Record-setting spring teams continue the tradition of excellence for WRA Athletics; Two students earn Gold Medal Awards.
Sunny skies surrounded the Chapel on Tuesday afternoon as the spring athletic teams met to commemorate the many milestones of the season.
While spring student-athletes may have experienced a shorter season in duration, they certainly made up for springtime's brevity by cherishing every opportunity to grow and compete.
"I'm grateful to be here with you today, celebrating our another chapter of WRA athletics," opened Pete Hutchins, Director of Athletics. "I want to start by sharing a quote with you from Bob Cousy, who once said, 'Sports create a bond between contemporaries that lasts a lifetime. It also gives your life structure, discipline, and a genuine, sincere, pure fulfillment that few other areas of endeavor provide.'"
Hutchins emphasized how evident this is within the athletic programs at WRA, and he went on to thank the many coaches, trainers, parents, volunteers and faculty who work behind the scenes to make each athletic season happen.
Coaches and athletes from 8 teams were in attendance to share their Spring 2022 experiences with the WRA community, including Baseball, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse, Boys Tennis, Softball, Boys Volleyball, Track & Field and Esports.
Each team practiced, competed and grew in what was another very successful span of Reserve Athletics. Some highlights worth noting include a 15-3 record for Boys Lacrosse during the regular season, the best Boys Volleyball record in the region at 14-4, an overtime win for Girls Lacrosse over Laurel School and dozens of personal best performances across each sport.
This spring ushered in a new era of outdoor Track & Field with Head Coach Dr. Erik Chaput at the helm. Throughout an exciting season, the program saw two new school records, a meet record set by team MVP Jordanne Nichols '23 at the Mayfield Invitational and countless individual records broken.
Softball also welcomed in a new head coach in Lauren Polak. The team's biggest obstacle this season was the weather, but Polak led the squad through a gauntlet of delays and cancellations to outscore their opponents by an aggregate of 89-58.
The ceremony provided a glimpse of the students that make up the heart and soul of each team. In addition to MVP, MIP and Spirit Awards, a few special named awards were bestowed upon spring student-athletes. For Baseball, the E. Michael House Spirit Award went to Mark Serdinak '22, and Esme Cummins '22 received the Carl M. Basnett Award for Track & Field.
In total, 33 Pioneers were awarded plaques of special recognition by their coaches. A common thread between the award winners came down to their attitude – their ability to respond to adversity and contribute to the success of the team.
As coaches handed out the awards to their outstanding student-athletes, bittersweet emotions ran high. The proud affection for each player and program was evident, but so was the reality that many graduating seniors will leave tremendous shoes (or cleats) to fill.
Two such senior athletes became the most recent recipients of the revered Gold Medal Award: Blake Eiland '22 and Josie Spano '22.
A standout on the Boys Lacrosse team, Eiland served as a 2022 team captain and was a dominant force in the midfield for the past two seasons at WRA. Next year, the 2x All-American will don scarlet and gray to play lacrosse for The Ohio State University.
Spano, a captain and pitcher for Softball, was the leading hitter for the team and a fundamental part of the team's success. Only the third WRA Softball player in history to receive a Gold Medal, she is committed to join the Golden Knights of Gannon University next year to play softball and study Pre-Physical Therapy.
Overall, the Spring Athletic Awards were the perfect way to recognize the leadership, determination and excellence shown by Pioneer student-athletes this spring season. Though this chapter is closing for the Class of 2022, the memories made on the fields, courts and track will last a lifetime.
Congratulations to our spring student-athletes! See the full list of awardees here.