New Sports Season

It’s that time of the year again.  The fall sports are going out with a bang and the winter sports are getting ready to crush their upcoming seasons.  This switch from fall to winter sports every year is a very exciting but also very rigorous time for athletes, coaches and the athletic department.

Students find themselves being thrust into a new sport or pushing through the final stretch of an old one or sometimes both.   One student said that he finds it harder to finish work during a sports season, but other students find that they actually finish more work when they participate in a sport.  In fact many studies show that participating in a sports team may lead to better academic performance for many students. 

This transition is also very tough on the entire athletic department because winter sports need to lurch into action while fall sports are still finishing the most important part of their respective seasons.  On top of all of that, the dome goes up during this jarring transition- making the switch even more difficult because it adds responsibility for the athletic department both during the process of putting the dome up and after the dome is up.

 Mr. Johns, the athletic director, said it is “the most complicated switch” and that’s putting it lightly.  The athletics department has always worked very hard to ensure that PA athletes have a good experience.

The fall sports all had exceptional seasons even if they didn’t perform as well as they may have hoped. As Mr. Johns said in an interview “it’s more about the experience”.  All the athletes had a great experience this past season.  Boy’s and girl’s soccer had a great season and a wonderful experience, football and volleyball won sectional games, girl’s tennis had a great season, and cross country and the girl’s swim and dive team sent athletes to state.

If the winter sports follow this trend, then Providence has a lot to be excited about. Athletes will be nearly guaranteed an excellent time this winter regardless of their sport.

So, the fall sports had great seasons and the winter sports promises seasons just as spectacular.  Even if the transition is rigorous for staff and students, it is worth the great athletic experience PA strives to offer.

 

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The Providence Academy dome

 

Volleyball 2017

New season, new players. and new opportunities. Each year is a new beginning and a time for new chances. This year the varsity volleyball team started the season off strong, despite all the sets backs and challenges along the way.

The PA Volleyball Team trains hard for the season.

The varsity coach; Bernie Keop,  started participating in volleyball after his four daughters became interested in sports. “What inspired me the most to become a coach was seeing what coaching was out there.” During each game and practice, Bernie’s goal is to inspire each and every player to do her best, to never give up on her goals, whether it’s volleyball or life in general. Bernie was incredibly proud of the team for having a winning record, finishing at 15 wins and 10 losses. The team earned 5th place in the seeding for sections, which is the highest placement the varsity volleyball team has had in the seven years of his coaching. Bernie has always believed in the team. 

The biggest challenge the team faced this year was losing the the team’s 3rd  year starter; Rachel Rivera, due to the fact that she had broken her ankle during summer training sessions.

“It proved to be a huge challenge that we had to cope with the entire season,” said Bernie.  

“Losing Rachel was very difficult because she is an amazing leader on the court,” said Bridget Murphy.

Kate Allerheiligen ’21 is a great leader on the court and took the responsibility of playing libero. Kate is a freshman who has been playing volleyball for five years and was the previous libero for the JV team as an 8th grader. She had a positive impact on the team and will hopefully continue to play next year. 

The team had a solid start at conference, but were unfortunately unable to maintain their winning streak. They suffered the loss of a great player, which forced a complete change in the back row strategy. One of the challenges was having such young back row players. They overcame this when the girls stepped it up and realized that they played a big role on the team.  Having such a young back row can be an advantage in many ways, one being the fact that they have so many years to improve and advance in their skills.

“They got better and better everyday and suddenly it was hard to believe our back row was made up of such young girls,” said Bridget Murphy. 

What’s next? Will the girls continue playing after high school? Kate Murphy 18′ has considered playing at college level, but decided to continue her volleyball career in club or intramural in college. Bridget Murphy 18′ in similar to Kate, says that she would love to play intramural volleyball in college, but nothing more. Kate Allerheiligen 21′  has her sights set on playing in college, the only thing left to decide is  for which college she will play .

Evolution of PA sports

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The former football field used before the turf field was put in
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The turf field now used at PA

PA sports have made monumental changes since the beginning of the athletic program.  Even though it is still a young program, it has made some big steps towards being a very good athletic program.
PA was founded in 2001 and the athletics were not very competitive to start off with.
“When Providence opened in 2001 the athletic program was intramural for the most part with very few contests being played outside of the school and just a handful of sports offerings,” says Kurt Jaeger Head Athletic Director from 2001 to 2016.
In the beginning of the athletic program a lot of the sports that PA fans know and love to watch today were not present.  Sports like football and hockey were not offered in early years.  Even the sports that were offered were very laid back and not nearly as competitive as it is now.
The program first started to evolve two years later. “By 2003 we had joined the state high school league and started competing in some activities at a varsity level and our offerings had doubled to about 10,” says Jaeger.
This was a huge leap forward for the future of the sports at PA and one year later it added a football and a hockey team.  Then over the next 13 years PA has been adding and making the high school a much better athletic school.  PA now has 25 different varsity sports.
The sports program has also gone through three different conferences since its start.  PA has gone through Minnesota Christian Athletic Association, then the Tri Metro Conference, and then finally the Independent Minnesota Athletic Conference.  Within the IMAC conference, PA is now competing with schools much older than itself.  PA is the youngest school in the conference by 19 years (with Mounds Park Academy being founded in 1982).  So not only has PA been competing against some formidable opponents, it has been succeeding.
“Overall PA team’s won 33 conference championships, 21 teams qualified for state and 4 teams won state titles and numerous individuals have also won state titles,” says Jaeger.
PA has taken some big steps since 2001 to make its athletic program better and much more competitive.

On your marks, get set, go!

Track is a great way for students of all ages to meet new people and form lasting memories. The start of the season begins with captain’s practices. These are run by students who were voted captains of the team at the end of the last season. Throughout the season they lead the rest of the team with their sportsmanship and their integrity.
“I love being a captain because I feel like I can really help people become faster and stronger,” says Coco McCarthy ’17.
A typical captains practice begins with  warm ups, followed by stretching, and after this students break up into their separate groups. Everyone gets to choose which events they want to participate in, including sprinting, long distance and throwing. At captains’ practice, the sprinters normally do some sort of ab workout, along with some sprinting drills. The long distance team will go on a run or do laps around the track. Finally, the throwers will do a workout, where they use weights to get stronger so they can throw farther.

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Some track practices take place in the dome.

Students within these different groups have strong opinions on why their event is the best.  Hailey Hohenecker ’20 says that she likes to sprint because she feels as if she would get bored running around the track multiple times. She also thinks that sprinting is really exciting.
The students in long distance believe that they are better at it than sprinting or doing a field event. Maddie Kelly ’20 says, “It’s what we’re good at, we are better at distance than sprinting.”

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Maddie Kelly ’20, Hailey Hohenecker ’20, Emma Kelly ’22, and Riley Nechanicky ’19, pose on the track.

Finally, the throwers and students who do field events say they like the challenge, but also like how they don’t have to run as much.”I like being a thrower because the practices are really fun, and I get a lot stronger throughout the season,” says Maggie Murphy ’19.
This year, some additions have been added to the track team. Just as in years past, the Providence Academy students are teaming up with students from Heritage, but now, they are also co-oping with Maranatha Christian Academy. Providence Academy partners with other schools, “to provide opportunities for all to participate on teams with a consistently safe number of athletes and for more students to gain the benefits that education-based opportunities present,”  explains the Providence Academy athletic director Rick Johns.
Track is a fun way to become more fit by improving your speed, strength, and endurance. It is also a great way to make new friendships and form a “track fam” as some people on the team like to call it. The team has high hopes for their meets this year, and hopefully they can bring home some “gold”.

 

Sailing into a New Season

Sailing is a sport that not many people have heard of or tried. It is a very interesting sport that seems to intimidate some people. “I feel like sailing seems so hard and complicated,” says Maggie Murphy ’19. In reality, sailing is a really fun sport with a great coaching staff, who help everyone to learn the sport.

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Lake Minnetonka, where the sailing team practices

 

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The sailboats, called 420’s, which the sailors use.

The sailing team welcomes all levels of experience, including beginners who have never sailed before, the people who have been sailing for a while, and the elite team. At the start of the season, the beginners practice with the head coach to learn the basics. After they get a handle on the idea of sailing, they are partnered with people who are more knowledgeable about the sport. This creates a safe environment where people of all ages and skills can learn the basics of sailing. With four coaches in the spring season, there is a lot of mentoring and resources for new sailors.

The Providence Academy sailing team practices at the Wayzata Community Sailing Center on Lake Minnetonka with a few other schools in the area, including Benilde, Wayzata, Orono, and Chanhassen. “Sailing practices are fun because you get to meet so many new people, but you are still a separate team with your own school,” says Eleanor Christianson ’19. A basic sailing practice is about two and a half hours, consisting of drills, where the sailors work on turning, either by jiving or tacking, and race-like scenarios, which are called regattas.

Right now, the sailing team consists of six people, but they always want new people to join. They gave donuts out in the atrium so that people would know about the sailing team, and maybe eventually want to sign up. The students on the sailing team always try to explain that sailing actually is really fun, so that more people want to participate. “One time we sailed to Ben & Jerry’s”, Jack Wall ’17 recalls.