By John Paul Rodocanachi '18
The spring semester brings an exciting ballot of sports to close out the school year. For many freshmen, this will be their first time participating in a spring sport, and for most seniors, this will be their last time playing for STA. With a lot of athletic talent, a hyped-up BEEF club, and a bunch of great leaders, both new and old, this could be a historic season for the St. Albans Bulldogs. Here are my predictions for sports this spring:
Baseball: After last year’s truly amazing series against Georgetown Prep to win the IAC Championship, I believe that STA has a chance of a repeat IAC banner, and possibly a state championship as well. This year, baseball is led by Coach RJ Johnson, and by seniors, James Howe, Henry Large, Zach Schauer, and Swarthmore commit Austin Burgess. Along with other valuable seniors, these players will provide much needed leadership to this overall young team. The hitting lineup is considered to be even better than last years, and Duke commit Clark Klitenic ‘19 is still one of the best pitchers in the IAC, if not the best. I have been told there is a possibility that Klitenic could pitch right-handed this year, so watch out for that. Overall, STA has a solid defense and a good group of players. The struggle this year will be getting off to a faster start this year in the regular season, and finding a #2 pitcher after the loss of Ethan Roth ‘17. Also, both Prep and Bullis have very talented teams this year. However, I think these challenges can be overcome, and STA can resume its baseball dominance in 2018.
Lacrosse: For lacrosse, the IAC is considered one of the best conferences in the nation. With #3 Landon, and #70 Bullis, as well as a solid Prep team, the talent among our rivals is quite good. However, it is a fair assumption that this year could be a breakout year for the Lax Bulldogs. After the tough loss to the St. Stephens Saints in the playoffs, players are more determined than ever to win.The team is led by Amherst commit Carter Tate (‘18), Kenyon commit Michael Asuncion (‘18), and a team filled with junior and senior talent, as well as Coach Hyland (who is now in his second year). The challenges this year are in the defense, which may have some gaps that need to be filled from last year, as well as the departure of Yale goalie Jack Starr (‘17). However, the offense this year is set to be one of the best in the IAC, and I believe that there is enough talent on this team to find success on defense. While the Bulldogs may not be seen as the front contenders for the IAC this year, I think that St. Albans Lacrosse can pull some upsets this year and have a strong 2018 season.
Tennis: After consecutive IAC championships from 2011-2016, the STA Bulldogs came just short to Landon last year. But the talent is there, and a fire seems to have been sparked among the players. Only two seniors who started last year graduated, so the team is just as strong as last year’s, and has the potential to be even greater. This year’s team is lead by Coach Najdi, as well as James Long ‘18, Mark McGuidwin ‘20, and Landon Chin ‘19, as well as a strong doubles groups of Liam Krygier and Christian Potter ‘18, Mark Parrino and Yuki Kinoshita ‘18, and Alex Corwin ‘19. While the (knock-off) Bulldogs of Bullis are considered the favorite, STA Tennis proved they were beatable in last years semifinals, and Landon’s team is very similar talent-wise to their own. The most important thing for this year will be to see how JV and last year’s bench players step up and perform this spring in their matches. Overall, I believe that STA Tennis is in a very strong position to compete for another banner in 2018.
Track and Field: Track and Field has won five IAC championships since 2010, and St. Albans continues to have dominant runners this spring, including Timmy Bitsberger ‘18, Jack Tongour ‘19, Jacob Donoghue ‘18, Jonathan Merrill ‘19, as well as pole vaulter Charlie Hansen ‘18. And don’t forget Coach Ehrenhaft ‘83, who has had great success throughout the many years he has coached St. Albans Track and Field. Unfortunately, though STA has a great lineup of long distance runners, it lacks sprinters this year, as a large number of them graduated last year. That, along with the tough lineup that Bullis has this year, means that it may prove difficult for STA to win the IACs this year. However, do not count STA out, and if the sprinters develop well, as well as a good showing from shotput and discus, I think that an IAC is far from out of the picture for STA. Overall, while Bullis is favored for this year, I have no doubts that St Albans Track and Field will have a great season, and a potential shot at the IAC banner again in 2018.
Crew: At St. Albans, Crew is probably the most nationally recognized sport. For good reason, too. STA has competed at Stotesbury Regatta, Nationals, and Henley Royal Regatta, all to success in recent years. Last year, St. Albans Varsity eight boat got bronze in both Stotesbury and Nationals, and at Henley, St. Albans beat the winners of Stotesbury and the #1 team in America, Montclair, in the round of 16. This year, there are expectations that similar success will continue. The team is led by Head Coach Ted Haley, and seniors Sam Shipps ‘18, UC Berkeley commit Barton Trimble ‘18, Columbia commit Jake Duffy ‘18, and Northeastern commit and coxswain Ben Duke ‘18. While they are losing many valuable athletes from last year, I expect they will reach similar national success in 2018.
Golf: Though golf did not have the best season in 2017, things are still up in the air. I fully expect they will achieve a better record in 2018. Led by Coach Matthew Andreoli and Angus Ricks ‘20, I expect that this year, with some good luck and some good showings by starting players, the golf Bulldogs can move up the IAC rankings in 2018.