Fujiyama
4. Mr. Rick DuPuy
Answer to and commentary on Puzzle #6:
Classification: Easy. While there were several ways to solve this problem, I like to view it as a simple accounting error. All in all, net payments must equal net receipts. Jerome et al. pay 15 seeds, with a 3 seed rebate. Hence, net payments are 12 seeds. The store vault receives 10 seeds (15 seed payment minus the intended 5 seed rebate). Basil, an employee of the store, receives 2 seeds. Net payments are therefore equal to net receipts, and there is no missing seed. Basil’s error was in double-counting two of the seeds; in adding 12 to 2, he neglects the fact that the 12 seed payment already includes the 2 seeds pilfered by Basil.
NM (email redacted)
by Hailey Kim '19
On Wednesday, October 31, future Head of School Elizabeth English announced that she would no longer be coming to NCS next fall.
NCS held a nationwide search for our future Head, which started in January after Ms. Jamieson, our current Head, announced that she would be departing NCS after the 2018-2019 school year. NCS even put together a Search Committee comprised of faculty and alumni to search for our new head. With over ten possible candidates, four were invited back for more interviews and the Committee was consistently impressed with Ms. English’s vision for NCS. On August 27, Alice Hill ‘74, Chair of the Governing Board announced that Ms. English would be our new Head of School starting in 2019-2020 school year.
Ms. English undoubtedly has an impressive track record. She has been the Head of School at the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, California for ten years. She is a advocate for girls education and focuses on building a healthy school environment. At the Archer School, she integrated STEM more broadly into the classroom, established university research partnerships, and strengthened Archer’s dance and athletics programs.
When Ms. English came to NCS early this fall for one of our Upper School Assemblies, she was receptive to NCS student’s questions and welcomed into our community. This assembly time was a chance for us to get to know our future head more, as well as allow her to share her vision with us for the future of NCS. Unfortunately her time was limited and many students were unable to ask her their questions.
Of course, Ms. English’s announcement came to a shock to many. In the email sent to the entire school and parents, Hill ‘74 states “Elizabeth English was appointed to the position in August, but she has concluded, after extensive reflection, that this is not the right time for her and her family to make this move. We wish her well in her future endeavors.” The Search Committee has likely restarted their process. While it is clear that the Committee would like to find a new Head to start next year, they have made it clear that they do not want to rush this process and would consider an Interim Head in order to find the right Head of School for us.
Ms. English’s departure now allows the Search Committee to take a step back and examine who should really be our head. While there are many questions up in the air as to more reasons why Ms. English did not decide to pursue her career at NCS, us, as a student body should thank our Search Committee and support whatever decision they may make for the upcoming school year.
As fall sports wrap up, here are some highlights of the NCS season:
Cathedral Field Hockey
by Lily Moore ‘21
Cathedral Varsity Field Hockey is more like a family than a sports team, especially in this 2018 season. The group of 12 seniors really welcomed me as a sophomore and the other underclassman onto the team and were always quick to include us in everything they did. I’ve heard from some other people who aren’t on the team that say that NCS VFH is close, and it’s so true. I know if I need a hug or advice or even a ride home or a place to stay for the night all of them would talk to me, offer me a bed, or give me a much-needed hug after a test.
The other amazing thing about this team is that everyone can forget what happens up the hill and can come to practice with a clear head, thinking only about field hockey. My teammates give everything they have all the time, and we know when to laugh and have fun together, and when to bear down and work hard together as a team.
I think the highlight of the season was playing Saint Stephen’s and Saint Agnes School in the ISL semifinals. As an undefeated team, the Saints were favored to win, and we even played on their turf. We were able to keep the game at 0-0 for the first 55 minutes, and with 6 and a half minutes left, Skylar Lach ‘22 drew a corner. That, combined with a beautiful shot from the top of the circle by Fiona Heaps ‘19 caused a goal. We bore down for the remaining 6 minutes and shut them out, moving us to the final game. It was emotional for the coaches and the team, this being the first time in over 24 years that NCS had upset Saint Stephen’s in field hockey, and the first time the Saints had been upset this season. We spent the weekend together, and although fell one goal short of the ISL banner, we played as a team and showed such improvement as the season progressed.
I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of the 2018 Cathedral Varsity Field Hockey team and know that every single team member contributed in numerous ways, many leaving their mark on Cathedral field hockey forever. We all, I feel, MADE IT COUNT.
by Sydney Barta ‘22
The Cathedral Varsity Volleyball team enjoyed a very successful season, which included a five-game winning streak and a berth in the semifinals of the ISL tournament. The Eagles team included a strong core of five returning players from their 2017 campaign and five new players, including three Freshman. Even with all the new faces, the team gelled quickly and ran on a fantastic mix of talent, skill, effort, and heart.
Our season began slow with losses to GDS and SSSAS. Over the next five games, we went undefeated as we rolled over Visi, Glenleg, Palotti, Bullis, and WIS. The last third of the season saw a downturn as the team suffered losses to Sidwell, Maret, Holton, and Madeira, while managing to post victories over St. Andrews, Potomac. Locked in a three-way tie for second going in to the tournament, Cathedral drew the short lot and was seeded as fourth. Our team showed our teamwork and dominance as they quickly dispatched St. Andrews, which poised them for a rematch of last year’s final round against Holton. While the Eagles managed kills, kept our serves in play, and played team volleyball, Holton pulled ahead and took the match.
The team is excited for next year and will miss the inspired play from Jamie Wang, the lone senior.
by Mary Rose Bell ‘20
Cathedral Varsity Soccer had high hopes for this season. With stellar senior leadership and some new players, we were excited to start practicing and bonding as a team. Unlike past years where we set quantifiable goals for the season, this year CVS decided to focus on playing cohesively and aggressively. We wanted to bond as a team and create a supportive and fun environment. With this in mind, we created the theme UNITED for the 2018 season. Although we did not have the best record, this theme was consistent throughout each game and practice.
We had some very close matches this year, especially against Visitation and PVI. Despite losing both games, we played hard and combined well against two very aggressive teams. Some exciting games this year also included a 3-0 shutout against Episcopal and a 5-1 win against Bullis (on their senior night!). As for ISLs, we sadly lost in the first round to GDS 2-1. Although this soccer season ended earlier than we had hoped, we are proud of the effort we put in and we are ready for CVS 2019!
A quick shout out to our 1E9ENDARY seniors: Lilly Keller, Amanda deCastro, Sophie Searby, Nina Miller, Judy Ahn, and Hallie Toren. Thank you for an incredible season. We will miss you!
by Kate Nuechterlein ‘20
Cathedral Varsity Tennis (CVT, if you will) endured a rollercoaster of a season this year, from playing points out on basketball courts to filming footage after footage for various hype videos. Early on in the season, extremely hot weather prohibited the team from practicing on the normal St. Albans courts, so the girls made use of the Athletic Center’s 3 court gym to keep practicing important skills (i.e. The Grind Never Stops). This relatively unideal situation continued when monsoon season arrived for much longer than expected, and the team continued to play inside on the well-suited hardwood floors. However, this did not stop the team from attacking their first three matches with a voracious energy, establishing a 3-0 record. It wasn’t until injuries took both the #1 and #2 singles players out for the season that the positivity began to waver; could they really keep going “ALL DAY” as the cheer they shouted before each match described? Of course, they could. They didn’t win the hype video competition for no reason. When asked what motivated her through a tough match, one player asserted, “I do it for the fans. Thank you, Morgan’s mom, for the snacks.” Although they lost some tough battles to very talented teams, the girls played with heart and ferocity to finish out the season with a winning record. #rolleags #g6 #EricG
As fall sports wrap up, here are some highlights of the STA season:
Saint Albans Soccer
by Chase Daneker ‘19
After a heartbreaking loss in the DCSAA final at the end of the 2017 season, the Bulldogs looked to 2018, hopeful and confident that they could reclaim DC and the IAC. The team performed well during the preseason but encountered some bumps in the road during early non-conference play. Losses to St. Johns and Dematha marked the low of the season, but the Bulldogs would be quick to bounce back. A 1-0 win over Episcopal was the first of three straight wins to start IAC play. The hot streak came to an end when the Bulldogs conceded on a set piece and throw in at Prep, losing 2-0. This would be the last time the team allowed a goal to an IAC opponent: in the eight games that followed, they would win seven and tie one, outscoring opponents by sixteen. That streak continued through the IAC Championship game, in which the Bulldogs defeated Prep 2-0. They now look to continue their recent success and redeem their loss from last season in the DCSAA Tournament, which begins on Monday, at home, versus Sidwell.
Saint Albans Cross Country
by Jonathan Merril ‘19
With the loss of many senior leaders, the cross-country Dogs and Eagles were unsure as to whether this season could bring the same success in excellent results and team chemistry as past years. Both of these goals were reached. Upperclassmen took charge and fueled this remarkable season. Each meet prepares the runners to strive in the league championships, and strive they did. For the first time in history, two Close sophomores won their races. Sophia Hanway led NCS to a second place finish, while Damian Hackett led St. Albans to a first place team result. In the girls’ race, Sophia Charles, Maya Aguirre, Maya Thumpasery, Lauren Ives, Isabella Houle, and Campbell Musslewhite each fought for highly contested spots to yield great results in tough conditions. For the boys, Jack Tongour, Jonathan Merril, and Jack Kelly defeated the former IAC champion for the all-league team, while Ben St. Germain, Kyle Morin, and Aiden Urbina rose to the occasion and finished very shortly after to secure the victory. But the varsity races were not all each team had to offer. With extraordinary depth, both NCS and STA triumphed in all events. NCS Varsity B’s close 2nd place, combined with the landslide domination seen in STA Varsity B’s 1st place and in the IAC freshman/sophomore’s 1st place indicate the season’s training was effective. The future of the program is extremely bright as young stars dedicate themselves to their teammates and learn to appreciate the value of running each day.
Personally as a senior, I am sad to leave my extended family, but I am grateful for the many people who will carry the teams forward in the next few years.
Saint Albans Football
by Henry Holliday ‘19
The football season this year was difficult, but the coaches and captains were especially proud of the players for how they fought all year. Football this year was centered around a strong core of underclassmen who will help shape the culture in the future. The team had a great preseason, and the season started out with a great win over Anacostia and series of very close games, including a high scoring battle against Severn. The IAC was very talented overall this year, but the team has competed hard for four quarters each game. The team has one final game at Landon this Saturday. The players would like to thank everyone for all of the support this season, and on behalf of all the seniors, I would like to thank the Coaches for a great four years.
Saint Albans Basketball Conditioning
by John Youngkin '19
For the past two months, basketball conditioning has been working nonstop in preparation for the upcoming basketball season. Coach OJ has been working the members of basketball conditioning hard through various cardio exercises as well as many skill building drills. Each day, we compete against each other in order to drive us to work harder and improve our game. Many of the players have also spent a lot of time with Coach Dantley in the weight room, preparing for the season as best we can. Every player has grown immensely in both strength and agility thanks to the grueling workouts in which we have participated. Our evolution from the first practice to the last is truly remarkable. Even though the workouts have been difficult and pushed us to our limits, we have all emerged stronger because of the coaches’ dedication to us and our development. Although a lot of players have suffered from some minor injuries, the players seem prepared to participate and contribute on both JV and Varsity basketball. Though we do not have every member of the basketball program participating in basketball conditioning, our work ethic has put us in a position to succeed right away once the season starts.
by Giuliana Weiss '19
As most people know, I’m not a particularly athletic person. I’m not currently a member of any school sports teams, and I haven’t been since freshman year. However, I am an active participant in the performing arts community. One of the greatest challenges I face as a thespian at National Cathedral School is balancing theatre with the amount of sports credits all students are required to complete. When people talk about the benefits of participating in sports, they often mention two specific arguments: firstly, that sports contribute to a healthy lifestyle, and secondly, that they teach valuable life lessons.
To address the former tenet, I agree that exercising regularly is important to leading a happy and healthy life and that NCS’s curriculum requirements motivate us to do so. However, I believe that there are other ways to stay active outside of being on a sports team, such as participating in the performing arts. For example, working backstage in theatre productions can be quite labor intensive. Constructing the set itself takes time, energy, and strength; not to mention the effort it takes the run crew to be able to efficiently change scenes during a production, something which requires regular practice and great precision. Actors also get plenty of exercise, especially when the production is a musical. As someone who spent seven years swimming competitively and several years participating in a ridiculous amount of other sports, I can definitively say that dancing is just as strenuous as any other athletic enterprise.
In regards to the latter argument, I confer thus. While it is undoubtedly true that sports are effective at teaching students self-discipline, I would argue that performing arts can be just as successful. When you work on a production, no matter what role you play in it, from costume designer to set crew member to actor on stage, you become part of something larger than yourself. You become one facet of a diverse and highly-engaged team which cannot function without all of its members putting the maximum amount of effort they can muster into their work. In this way, the performing arts teach teamwork and responsibility to all those who participate in them.
One thing that really strikes me about NCS is the sheer amount of emphasis they put on sports and sports teams. Not only are you required to participate in sports for all four years of high school, but you also have to have a sport on your schedule for nearly the entire year. While I understand the need for students to keep up a healthy lifestyle and make time for exercise, this sports requirement makes it hard for me, as a participant in the performing arts, to make time for what I love to do.
Furthermore, the sports credit system emphasizes the narrative that the NCS community values athletics significantly more than it does the performing arts. Think about it: NCS requires us to participate in at least ten seasons of sports to graduate, but only one year of arts. And when I say arts, I’m not just referring to forms of the performing arts, but to those of the visual arts as well. To reiterate my point, under the current curriculum requirements, students participate in ten seasons of sports and just two arts classes. Looking at this comparison, it’s hard for me to do anything else but come to the conclusion that NCS does not value the arts as a part of their mission of “educating [students] for the world.” Again, I am certainly not against NCS’s sports requirements. I just believe that the amount of time we are expected to devote to athletics doesn’t leave enough time for the performing arts.
I’m also not arguing that theatre should become a substitute for all sports credits. On the contrary, I think that participating in sports is an important step in becoming a well-rounded student. However, I also happen to believe that participation in the performing arts is just as important as participation in athletics when achieving that goal. Currently, students have to really know that they love theatre to be willing to put in the time necessary to participate in productions. People who haven’t participated in theatre before but want to try it often find themselves discouraged from doing so due to their already full schedules.
Participating in theatre changed my life, and I want everyone to be able to have the opportunity to enjoy it the way I do. I believe that by allowing theatre to count for sports credits, more students will be able to discover the wonder of the performing arts in ways that they never would have imagined possible.
Why did you decide to coach?
My college coach actually encouraged me to begin coaching. He had several of his coaching colleagues hire me for camps while I was still playing, and then my coach eventually hired me once I graduated from college.
Did you play soccer in college?
I played four years at Washington College, a Division III school in Chestertown, MD.
What is one of your funniest and favorite coaching moments?
One of my favorite coaching moments was early in my coaching career as an assistant. I had suggested a minor tweak to our system and personnel which the head coach made, and we won the game because of it. That moment gave me the confidence to be a successful coach moving forward.
What do you think your coaching philosophy is?
My coaching philosophy centers around playing the game right way. I like for our teams to play an attractive, attacking style of soccer with a focus on building out of the back. In connecting both sides of the ball, our teams gain even more confidence in our ability to defend and begin our attacks from the back.
What is one of your proudest moments as a coach?
I have two moments. My first moment is winning the outright IAC title and the DCSAA championship in my first year as a head coach at STA. The second is our most recent IAC tournament championship last week. With the most recent title, our team improved over the course of the season, and they did the little things right. I can't put into words the amount of pride I feel for our team this year.
What was the highlight of this season?
The highlight of the season, apart from the IAC tournament championship, was maintaining 10 shutouts in our 12 IAC games.
What made you want to coach and teach?
I would go back to my college coach on the coaching side because he was able to teach me about planning training sessions and managing personalities. In terms of teaching, I had three outstanding professors in my major and minor (English and Drama) who were passionate about their fields of study. Those three professors were also approachable both in and out of class. For me, I wanted to have that same effect on students who do or do not have an interest in my classes or sports.
What is the most difficult part of teaching at STA?
I would say the most challenging aspect of teaching at STA is working with the students on their day-to-day management of assignments, assessments, and extracurriculars in order to manage their expectations.
What is your advice for boys who want to look sharp on a daily basis?
I would encourage the boys to focus on the simple features, such as combing their hair, wearing a belt, or making sure their shirt is tucked. Once the boys are able to perform those tasks on a regular basis, then they can worry about stylistic choices.
by Mia Millstein '19
Coach Jane DeGrenier is the NCS Varsity Field Hockey Coach.
Why did you decide to coach?
I have always loved sports. I enjoy playing and watching sports. I grew up in Central New York just outside of Syracuse, so I was an avid Yankees and Syracuse Orange fan. I played three sports in high school and two in college. It was so important for me. It helped me to make lifelong friends, improved my self-confidence, and carried over into successful academics. It helped me with college admission and I earned scholarships for college and graduate school through my ties to sports. I wanted to give that opportunity and feeling to kids. When I see a player have a light bulb moment and I see them becoming passionate about the sport I love so much, it is an amazing moment. I really wanted to share that with kids--the love of something that is important to them, the satisfaction of working with a group of people toward a common goal, that sort of thing. In my opinion, when everything is working, there is no better feeling!
Did you play field hockey in college?
I played field hockey and lacrosse in college. After playing field hockey, volleyball, and softball in high school, I wanted to pursue field hockey at a high level. I also always loved lacrosse, but we did not have a program at my high school. I picked up lacrosse my freshman year in college. I loved it from the moment I started playing! We were fortunate to have a lot of success while I was at Ithaca College. At the time, Ithaca was a powerhouse in women’s athletics. In field hockey we were always ranked nationally. We won the 1982 National Championship (now you can figure out how old I am!) and I played in three Final Fours. In lacrosse, we were also nationally ranked and I think I played in three Final Fours as well. I was All-State in both field hockey and lacrosse. I am also a member of the Ithaca College Hall of Fame.
I continued playing competitive field hockey into my mid-forties and had a very successful club career as an adult player.
What is one of your funniest and favorite coaching moments?
There are so many! I am happiest when I am on the field with my teams! I love our Halloween tradition of trying to find a new way to scare the players with the scary STA baby that they put in the refectory every Halloween. I love spending time with Coach Woods and reminiscing about the 1980’s and our glory days. I love getting to know the players and learning about them off the field. I love how we create new traditions each year, the practice bracelet, our team motto, the ball hopper, Homecoming, Senior Day. I hope that among each of my player's best memories during their time at NCS, that their sports memories top the list!
What do you think your coaching philosophy is?
My philosophy that you can educate of and through the physical. Essentially, you want to teach the X’s and O’s to your players. You want them to know the game tactically and technically. But, there are also many life lessons available if one is open to learning them. There is such value in working with a group of people. It really prepares you for life!
What is one of your proudest moments as a coach?
I would say I am very proud of our victory over the Saints this year. It has been the one team in the ISL that I have not defeated as a coach. It’s nice to have that for sure.
On a larger scale, I am also incredibly proud of all the NCS athletes I have had the opportunity to coach. I really appreciate all the milestones, such as Homecoming, Senior Day, Flag Day, Graduation, etc. I would like to think that if I have had a small part in getting my girls to graduation, then I have been successful as a teacher and coach. I am so proud of seeing our athletes successfully navigate college athletics, internships, getting a job, the real world, so to speak!
How do you prepare for each game?
I have a commute, so I am always thinking about the team while I am driving. I think about previous games, what strategy might work against each team we play, drills we need to do, areas of focus, etc. I always look at the previous year’s score book to note strong players and what happened last year. I also look at our opponent’s websites to compare results of common opponents. I talk to my athletes because they are familiar with players from other teams. Finally, I bring all the information together and talk with my amazing assistant coaches I run ideas past them and get their input. I definitely value the input of my players and assistant coaches.
On game day, I try to keep busy because, even after all these years, I get butterflies! HAHA! I teach full-time and coach/run a club team outside of school, so I am pretty busy.
What was the highlight of this season?
This team has been amazing--the dream team. I would say that our defeat over the Saints during the ISL Championships is the highlight so far. I am hoping for another highlight today (Sunday.) I was so proud of this team the entire season and throughout that game. They played with heart and intelligence. They bought into the game plan and executed it to perfection. They are so smart, dedicated, fun and funny. I just love this team.
Why do you think this year’s team is so special?
I think this team is special because they were so dedicated to the mission. There are always ups and downs during a season, and as a coach, you hope that your players rebound and learn from the downs. This team has definitely done that. They play for each other-they are selfless. They are friends and truly care about one another. They truly believe and they are fully committed to finishing the job!
If you could go back in time and give advice to your future self, what would it be?
This is a tough one! I guess I would say continue to enjoy the ride, try not to get too upset about the lows, you will bounce back. Do the right things for the right reasons and you’ll see, hang in there, you will get that Championship.
by Addie Sears '20
I don’t think anyone from the DMV area, hockey fan or not, could ever forget the sacred night of June 7th, 2018, when after forty-three long and painful years, the Washington Capitals finally won their first ever Stanley Cup Championship. While the Caps have been title contenders for a long time, coming as far as being named cup favorites just two years ago, the team always seemed to come up just a little short. Time and time again, fans were left with a special sort of despair that could only come by way of the season ending losses that reeked of humiliation and avoidability. Just one time, could our guys prove themselves to not be completely submissive to a team who claimed a baby-faced, croc-wearing, degenerate named Sid as their leader? Well, based on the game 7 loss in 2017 (that could only be described as pathetic and devastating) causing Nick Backstrom and the rest of the roster to hit the golf course—where they would spend the duration of the lamentably long offseason—things weren’t looking too good.
By the time the 2018 playoffs rolled around, fans—while possessing their usual (and sometimes concealed) hope—ultimately weren’t expecting all that much. Despite our chief Metro division ranking, many were still scarred from the gravity of the fall from the year prior and were unable to let go of the feeling that this season, like most, would come to a fiery, heart-wrenching end. And it seemed like these premonitions would be shown true at the beginning of round one, when Columbus sacked us 2-0. It seemed like it was all over. The ship was sinking, and all of the time, money, and love poured into this team by supporters throughout the past year would mean absolutely nothing. Artemi Panarin was sure to live up to his namesake and get the first series bread, but not before stripping Alex Ovechkin, Barry Trotz, and Caps fans everywhere of every last shred of dignity they had.
However, this was not the case. Hope, by some holy miracle, was reignited within the hearts of desperate Caps fans by a Lars Eller, double OT goal. After that, we won every game in the rest of the series. In doing this, it became clear to many, including myself, that not only did the Washington Capitals love choking to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round too much to give up the opportunity to be humiliated for the third year in a row, but that this team could maybe, possibly, knock-on-wood, be different than any we’d seen before. . . and they were.
Despite tremendously adverse conditions, including double-swedish Backy-Burakovsky hand injuries, a ridiculous Tom Wilson suspension for a clean shoulder check, and Gary Bettman’s undying love and bias towards Cindy Crysby, the boys obliterated the flightless birds, and all of their dreams to three peat. Although our second round demons had been exorcised at the Russian hands of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Eastern Conference Finals were no easy feat. The third round was dragged out to a game seven, which packed on the pressure because based on our history, this was bound to blow up in our faces. But thanks to Andre Burakovsky finally deciding to prove to us why he deserves to take up three million in salary cap space (which is still up for debate), a stellar performance by Braden Holtby, and a whole lot of belief, Amalie Arena was submerged like it was the Tampa Bay Hurricane of 1921. Vegas went down in what would’ve been four games if the refs had done their jobs and discounted the VGK game tying goal, for Reaves’ blatant cross-check on our beloved John Carlson. But it’s fine, we bulldozed Fleury and his band of rejected toys (sorry Nate Schmidt) to achieve our wildest dreams in spite of it all. In total, we went 16-8 in the 2018 playoffs, and finished off the year with a shiny cup hoisted above our heads.
Flash forward five months and we’re fifth in the Metropolitan division with a record of 5-4-3. We started off hot with a high scoring shutout at the home opener, but it’s been rocky, to say the least. Though this is not exactly where you’d expect the reigning Stanley Cup champs to be, the bar has been understandably set higher than it’s ever been set in the past. However, losses to teams that we should be beating (Oilers, Panthers, Habs, and depending on who you talk to; Leafs), raise concern. So with TJ Oshie’s exuberant chanting loud in the background of summer 2018 memories, and our current standings in mind; what will it take to go back to back?
To answer this, there are a few issues present within the team now which might be worth addressing if the Capitals are serious about a repeat. First and most notably, the exit of Barry Trotz and Mitch Korn. While it came as a surprise when our head coach made the decision to resign only weeks after winning the championship, it didn’t seem like it would be too problematic as his some of his coaching decisions often didn’t sit quite right with fans (ex. DSP on the top line), and his tendency to fall short year after year even while being provided with a level of talent entirely capable of getting the job done, is something that most would prefer to do without. Plus, new head coach Todd Reirden has been managing our defense since 2014, so it’s seem like the transition would be easy. Yet, for the sake of calming our anxieties, it might be of worth to remember that this is still an adjustment period, and that the team’s dynamic isn’t as strong as it will be later on in the season.
Additionally, it seems like the absence of former goaltending director, Mitch Korn, is having a notable impact on Braden Holtby. With a current save percentage of .888 and GAA (goals against average) of 3.62, the Holtbeast has allowed 12 goals in the past 3 games. Ouch. Hopefully, this can be attributed to the fact that our man is just not used to being without his regular coach, and will improve as the season progresses. In terms of other options, our trade of Philipp Grubauer to the Avs (done in an attempt to make cap space to sign Carlson long term) leaves us reliant on Pheonix Copley, who chalks up to a Sv% of .882 and a GAA of 3.55. It’s pretty safe to say that Washington definitely has some goaltending issues to sort out, but Holts has never been one for consistency and the short offseason may have had an effect on his typically calm demeanor, so only time will tell.
Next up is the highly controversial twenty game suspension of our beloved Tom Wilson. Top-line Tom was integral to our playoff success, as his plowing down opposing players by way of body checking made space for resident russian machines Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin to work their magic on net. Willy’s methods, while effective, have always been hotly debated, considering they almost always end in what is sure to become a pretty nasty case of CTE in whoever’s involved. Tom has been put under fire by the League for his physicality plenty of times, and has been suspended four times in his last 105 games. Given his history of relentlessly throwing his 6’4 220 lb body made solely of lean muscle, at unsuspecting players, included with his latest offense’s lack of purpose or reason, Wilson was dealt a hefty timeout from the Department of Player Safety. While it made sense at first, since losing the RW the Caps have experienced detrimental effects from leaving Kuzy unprotected, which hinders us from scoring as much as we usually would. While Tommy has appealed his suspension twice, and will find out the verdict from a neutral arbitrator within the coming days, we’ve had some trouble filling the void up top. So far, Reirden has tried moving up Brett Connolly, Chandler Stephenson, and Jakub Vrana, to name a few, but no one has really stuck. While each has seemed to find brief success, there still hasn’t been much consistency.
Considering Tom’s absence is one that can be expected to last a while, no matter if he ends up getting a few games knocked off his lengthy sentence, it would be preferable for the sake of wallets everywhere when deciding what games would be worth witnessing in person, as well as the sanity of fans in general, that a solution is found sooner rather than later. Reirden definitely hasn’t maxed out of ways to shake the lineup yet, so maybe an answer to this predicament can be found in utilizing forwards such as Andre Burakovsky, who hasn’t seemed to access his full potential at this point and might see a high stakes opportunity on the first line as a chance to wow the crowd with some trademark Swedish speed and silk, also to make us all forget about his underwhelming performance over the past few years despite taking up a nice chunk of our cap space. To that end, with this possibly being Burky’s last shot at saving himself from getting shopped in a midseason dealing with the likes of Edmonton, I think he just might show up when accompanied by two of the best Mafia members the League has ever witnessed. In short, Tom Wilson’s timeout won’t last forever, and things will (probably/hopefully) be fine once Willy is freed. Until then, there is lots of time and so much room to grow, and I don’t doubt that this season will bring forth progression in all aspects of our on ice play. Besides, we still have roughly five months before the 2019 playoffs even begin, so where we are now really can’t indicate how we’ll be then. Our chances of winning the cup last year were slim, but we managed to get it done against all odds. It wasn’t easy, and it could not have happened without our undying allegiance to the Great Eight, and the relentless endorsement of the notion that no matter what, the Washington Capitals would not be suck that year. On that note, I remind all of you Boys, girls, and babes; it’s okay to believe.
by Harry Grigorian '19
“Mind, Body, and Spirit.” These three entities are treasured above all else at St. Albans, as they should be. We spend 4-5 hours per day nourishing our minds and 2 chapels a week (along with prayers at the bookends of lunch) feeding our spirit, so where do our bodies fit in? Clearly, the period from 3:30-6 is reserved for that cause. One who embraces this trifecta will emerge from the Cathedral with his diploma as a young man with outrageous intelligence, sound morals, and healthy habits: a true St. Albans man. The objective of our school is to create multidimensional students, not just ones who specialize in math or in football or in singing. We want to succeed in all three. Intramurals does nothing towards that end.
Don’t mistake me. Our intramurals coaches (at least, to the extent that I have heard) do a phenomenal job of keeping boys active and giving them fun activities. But it lacks in two elements of the “body” point.
First, there is no team element. For those who don’t know, intramurals meets during the regular sports time and plays games like basketball, soccer, or football. However, there is no team, no camaraderie. I’ve made some of my best friends through athletics, and have grown close to my coaches. With my teammates, I have gone through strenuous workouts, I have traveled to a number of different states, and I have won and lost Championships with them wearing the crest on our chests. These moments have played a decisive role in defining my high school experience. That bond lacks in intramurals. We often discuss our “brotherhood” that exists as strong as ever, but that bond should not break after 3:30.
Second, intramurals does not do nearly enough to encourage personal fitness. Again, I don’t blame the coaches here, but 45 minutes of pickup soccer does not match a cross country run, tennis practice, or crew row. Even those who play more stationary sports (baseball, golf, etc.) have a stake in maintaining their health, as it will still impact their play. If we want all boys to leave STA with healthy habits, why would we allow anyone to fall short of this mark?
I’ve often heard the phrase “I’m not interested in any of X Season’s sports.” While I’ll concede that adding a few sports (particularly one in the Fall) would allow more boys an opportunity to play a sport they love, the excuse remains invalid. Entering my freshman year, I was in the same boat, but a few friends and I decided to run cross country. I was horrible at first (my first time was around 29 minutes), but I loved the atmosphere. I fell for running and was continually motivated by my teammates, and ultimately, I found great success on the 5k course by junior year. To those of you in intramurals: go out, try a new sport. Perhaps you’ll fall in love with it, perhaps not, but regardless, you will achieve a monumental success crucial to your time at STA.
As first quarter quickly drew to an end, winter sports are approaching. Here is a look into the longest sports season of them all:
by Greta Drefke ‘19
With only two remaining varsity players in the 2017-2018 season, last year we started at ground zero. Luckily, over twenty people tried out and we had enough people to fill a varsity and JV roster. As there were no seniors on the team last year, we’re heading into the 2018-2019 season with a full roster.
The top two players this year, Sofia Arseniev ‘21 and Madeleine Drefke ‘21, spend every waking moment playing squash. Both ranked in the top 75 U17 girls in the country, the team has no doubt that they’re going to dominate this season. While the rest of the team may lack skill compared to Arseniev and Drefke, we feel better than ever about our strength as a whole this year. With the twenty nine girls trying out this November, I am confident in the squash culture remaining the same: light hearted and low pressure. While we do have a new head coach this year, I do not think that they will make squash more intense, just because of the underlying culture surrounding our sport.
As the 2017-2018 season came close, the increased interest in the sport jeopardizes the team’s message that one does not have to be a star to make the team. This increased interest in squash may lead to the first year that the program will have to make cuts. While one certainly doesn’t need to be nationally ranked to make the team, the coaches may have to decide between players for the good of the team as a whole. While the possibility of cuts may be looming, I am confident that this will not impact the team’s culture in any way. Instead, I encourage everyone to come try out, maybe practice once or twice during a clinic or open court time, and have fun!
by Elisabeth Sicoli ‘19 and Sophia Donovan ‘19
Each winter, the NCS crew team has an indoor conditioning season. During the nearly five months of training, we practice on the ergometers (indoor rowing machines) and in the weight room with Coach Teal and Coach Berry.
The team is always excited to reconvene after participating in other sports for the fall season. During the winter, we are able to introduce freshmen to the sport of rowing and incorporate them into our team. Despite the rigorous indoor training, we are constantly motivated by the goals we have for the spring season. While you are still part of a team, the winter allows you to focus on individual progress and fitness.
A day that everyone looks forward to is the Holiday erg where we all get dressed up and have a sing-a-long on the ergs. We are also all excited to get our “crew families.” This is a time where we split up the team into groups with members of each grade, allowing upperclassmen to offer advice and support to the lowerclassmen in their families. Although it’s a long season, the winter season is an opportunity to get faster as it gives us an edge against our competition in the spring.
by Zoe Contreras-Villalta ‘19
This year, NCS Voyageur hopes to continue developing and expanding the program and hopefully earn the recognition of WAICL champions. As of right now, more NCS students are signed up for the winter climbing season than ever before and the program will have big changes: winter Voyageur will have both a recreational team and competitive team. A recreational team has never been done before, but essentially means that there will be students who are a part of our team that will opt to or will be placed on a team that will not compete in the WAICL climbing meets. The competitive JV and Varsity teams also hope to get more NCS and STA students to attend the climbing meets that occur at a designated climbing gym, usually on Tuesday afternoons. We are so excited to work our hardest with one of the biggest groups of seniors leading the pack!
by Chloe Conaghan ‘19
Basketball season starts this Wednesday the 7th and we are SO excited. We are returning 6 great Varsity players. We also can’t wait to see what the incoming freshmen bring to the table. We know we can beat any team in our division, and are working towards an ISL A Championship. I can’t wait to work hard, have fun, and get some big wins.
by Isabella Houle ‘19
I hope the NCS/STA swim team this year is successful, diligent, united, and enthusiastic. With 9 captains over the two teams with unique perspectives and all bringing ideas to the team, I am excited for a team that is bonded in and out of the water. We hope to make Saturday practices a norm, to create inter-team groups to foster camaraderie, and to hype swim meets to make a great squad of swimming supporters. If each swimmer gives their all to the team, both in workouts and meets, I’m sure we’ll be a formidable presence on the pool deck. And, if any swimmer wants a head-start, the pool is open next week!