By Meghan Byrnes and Morgan Brang
Managing Editor for Production and Assistant Managing Editor
As March 10 approached this year, our student-athletes got ready to prepare for another, hopefully successful, season. The spring season is always an exciting one, signalling warm weather and the end to another school year. Traditionally, Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s teams perform exceptionally well in this season. The school’s teams are off to a good start, despite the weather. Although the start of spring sports usually signifies the coming of good weather, this year, that was not the case. Cancellations and indoor practices have gone on much longer than usual, putting the sports teams significantly behind schedule concerning their goals for the season.
The J-DHS Varsity Boys Lacrosse team is perhaps the more talked about lacrosse team at our school (see our article on boys lacrosse), but the Varsity Girls Lacrosse team is not one to be ignored. Weather has put the team behind their ideal level of play thus far, but they have high aspirations and are confident in their ability to achieve their goals. “I feel that we have one of the smartest teams we have ever had,” said veteran head coach Phil Luckette. However, he adds that the team has not been able to reach their full learning potential due to the weather complications. Many practices have been in the gym or the parking lot where it is difficult to go over tactical training. Therefore, the beginning of the team’s season has not been as successful as they would have liked, so there is room for improvement. “We started off with a couple of tough games against Marcellus and CBA but we hope to come back strong,” said junior Carly Stone.
Another wrinkle in the start of the team’s season is the loss of four senior defenders who graduated last year. “Our whole starting defense last year was seniors so it will be tough to play without them,” said junior Caroline Kopp. A fifth senior was lost on attack, but this year’s seniors and captains have done a good job of stepping up into leadership positions, according to Coach Luckette. The current team has only two seniors, however, so some of the younger players will have to step up as well. Overall the goals for the team are to improve in all aspects on the field and to make a run in sectionals. “When we have as good a group of athletes as we do this year, the plan is to create the box and then let the players use their knowledge, skill, and creativity to break out of the box,” said Coach Luckette about his plans to reach these goals. “I think we have started off fairly well considering the conditions. We definitely have a long way to go, but our goals are absolutely reachable,” said Kopp. The team is currently 5-5, but they hope to turn their season around with more field time and experience playing together.
As one can imagine, playing baseball in a gym is very difficult. However, the J-DHS Varsity Baseball team had to spend their first three weeks of the season doing just that. “We were still able to get our fundamentals down,” said junior Brady Wing. “But we didn’t have enough room in the gym to do game-like situations.” With a total of five games cancelled because of weather so far, senior captain Jimmy Sinopoli feels that the team is still prepared, despite their limited time on the field. “We've been in the gym a lot, but we’re lucky we have a nice pitching machine inside so we can still get a lot of work in,” said Assistant Coach Michael Klemperer. Due to several cancellations, the end of the season schedule for the team will be packed with rescheduled games. However, Mr. Klemperer is confident that his team will do well because they have multiple talented pitchers on the team who can rotate playing in games. Since most of the team is made up of returning players from last year, the team has high expectations for themselves. The baseball team was on their way to completing their goal of being undefeated with their win against rival Christian Brothers Academy in their first game this season. Unfortunately, the team lost to New Hartford on April 14, but the players are determined to continue to work hard and make a long run in the playoffs. “We are working hard and playing hard,” said senior captain Chris McGee about the recovery from their first loss. “Our team is full of strong players,” said Sinopoli. “So it really doesn’t come down to just the captains to step up.” Click here for more information on the team and a closer look at senior player John Werbowsky.
Similar to the baseball team, the Varsity Girls Softball team has had very little time outside on their fields. Weather has caused several of their games to be cancelled, so their season (as far as games go) has not truly started. “We have had five games get postponed so it will affect the end of the season when we have full weeks,” said junior Erika Siegel. According to the players, however, the preparation has been going well and they are ready to work hard to have another successful season. “We want to win sectionals again as a three-peat and we hopefully want to go to states again,” said senior Maggie Austin. The team is young but many of the younger players were on the team last year as well, so the team plays well together according to Austin. They have high expectations for the team this year and hope to advance in playoffs like they have in recent years.
Like baseball and softball, tennis is a sport that cannot be played in the rain or snow, making the start of the season especially slow for them. In over 12 years of coaching, Varsity Boys Tennis head coach Eugene Sul has never had a season with only one outdoor practice prior to the team’s first match. Freshman Rob Dotterer was on the team last year as an eighth grader and has both felt and seen the effects of the bad weather. “Not a lot of the people on our team have a lot of experience so everyone needed the practice time,” said Dotterer. Because of the lack of court time, Coach Sul had to make educated guesses about how to organize this year’s roster. “For the people who want to move up, if one person is lower than they should be its kind of hard to get their spot up,” said sophomore Alex Tso. This has put them significantly behind schedule, but it has not put a damper on their determination to succeed this season. First year player junior Brian Cieplicki is very excited for his first tennis season. “I can’t wait to improve this season and hopefully grow as a team,” said Cieplicki. The J-DHS Varsity Boys Tennis team has a history of excellence, and they don’t plan to end that trend this year. Despite losing nine out of their 14 players last year to graduation, Coach Sul hopes to be OHSL Freedom Champions for the seventh year in a row and win the sectional championship for the third season in a row. He strongly believes that this years seniors will step up and fill the leadership roles, along with the help of some of the younger players who have been on the team in previous years.
Keep an eye out for an update on the Varsity Girls Golf team coming soon!