JWMS Spring Season Sports 2019
During the Spring 2019 softball season, the team was comprised of 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Over the course of the year the girls worked on skills such as throwing, catching, basic hitting skills, base running, and learning the rules of softball. We played a competitive schedule against teams such Kreps, Lawrence, and Thomas Grover. These teams played at a very high level and though these games were difficult to compete in, our girls learned from watching and playing against the competitive teams. We also had opportunities to compete against school such as Community, PDS, and (hopefully no rain next year) Cranbury. Though we ran into some weather issues this year, our girls enjoyed playing teams at a similar skill level to theirs. The girls really enjoyed these games as it gave them a chance to win and a better chance to practice their hitting and fielding skills. The girls worked hard all season and it showed when we played PDS. JW won the game 11-6 behind the pitching of one of our 7th graders. The game was intense at times as both teams went back and forth scoring runs, but ultimately we came out on the top. The girls were very proud of themselves and all of the hard work they had put in throughout the season. The girls were able to showcase their skills in multiple at bats, key defensive outs, and even making a double play. Throughout the season Monica Blake and I worked hard to mix girls in and out of the line up to give each give game time experience. Ever girl on the roster was given opportunities to have at bats, play in the field, and base run. Overall, the season was filled with opportunities for learning, skill building, and fun for the players and coaches.
The John Witherspoon Boys’ Lacrosse Team had a fun and successful season under coaches Lawrence Robtison and Justin Mathews. The team finished 2-10 with wins over Millstone and Stonebridge. The team was led by eighth graders Bradley Berde, Risshabh Bhardwaj, William Donis-Yuman, Allen Gu, Jack Serxner, and Gabe Silverstein. The top scorer and Offensive MVP for the team was Patrick Kenah with a team high 18 goals and 6 assists on the season. Patrick also led the team this year in ground balls with 66. Risshabh Bhardwaj earned Defensive MVP honors for collecting 10 Ground Balls and being a physical and vocal leader on Defense. Other offensive leaders included Gabe Silverstein with 7 goals, 4 assists, and 22 ground balls; Jason Singer with 4 goals, 2 assists, and 14 ground balls; Kian Bragg with 1 goal, 3 assists, and 7 ground balls; and Robbie Sifon with 5 goals, 38 ground balls, and a team high 32 face-offs. Braden Barlag and Will Renda both earned 6th Grade Rookie of the Year honors. Braden had 1 assist, 12 ground balls, and 1 face-off. Will had 2 assists and 16 ground balls. The defense was anchored by goalie Rory Dobson who had 77 saves. Owen Brown, Brooks Cahill-Sanidas, Isaiah Potocny, and Leo Sarett also added strong defense for JW. The highlight of the season was the overtime game against Princeton Day School. JW lost in sudden death after coming back to tie the game in the last minute of regulation. The boys had a successful and rewarding year and we look forward to 2020. Good luck to all the graduating eighth graders!
The Girls Lacrosse team had a competitive season. Girls played various positions, allowing them to grow and learn. No girls were cut from the program, as we chose to make this season a feeder program. Attendance was high, morale was high, and unity was strong. Each girl improved and worked to get better each practice and every game. Girls did not sit on the bench, they were all worked into games. The A team finished with 6 wins and the B team won every game. While some girls were more dominant than others, rotating positions, subbing, and stressing the importance of strong assists, allowed all players opportunities to impact the game. Caitlin and I forged a strong relationship with parents and Rec lacrosse coaches. All stakeholders are looking forward to working together to figure out a way to coexist. The school game and practice schedule combined with the rec and travel team schedules are proving to be too overwhelming for our young athletes as several suffered foot and heel injuries in the final weeks. Rec coaches reached out regarding attendance problems from their end and several times we worked together to allow girls to miss practice to attend a rec game/practice. A few athletes confided in me that they would not be picking up a stick for their high school team as they would instead commit solely to travel. This seems to a concerning problem among many top-notch high school programs throughout this area and Pennsylvania. I am sure it reaches further. In a district where we stress health and wellness, I wonder how we can better equip our athletes, as this is a pervasive issue in sports today. Moving forward, I look forward to continuing conversations with our local and travel coaches to find better ways to manage a rigorous middle school schedule combined with a rigorous Travel and Rec schedule, that in the end is leading to overuse injuries, and stress. All in all, Caitlin and I worked hard to maintain health and wellness for our athletes. Our Girls competed at a high level with excellent sportsmanship against some teams that earned several cards for poor sportsmanship. We created open lines of communication in the community and incorporated the "fun" which should be the top priority at this age. The minute the "fun" lacks at this young and vulnerable age, is the minute we burn our kids out early. The moment we cut and turn new players away is the moment we lose sight of the importance of youth sports. Thank you all for supporting our coaching this season. Thank you for allowing us to run our program the way we saw best for our athletes. We look forward to working together again.
by Kelly Riely
Track and Field:
Sprints & Distance by Dan Lee & Amber Rylak
The boys and girls distance athletes did a tremendous job this season, improving significantly from last year. In the 1600m, both boys and girls earned about 84% of the points possible for the season, while earning 62% and 71% in the boys and girls 800m events. Some outstanding times were ran this year in the 1600 meter run as Marty Brophy ran 5:10 and for the girls Stella Miner ran a 5:18. The distance program continues to be a big strength for the track and field program. Overall, we are a very young team having about 66 six graders. We look forward to training as we build stronger each year, seeing the athletes grow and improve setting new personal bests! Our sprinters and hurdlers also did a fantastic job this season. We had a boy run under 60 seconds in the 400m, and a girl run under 70 seconds in the 400m. Macayla Rodriguez won every race she ran in in the 100m and 200m, and Justin Musylimi won every 100m and 200m race he ran in. Katherine Monroe broke the school record in the hurdles, while Nick Niforatos broke the school record as well! Players on team A– 92, players on team B- 39.
The Middle School baseball team had a very fun and competitive season. The boys did a great job developing skills (hitting, pitching and fielding) and coming together as a team with high moral and great enthusiasm. It was a pleasure coaching this group of young men as I saw each athlete get better and have fun. The team was constructed of 6th, 7th and 8th graders and we practiced daily at smoyer park. Some highlights of the year were beating rivals Cranberry and PDS, with a lot of our players knowing the other team members, these games were very important for moral. Overall the middle school baseball team had a great season and we wish the 8th grader’s best of luck in their future endeavors as well as look forward to continuing to develop the underclassmen.