Since the first day of school, Archer’s athletes have jumped in feet first for the Fall Season— though maybe not for swim. Both middle school and upper school have been in training for a month, and as Archer does, started off with a bang.
With 5 sports and 12 teams, Athletic Director Denny Lennon and the rest of the coaches are very busy. New coaches and aspiring athletes have been working hard to represent Archer for the season.
Two-time league champions that they are, the Middle School Swim Team has a reputation. With 23 girls it is the second biggest team this fall, and as they compete for their third title Archer will continue to support them all the way.
Their first meet was Sept. 17 at Crossroads, a Pacific Basin League rival. Coach Stephanie Ferri said, “It [was] the first good telltale sign of where we stand in our league.” She added, “The meet went great. We had several first places and personal best times. While we don’t keep score at league meets the team shows a lot of promise for another championship!”
Coach Ferri is as excited for the season as her girls are. She is ready to lead them to victory. Summer DeVara ’18 and Saskia-Wong Smith ’18 are two of the team’s best swimmers according to Ferri, and are also the team captains. Both are in eighth grade.
Usually new coaches take time to adjust to the Panther way, but new tennis coach Keith Coleman is an exception. Gabrielle Sumpter ‘16 says, “He cares about all of us improving and having fun versus winning. He pays close attention to each girl and helps her with her game. He is also really funny. I’m glad he joined the Archer Team!”
The tennis team is very group-oriented and prepared to take on the Liberty League one serve at time. Both JV and Varsity practice together. They do not have official captains; instead, they all work and support each other. However, the seniors still take the lead when needed.
There are 18 girls total on the team and, like swim, they practice off-campus. Their game on September 19 against Oakwood was a success. They won overall, and the girls were very excited.
Similar to tennis, the Upper School and Middle School Cross Country Teams practice together. Although the teams compete on different days, it is during practice when both teams challenge each other.
New head coach Amelia Mathis has taken to the position gracefully. With 27 girls on both teams, cross country is the biggest team this season. And though the transition from Coach Amelia to Coach Mathis is taking a while, there is progress. In addition to being head coach she has taken Andy Callender under her wing. Coach Callender has been challenging the girls and a helpful part of the training process.
Captain and only senior on the team Tara DiMaio ’14 continues to be a motivational teammate and strong runner. At Upper School’s first meet in the Liberty League on the Sept. 12, Archer finished in third overall in Girls Varsity out of seven schools. The Middle School team came in second at their first meet on Sept. 11 in the Coastal League.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Equestrian Team does not practice together. Their love of horses and the fact that they compete for Archer in the Interscholastic Equestrian League(IEL), is bond enough for this year-round team.
The competitors are entered into one of four divisions; Novice, Freshman, JV, and Varsity. Points are awarded by how well each rider performs in each event in their division. All points are then added up for Archer’s total score.
The IEL has four competitions a year, the first being Sunday, October 27. It is an all-day event at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center. The team encourages and appreciates Archer community support. Seniors Emma Lapin ’14, Grace Piccard ’14, and Emily Piccard ’14 are the team captains.
Last but not least are the Volleyball Teams. With six teams this year volleyball is certainly a hit in the Archer world. There are three Middle School teams, a Freshman/ Sophomore team, the JV team, and then Varsity.
The Green Team with 13 girls is ready for whatever is thrown their way. Captain Catherine Oriel ’18 is working with Coach Morioka and Coach Gino Grajeda to make this team the best it can be.
The Purple Team had their first game on Sept. 19. Coach Alex Pegnato and her team started off the season well with a 2-0 win. The Archer community can’t wait to see how they continue throughout the season.
The last Middle School team is the sixth grade team. Coach Kristen Benjamin has been working with these girls and their first game was on September 23.
Now to Upper School—with ten girls, the Freshman/Sophomore team is on the smaller side, but it does not stop them in any way. Coaches Christine Lennon and Marlee Rice have taken on this team as well as the JV team, which has 12 girls, and they usually overlap when it comes to games.
Captains Carina Oriel ’16 and Zoe Pelikan ’17 are ready to move past their first two losses and fight through the next game for a win. JV captains Shishi Shomloo ’15 and Hillary O’Connor ’15 are excited for the season that is well on its way. With three wins and two losses, these girls are ready for the next round.
The varsity team is led by captains Kirsten Avila ’14 and Maia Barnett ’14 and coaches Jonathan Lotz and Anthony Mezzavilla. The team is ready for a great season. They wouldn’t let their first loss affect them—their next two home games were victories that they hope will propel them to the top of the Liberty League.
As the Fall Sports Season continues, be reminded Panther athletes and supporters of a quote from revered Coach John Wooden: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”
Featured Image: A middle school Archer volleyball team huddles during a game. Photographer: Marcela Riddick ’16