Back to the grind: 2013 fall sports updates

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Alarm clocks are blaring at early hours of the morning, there is an increase in caffeine intake, and extreme mental and physical exhaustion are apparent…all this before the first day of school.

On August twelfth, Providence athletes made their way out to tryouts, marking the beginning of the Minnesota Fall sports season. For the last two weeks, they have been working to impress their coaches, getting back into shape, and becoming familiar with their new team. All of the teams have already played in competitive games or scrimmages. A significant portion of the season takes place before school begins, which is a critical time in any team’s development.

Girls Volleyball

Heading into tryouts, the girls volleyball players knew they would have a young team, losing nine seniors. Half of the team is composed of girls who were previously on JV.

Heather Leuer ‘14 states, “Our main focus this first week was getting everyone on the same page. Whenever you have a new group of girls it’s important to get them to learn how everyone else plays, so we can play as a team instead of individuals.”

In practice, heavy emphasis has been put on practicing blocking and passing. After losing a close game to Heritage Christian Academy, (3-2) Leuer expects that adjusting these areas will give the team opportunity for major growth.

“Friday’s game was a good loss against a good team; We have no reason to feel poorly about ourselves. Everyone is excited to get back to it, and fix the problems in preparation for future games,” states Leur.

Cross Country

The Providence Cross Country team is working on building a strong team through recruiting runners with a dedicated interest in the sport.  After losing eleven seniors, the team is trying to fill the missing spots.

“The focus this year is creating a hardworking team that encourages the younger kids to stick with the team for the years to come,” states Jenny Walz ’14.

The first race of the season was against Anoka High School. One of the challenges in this race was dealing with the extremely uncomfortable heat with temperatures reaching the high 90’s.

Staying positive, Walz states, “I think it was good to help us get an idea of the younger kids abilities.”

Boys Soccer

Only losing two Seniors, the Boys Soccer team is looking forward to a strong season, having played many years together.

The team traveled to Duluth to play two of their first season games. The boys tied Hermantown 1-1  and beat Superior 3-0.

Luke Ziesmer ’14 states, “What I took away from these first games was that our offense needs to finish our opportunities. We have a very strong defense this year, and I believe that will be a large factor for a successful season.”

In practice, the boys have been working on playing one-touch soccer, playing smart, and by scoring on every chance they have.

In the future, Ziesmer believes, “We will likely prepare differently for the next games because we play better teams than the teams we played this past weekend. Our team possession will have to be better against them.”

Girls Soccer

Similar to  boys soccer, the girls are also are an experienced team, only losing one senior.

The first game of the season was against Orono High School, who the girls lost to in sections in  the 2012 season. This year, Orono squeaked by and beat Providence, with a score of 1-0.

“This is the best we’ve ever done against Orono and it gives us a really good outlook for the rest of the season. We’re hoping the rest of the season goes just as well as it started off,” states Paige McAuliffe ’14.

After coming so close to winning their first game, the girls’ soccer players are determined to attain positive results.

“Our focus has been bonding as a team. We have incredible players and now we just need to be able to work together,” says McAuliffe.


The pressure is on for the boys football team who made it to the section finals last season, losing in a close overtime game. This year, there are five returning players who have starting experience.

“The focus in practice early on is to define the roles of all the players and to implement the offense, defense and special teams,” states Conor White’ 13

On August 24th, the team was able to get in a competitive mindset in a series of scrimmages against Blake, St. Paul Harding, Patrick Henry and the Rockford Area Schools District.

Of what he took away from the scrimmages, White stated, “We are deep in both offensive and defensive lines and are athletes that can make plays in space.”

The first game of the season is Friday August 30th, in an away games versus St. Agnes.

“We are preparing quite well for our first game and have a few kinks to work out, but we feel very confident entering the season,” states White.

Girls Tennis

Although the girls did not lose any seniors, the team welcomed four new players to their squad.

“This year we are focusing on conditioning to build up our stamina for match play,” states Lauren Athmann’ 13.

The girls played their first tournament at Glenco-Silver Lake High School. The team lost to centennial 1-6 but defeated Glenco 7-0.

“I was happy with how we all played, but we need to improve our mental game for upcoming matches,” states Athmann.


The 2013-2014 school year kicked-off August 28th, signifying the beginning of homework and the deadline for that neglected summer reading, but for fall sports athletes, the pressure has been felt long before school even started.



PA welcomes students from Spain

April Yelich '16 and her foreign exchange student Bea Jimenez-Carles '16.
April Yelich ’16 and her foreign exchange student Bea Jimenez-Carles ’16.

Peanut butter; an average food in America. Yet, for Spanish foreign exchange student Bea Jimenez-Carles ’16, peanut butter is one of many new things she is excited to try while studying abroad.

Jimenez-Carles is one of three students coming from the Aquinas American School of Madrid. Álvaro Garde ’15 and Beltrán Carrillo ’17 are, as well, staying for a semester.

Last year Mr. George Weigel, biographer for John Paul II, visited the Aquinas American School of Madrid. The school informed him that they were interested in launching an international studies program in the United States. Having previously visited Providence Academy as a speaker, Weigel thought PA would be a good fit for the Aquinas American School.

Fast forward to fall of 2013, and Weigel’s suggestion is now reality.

In addition too the Aquinas American School students, PA will host Paula Horeno ’16 for a full year.

Horeno is from Spain, but is not affiliated with the Aquinas American School.

According to the Chair for the Department of World Languages, Mrs. Joelynn Lahr, “Paula’s mom and Mrs. Patnode were really good friends” and, as a result, the Patnode family will be hosting Horeno during her stay.

Each student has different aspirations for their visit, but all wish to improve their English.

Garde is staying with the Ritz family, and hopes to “meet new people.” He is planning on playing soccer for the boys soccer team.

Jimenez-Carles is looking forward to “learning a lot of things and making new friends.” She is staying with the Yelich family.

Carrillo finds Providence Academy to be “very big” and thinks it’s interesting that there are “soccer places, and football places, and basketball places.” He will be staying with the Perinovic family.

While Providence will only be receiving students from the Aquinas school this year, in the future, the school hopes to expand the program.

“In the next few years we hope to send students over to Spain,” stated Mrs. Lahr.

During the students’ time in America, Mrs. Lahr hopes they can gain “A deeper understanding of American culture, the culture in our school, and the foundation of faith that we live in and out of school.”

From the PAW Staff: New year, new PAW

The 2013-14 PAW staff (as of Wednesday, August 28)
The 2013-14 PAW staff (as of Wednesday, August 28)

Get ready PA, The PAW is back and better than ever, with some big changes to our publication. For starters, you may have noticed our brand-new website, which is sleeker, more functional, and more user-friendly than the old site. (Big shout out to the fabulous Mr. Darren Rousar, who dedicated a lot of time and even more talent to make these improvements for us).

You also may have noticed The PAW’s increased presence around PA these first few weeks of school – get used to it! The PAW staff is busy planning contests, commercials, giveaways, and surprises for the student body that will continue throughout the school year.

And the final, most important improvement to The PAW? Well, with the PAW’s mission to provide complete, timely, and accurate information to the PA community in mind, this year the publication is going to take full advantage of what an online site allows. This means that we’ll have rolling publication of stories, updating the site multiple times a week (even every day!) rather than a once-a-month publication. We’ll also be implementing more videos, photos, graphs, and polls to really try to connect with and represent the PA student body.

As a staff, we’re capitalizing on these changes to continue to make The PAW a resource for information, a forum for ideas, and a place for students to have a voice. So speak up! Subscribe to us, send a letter to the editor, and contact us with your ideas for stories. We’re here to make the world among these yellow walls a better place, and we want your help.

PA’s construction could mean less parking availability

As Providence Academy students drive into school this year, they will look to the west and see a fenced off parking lot and bulldozers digging up the ground. In July, PA took its first step in the long awaited construction project. The financial gifts from PA families and the Make Your Mark – Build The Pride capital campaign made the construction possible.

The expansion is due to be ready by the end of the 2012-2014 school year, and will connect the current building to the future performing arts center.

The expansion will house a conference room, a gathering space for Middle Schoolers, office space for middle school and development staff, and a TV studio for the production of PA communications, student classes, and Providence eLearning products.

The construction has caused the west parking lot, mainly used by upper schoolers and parents, to shrink considerably in size and is likely to cause problems for those planning to park there. In addition, seniors will find it difficult to find a spot in the senior parking lot because the only access to the lot will be via the east driveway by the softball field.

As the class of 2014 is the largest graduating class in PA history, seniors will struggle to park in the north lot because spots will be more limited than they ever have been before.

Brenna Smith ’14 and Heather Leuer ’14 say they believe both the size of PA’s senior class and the construction will cause problems. They say they wish temporary parking would be available to better fit the needs of the seniors and the teachers that will be parking in the senior parking lot this school year.

Until then, though, they plan to arrive earlier at school to find a place for their cars.

“My plan is to get there early, grab some popcorn, and watch people fight,” Leuer said.

PA expands college counseling program with new hire

New college counselor, Mr. Brian Estrada

This year, Providence Academy welcomes a new college counselor. Mr. Brian Estrada comes to us from Hanover, New Hampshire and brings with him nine years of admissions experience.

Born and raised in Texas, Mr. Estrada attended Texas Christian University after high school. As a baritone player, he planned on majoring in Music Performance but graduated a Political Science major.

“On my first day of classes as a TCU music major, I went to music theory and ear training and I had this gut feeling that ‘the other people in this room are much more passionate about music than me,’” he said.

Though disheartening, Mr. Estrada assures us that he played in the marching band all four years.

After his time at TCU, he attended Indiana University where he earned his Masters in Education and shortly after was hired in Nashville, Tennessee.

In Nashville, he worked for Vanderbilt University as an admissions counselor for 4 years starting in 2004. Shortly thereafter he moved to Hanover where he represented Dartmouth College for 5 years.

When asked why he decided to enter the world of college admissions Mr. Estrada said, “It seemed like the most interesting. The job of a college admissions representative is tied very closely to the goals of an institution.”

He was also attracted to the travel, application review, and public speaking necessary in the field.

As an admissions rep, Mr. Estrada read at least 15,00 essays. Though he can’t recall one essay as being the most memorable, he does remember a few that stood out as very funny, poignant, or confidential.

Though he does not carry the formula for creating the perfect admissions essay, Mr. Estrada is excited to begin working with Providence Academy students.

He first visited Providence in 2007. When at Vanderbilt he recruited from Minnesota and was invited by PA Director of Admissions, Mrs. Sarah Hogan, to speak at Junior College Night.

“As a Catholic admissions counselor, my first thought was, ‘How did I not know about this place?’… As an admissions counselor visiting a beautiful school with great students, I had very strong feelings for Providence even as I left for Dartmouth,” said Mr. Estrada.

Now settling down in Minnesota, Mr. Estrada has already begun working with students. This year he will meet with 25% of the seniors and 50% of the sophomores.

Both Mr. Estrada and Mrs. Walker are hopeful that the addition of another counselor will allow the expansion of the College Counseling program to freshman and sophomores as well.