As another cold winter winds down, it is time to start warming up with Blair baseball, lacrosse, softball, volleyball, tennis and gymnastics.
Varsity Girls' Softball
Varsity girls' softball coach Louis Hoelman believes people should expect good things from his girls. Last year the team won the division for the first time in 30 years. They graduated seven seniors, five of which are now playing in college. Three freshmen made the varsity team this year and are expected to get a good amount of playing time. The teams off-season workout has helped to get the players in great shape, so much that Hoelman said the only thing he believes the squad needs to work on is coming together as a team. With a strong defense and with junior Ellie Blalock leading freshmen Michielle Linford and Anne Denenburg in pitching, they should have little trouble on the field. The speed of the team is impressive this year and Hoelman said this will help them take advantage of the base paths. Hoelman is confident that senior captains Amy Ernst, Marianne Epstein, and Rebecca Feiden will help lead the team to many victories.
For more on the varsity softball team, go to Softball starts anew after its best season ever
Varsity Boys' Baseball
Varsity boys' baseball coach John MacDonald said that the disappointing season last year will not be repeated this season. "Even if we didn't have better hitters this year I think we would still hit better just because we didn't hit to our potential last year," MacDonald said. The "work ethic" has also been beneficial for the team, with many of the players working hard during the off-season. "This is the most dedication I've seen as a coach," MacDonald said. The team's dedication has made MacDonald confident that the team will work hard all season. The team has plenty of experience; senior captains Tom Foley and Sam Boone are both four-year varsity players, seniors Kent Anderson and Ian Scroggs have come back with plenty of varsity experience, and seniors Grant Staking and Jonas Wilson have contributed to many varsity games. Also, MacDonald believes sophomore Tommy Dugan will be a good addition to the team. Returning seven pitchers from last year should also be valuable.
For more on the varsity boys' baseball, go to Blazer sluggers look forward to 2004 campaign
The outdoor track team "will be good at any race they run," said coach Hugo Harrison. Despite graduating three girls that qualified for states and losing another to the girls' lacrosse team, coach Carl Lewin feels that the team has a good chance at winning many of the duel-meets this season and is hopeful about the team placing in counties, regionals, and states. Senior captains Alysia Isong and Matt Sheldon are leading the team's sprinters and distance runners respectively. Freshmen Halsey and Ashlyn Sinclair placed in four events in the Indoor State Championships and will no doubt bring in many points during the outdoor season. Seniors Esey Kidane and Sheldon have both ran sub-five minute miles recently, which should cap off the distance runners. Freshman Josh Uzzell also ran for the Indoor team and should be valuable as the season continues.
For more on the outdoor track team, go to Track ready for a fast start.
Girls' gymnastics coach Paul Belliveau describes his team as having a wide range of talent and experience. Senior captains Elizabeth Bryant and Amanda Allen are assisting Belliveau with the team. They hope to improve on "keeping calm, not falling off the balance beam, and concentration." The consistency the team has shown is remarkable, having great attendance at practice and keeping in shape by practicing with club teams during the off-season. Bryant believes the team is better than it was last year. The team's best events are the floor and the vault and their weaker events are the bars and the beam. With the new talent of highly ranked freshmen Lisa Wong and Nicole Poor, the team should thrive this season.
For more on the gymnastics team, go to Blair gymnastics stretched to new proportions.
JV Boys' Baseball
JV boys' baseball coach Richard Porac is optimistic about the spring season. Having four left-handed pitchers should prove to be a good asset to the team. The team has a total of eight pitchers, which should also help to keep the throwing intensity high throughout the games. The team lost six players to the varsity squad, but regardless of the team's inexperience, with ten freshmen, Porac has high hopes for the season. After working with the team last spring, Porac wants to "work on pitching and limiting the errors on the field. Over the next few weeks we should limit the mistakes and get the pitchers in shape," finishing by saying how the team struggled with those aspects last year.
JV Girls' Softball
JV girls' softball coach Kristin Werdann is very optimistic about the upcoming season. "The only thing I'm sure of is that we're going to have a great season," she said. Last year's captain Emily O'Brien notes that the freshmen coming into the team are strong, which is great considering that there are ten of them on the team. Speed is one aspect in particular that the girls excel at. Werdann also notes the solid defense that will no doubt contribute most to the team's efforts. There is also a good amount of leadership now that the five returning sophomores (Margot Pass, Stephanie Paul, Sara Wolk, Sara Pierce, and Emily May) have a year of experience behind them. The main concern is the team's pitching. Because May, who didn't pitch last year, will be doing most of the pitching, Werdann plans on working her extra hard so she is comfortable during upcoming matches.
After moving up to Division I and losing some key doubles players to graduation, the Blair tennis team is going to have a very different season from last year. The team lost two starting doubles players from last year, Sei-Wook and Ji-Heon Kim, who were huge contributors to the squad. However, according to coach David Ngbea, both older returners and new freshmen will more than make up for the disadvantage. With ten stellar freshmen on the team this year, Blair boys' tennis has a lot of potential. Both freshmen Eric Su and Hailiu Yang will be starters in the spring as doubles and singles players, respectively.
For more on the boys' tennis team, go to Boys' tennis preview
This year's girls' lacrosse might be the strongest lacrosse team we've had yet. With third year senior starter goalie Anna Benfield, returning lead scorer senior Mairead Hunter-Herbers, and rising attacker sophomores Diana Fry and Kiran Belani, not to mention all the mid-fielders, the team has enough force to lead them to be league leaders. And then there is the steadfast returning D-wings junior Lauren Finkle and sophomore Maddie Driskill to prevent avertable goals. Coach Michael Horne is excited about the season, deeming his team as a very competitive squad.
For more on the girls' lacrosse team, go to On the path to excellence.
Boys' lacrosse coach Robert Gibb feels a bond in this year's team that wasn't there before. "The problem with last year is the team just didn't have chemistry. The chemistry is what keeps them together. We have good chemistry this year," said Gibb. It's a good thing the team has chemistry because the team lost players in every position, four from defense alone. Gibb believes that captains Josh Gottlieb-Miller, Erik Kojola, Kyle Cohen, and Alex Berger have shown a lot of leadership during off-season by going to camps.
For more on the boys' lacrosse team, go to Boys' lacrosse in rebuilding stage
Boys' volleyball coach J.J. Rathnam is working his team hard for the upcoming season. According to Rathnam, the core of the team returned from last year. Senior James Gao and junior James Lee are strong and will bring in a lot of power to this year's team. Freshman Jay Chang will also start this year and is expected to be a good addition to the lineup. The Blair boys' volleyball team is one of the taller teams in the area, which should be advantageous. Luckily there were no injuries during the off-season to hinder players' intensity.
For more on the boys' volleyball team, go to Boys' v-ball veterans return.
Co-ed volleyball coach John Mott agrees with his four-year varsity player Amanda Hsiung that the team has changed a lot in the last year. The team had a remarkable 10-2 season last year and Hsiung is somewhat skeptical that that can be achieved again this year, calling this a "rebuilding season in many ways." All boys from last year graduated except for two, senior Jason Gordon and sophomore Austin Fang. Senior Rebecca Cho is expected to excel and bring some experience from previous years to the team. The team has potential for improvement in ball control and passing.
For more on the co-ed volleyball team, go to Co-ed set to play.
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