Winter sports season starts

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Photo courtesy of lifetouch

Spring-Ford’s Nate Santiago shoots the basketball during a game against Owen J Roberts earlier this season.

Staff Report

It was just three days before the COVID-19 lockdown when the Spring-Ford girls basketball team last stepped on the court together. Fueled by their third-straight PAC championship and a 22-5 record, the Rams were riding high into the District One and PIAA state tournaments. Two consecutive losses in districts placed them fourth in the tournament, however, and a second round defeat to Cardinal O’Hara put an abrupt end to still a remarkable season.

Now the Rams, through several postponements due to COVID-19 restrictions, are finally able to start their 2020-2021 season.

Spring-Ford is the favorite to win the PAC title as they look to capitalize on star Lucy Olsen’s senior season. Unfortunately, the PAC title will look a little different this season, where a first-place finish is based on the team’s regular season record in a league-only schedule. However, districts as well as state tournaments will still be played, so a respectable finish will net the Rams a chance at tournament play.

This year’s Rams feature a balanced attack headlined by star players. The aforementioned Olsen — a 2019-20 All-State first-team player and All-Area Player of the Year — looks to build on her record-breaking campaign from last winter, in which she poured in 19.3 points per game for a total of 543 points. Seniors Abbey Boyer, Emily Tiffan, Mack Maloney, and Hailey Hudak are also crucial components to this great team, with their senior leadership surely being needed if the Rams want to dominate the conference once again.

The Rams will open up their league play only season in an away match against Methacton. The Warriors could be the Rams biggest threat in the conference this year, as Methacton narrowly fell to the Rams in the previous year’s PAC championship by a score of 47-39. Setting the tone early with a statement victory in the opener (in an away game) will surely be a great way to start off the year.

— By Andrew Eross

IN OTHER WINTER SPORTS: 

BOYS BASKETBALL 

After having a successful season last year that saw the Rams reach the PAC semifinals and the second round of the District 1-6A tournament, the Rams look to build off their success from last season.

A year ago the Rams ended their season with a tough scrappy game against Bensalem, one of the top teams in the district. While the Rams fought hard and made a second-half comeback, it was not enough as Bensalem was able to hold off the Rams and win 48-45.

While there is some uncertainty due to the loss of top seniors last year including Tre Medearis and Pat Kovaleski, the Rams are retaining some key players from last year’s team, including Zack Skrocki, who averaged 10.2 points per game, and sharpshooter Nate Santiago. 

“We’re returning Zack Skrocki who was an all league player last year,” Santiago said. “We have two solid big men in Gavin Schauder and Jake Kressley, so with them we look to get it in the post and get offensive rebounds as well. And then on the wings you have Tyler Irby and I, so we try to space the floor well and create open shots for our teammates.”

This season will be more difficult, though, with the limited practices and the uncertainty of how the season will play out during COVID-19 limitations. 

Santiago, for one, is ready.

“Don’t take anything for granted,” Santiago said. “We could go to practice or play a game and then the next day get shut down. We just have to live in the moment and go out there and give it our all.”

Last year the Rams finished with a record of 17-10, due to the shortened season the Rams will not be playing as many games as last year — making each of the games they do play this year all-the-more important.

“Every game is important, we just got to take it game by game and day by day,” Santiago said. “If we lose a game, we can’t look back and put our heads down. We have to go over film, practice hard, and move on to the next game.”

Due to the pandemic, there will not be PAC playoffs as there have been in years past. Just like fall sports, the PAC team with the best league record will be crowned champs.

— By John Zawislak

WRESTLING

Spring-Ford wrestled its way to a Pioneer Athletic Conference championship, District One Class AAA Duals championship, and the PIAA AAA  State Duals Quarterfinals in arguably one of the most successful team seasons ever for the 19-3 Rams. 

Senior state medalists Jack McGill and Joey Milano lead the way in the Rams’ return this winter. Milano grabbed fourth place at Hershey in the state tournament and McGill earned seventh last year. Cole Smith, Quinn Smith, Aidan Phalen, Gus Carfagno, Zach Needles, and Xavier Cushman also return as starters for the defending PAC champs. 

The wrestling team’s warmup shirts throughout the year will have the logo “LC- 195” to honor the memory of graduate Louis Carbajal, who tragically died following an automobile accident over the summer. The logo honors the 2020 state medalist’s initials and weight class he wrestled last season.

— By Anthony Goldsmith

SWIMMING

Despite all of the uncertainty within the current world, one thing is for sure – the Spring-Ford Swim Team will give it their all this season.

COVID-19 has ripped away the seasons of millions of student athletes across the nation. Albeit shorter than usual and consisting of a plethora of new safety policies, the Spring-Ford swim team has started its season. Countless changes have been made such as limiting the quantity of individuals that can be together during practices and meets. This alteration, among many, has left an impact that senior swimmer Santiago Sosa can’t help but feel.

“I can see the missing motivations at times and discipline that is usually around,” Sosa said.

Although the unprecedented time we are living in has made it more difficult than ever for the swim team to bond as a unit, the team is more dedicated to prevail.

“We have been working harder mentally and physically to get things done in a much shorter time period” Sosa said.

This group of resilient Rams are hoping to improve on an extremely solid previous season for both the boys and girls team.

The girls swim team ended 2020 with a very credible 8-1-1 PAC record last season. The second-place campaign was capped off by nearly knocking off OJR from taking a fourth-straight PAC Championship. The strong season the Rams completed last year will be difficult to repeat, but the likes of senior Kasey Linton and sophomore Maris Sadowski look likely to pave the way.

The boys swim team finished just shy of an undefeated season, ending with an overall PAC record of 11-1 and finishing just behind Boyertown. Record-holding senior Brendan Baganski, along with senior Andrew Cubbler, are favorites to lead the Rams to success this season.

With both teams having high hopes for the upcoming season, team chemistry and unity are at the forefront for making these dreams possible.

“Our goal is to come together and uphold one another to grow the teams’ love for the sport and each other, even within the world we’re in today,” Sosa said. 

BOWLING

The Spring-Ford bowling team returns with a solid lineup, led by sophomore Mason Doan’s 232 average early on — posting a season-high 279 and a 300 game in practice.
Sophomore Coleman Rogers (190 average) and junior Jared Bowman (187) are also off to strong starts. Seniors Lauren Black (138) and Kayleigh Wolfe (122) are the leaders on the girls team.