GA's 2019 varsity volleyball team earned the United States Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award.This award honors teams who have matched their dedication to the sport of volleyball with excellence in the classroom. Teams must maintain a year-long grade-point average of 3.30 on a 4.0 scale or 4.10 on a 5.0 scale to earn this honor. This was not a first for the GAtors, they have claimed this honor since 2015!
GA’s Binney H. ’20, earned All American Honors from US Squash. A four year veteran, and this year’s co-captain, Binney has racked up 12 titles in storied varsity A career at GA – 4 FAA League Championships, 4 New England Championships, and 4 National Championships. Actually, it is a lucky 13 when counting the Middle School Championship won as an 8th grader. The All American honor is one more illustration of this student-athlete’s ability to play at the highest level as it recognizes "junior players who have reached a pinnacle of accomplishment in junior tournament competition or high school league play. Recipients include the top four ranked players in the boys’ and girls’ U17, and the top eight ranked players in the U19 divisions and those voted on by high school leagues and coaches." Binney represents the U19 division and we could not be more proud of and for her!
While they already had great coverage in the Greenwich Time, the seniors on this year’s varsity A lacrosse team deserve some more press! Truly this group is an Elite Eight! Led by captains Tessa B. and Taylor L., the team was poised to play their best with their most demanding schedule to date. Brooks shared that what she was most looking forward to was “...continuing the bonds formed with teammates from previous years as well as form new bonds with people new to the team.” Additionally, what she has learned from being on this team is “selflessness, the ability to put the team first, the importance of setting goals, strength in vulnerability.” Tessa has also personified her her favorite quote: "hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard." Taylor is grateful for all that she has learned being on the team and for the leadership from coaches Melissa Anderson and Katie Johnson. Binney H., a squash captain this winter, would give the following advice to younger players on the team, “...it’s easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself and overthink how you should be performing. I would say to try your best to stay away from those thoughts and instead of putting that pressure on yourself, lean on your teammates and coaches because everyone should be working as one out on the field.” Some expert advice! Classmate Eliza B. gave the following tips to the team’s newcomers “...never take a single moment for granted. Thinking about every minute of defensive footwork, competitive box, or freezing practice, there’s nowhere I’d rather be right now than on the turf doing just that.” Between the pipes goalkeeper Cate S. was “...extremely saddened by the circumstances we have found our season in” but is so thankful for her experience on GA lacrosse, “not a moment playing the game, not in goal, not after a win, but with the team, just happy to be together.” Unquestionably, Kayla T. Grace. S., Katie G. were looking to have their best season yet having seen such strong potential after playing in an indoor tournament this past winter in PA. The team has maintained connection over Zoom and, stayed fit for a cause running a total of 1,864 miles while participating in Yards for Yeardley. While we will all regret not seeing this group compete this spring, their athletic careers are not over as they are all going to compete collegiately -- Tessa and Katie will play lacrosse at Georgetown, Eliza at Johns Hopkins, Kayla at Notre Dame and Taylor at Yale. Binney will take her squash skills to Harvard and Grace will tear it up on the field hockey field at Princeton. They will, however, always be GAtors!
This week’s senior spotlight shines on the skippers and crew of the sailing team! Whether at the tiller of a 420 or handling the jib of a FJ, Grace A., Mihika J. and Lily S. have had some great memories on the water. For Lily, the sailing team has been her “safest and happiest place” at GA since she arrived. And for her, it is not just about competing and seeing a GA boat cross the line first, but often it was the time off of the water whether in the bus traveling home after a cold day at a regatta or chilling on the dock under the sun. Like her classmates, she was looking forward to what had the potential to be the team’s most successful season to date. Lily cited her growth as a sailor due to “focus, determination, deep breaths, and endless support from my teammates and coaches.” Lily’s advice to the younger sailors on the team is “don’t sweat the small stuff” and, perhaps more importantly, “treasure the time you spend with your teammates. They are your biggest fans and best coaches, and the time you spend together is so, so special.” For Mihika, one of her favorite memories was being up in Brunswick, Maine for the Herreshoff finals -- not just that the team exceeded their expectations but remembering that it may have been their cheerleading routines practiced at the hotel that may have given them the extra lift. Like Lily, Mihika was looking forward to her final season and the anticipation and hopes that came with it. The sailing team “gave Mihika another family, and taught her a lot about trust.” Her advice to the younger sailors on the team is to “not take any moment for granted. Make every practice and race like it’s your last because you never know if it will be.” With some new found time during distance learning, Mihika is trying out her culinary skills, she reports that she is “cooking, or at least I am trying to.” Grace has been competing on the team since she was in 8th grade and her favorite memory is of a “Super Saturday” when she was in Group X, the day was full of brutal conditions but she and the team got through it. Like Lily and Mihika, Grace was really looking forward to improving upon last year’s performance at the Herreshoffs. Being on the team has taught her the importance of team spirit -- that in order for the team to succeed, boat by boat, everyone has to be on the same page through constant and fast communication. And it is this togetherness and spirit that has allowed them to “work effectively together.” Grace’s advice to the younger sailors is to “not be afraid to ask for help. High school sailing is drastically different from club sailing, and even experienced sailors face a bit of a learning curve at the beginning. It can seem overwhelming. My advice would be to focus on the small things; on focusing on just getting better at one thing every time you go out. Other people on the team also want to help you, so don't be afraid to ask. Oftentimes your crew/skipper is the best coach you could have since they're in the boat with you, so don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.”
Our first senior spotlight will be shining on the water polo team! Senior captain Kayla Y. was looking forward to her 4th year on the squad and, ideally, her 4th New England Championship! Teammate and classmate Francesca S. was eager to transfer her sharp shooting skills from the basketball court to the pool. Some of Kayla’s favorite memories were, of all things, bus rides! She shared, “all too many times I chose to take the bus home after games as well, even though my parents made the 2 hour drive each way to watch the game, and I never second guessed that decision.” While away from the pool she is still leading the team by keeping contact and motivating them through virtual workouts and team dinners. Being a member of the team has taught her about leadership, “to be more outgoing, to take in criticism and adjust to my ways, and to provide confidence to my teammates when they need it. I will forever be thankful for these lessons and will hold onto them as I embark on my journey playing college water polo.” When asked what advice she would give to younger players on the team she would advise that “the saying ‘you don't truly know what you're missing until it's gone’ is an understatement. The point I am making is that there is no better time than now to give it your all and to push yourself in and out of the athletic setting.” Distance learning has been an adjustment for everyone and, for Kayla, she has used some of this new-found time to rekindle her coloring book skills! And, “on a more serious note, I have learned to be more patient with this experience as it is new to everyone and remain optimistic for the future.” And Kayla’s future looks bright! She will be heading to Princeton to play water polo where her GA and US team experience is sure to be welcomed by the Tigers.