Spring Athletics Pop At Parker

With Class Day less than a week away, we reflect upon the recent spring athletics season. Enjoy these season recaps provided by our coaches!

Upper School Girls’ Varsity and Junior Varsity Soccer
Head Coach Neil Curran and Assistant Coaches Siobhan Allen, Dylan Pender and Patrick Stanton
This year‘s girls’ soccer season was up and down. On the Varsity side, the girls raced out to a 7-2-1 record before April recess. With an intense schedule after the break including games against state runner up North Shore Country Day and fourth-place state finisher U-High, the team struggled to stay on their winning path. A rash of injuries further exacerbated this struggle, affecting six varsity starters across several games. The girls, however, turned things around, ending on a high by winning regionals for the fourth season in a row. Next year’s Varsity team will include 9 of 11 starters this year and will be recharged by a Junior Varsity team that closed out the season losing only two games across a very intense schedule.

Upper School Boys’ Varsity Baseball
Head Coach Justin Taylor and Assistant Coach Zachary Krisciunas
After losing six seniors, the Varsity baseball team knew it would face a rebuilding year. Several student-athletes spent significant time working off season, which resulted in marked improvements, specifically on the base paths. We surpassed last year’s stolen base total within the first three games. Despite the many improvements, it was a tough season as we played a few teams out of our conference known for having strong baseball programs. We held our own during those games, however, and I am happy with the way the guys played. They never gave up.

Toward the end of the season, the team really began to come together. We hung in against some tough teams and ultimately played for another regional championship. We were two outs away from winning that title again against the number one overall ranked team in our bracket. We fell short in heartbreaking fashion.

We coached life lessons all season long, including during our last game. When things are going well in life, sometimes things happen that will put us down. Good players/people will always find a way to battle back and learn from those experiences. We ride this roller coaster of life just like in baseball. From inning to inning and game to game, things won’t go as planned, but we did a great job adjusting. We set up the kids to take everything we learned this season and carry those things with them for the rest of their lives.

I couldn’t be more proud of and happy with our guys. We had some fun and some bad moments, but ultimately had countless learning experiences.

Upper School Boys’ Junior Varsity Baseball
Head Coach Willie Banks and Assistant Coach Tim O'Connor
The Junior Varsity baseball team had a mixture of experienced and inexperienced players. One of the team’s goals was to learn the game and apply that knowledge in game situations. There were highlights, growing pains and must-see games throughout the season. One of the biggest highlights was when we were down 12–3 against Morgan Park Academy and pulled the game out in the last inning, winning 14–13. The players were enthusiastic during our practices and brought the same energy to each game.

At the JV level, players should take more risks and learn different positions. It was a proud moment for the coaching staff to see multiple players try different positions this season. Overall, the season was about learning and improving, and we did just that. Go, Colonels.

Upper School Girls’ Varsity Softball
Head Coach Alix King and Assistant Coach Mike Mahany
This season, the Girls’ Varsity Softball team had their ups and downs. We started the season strong. The improvements during the summer impressed all of the coaches. However, due to the unpredictable weather throughout the season, we had many indoor practices and not many games. Unfortunately, the weather left us with many games to fit in during our final weeks, which did not allow much of a practice schedule, when we could have used it to further hone our skills. We ended the season 5-9. Unfortunately, those numbers do not show how competitive we were throughout each game.

Despite these circumstances, we never gave up, and the girls came together during the tough games and pulled through. The girls learned how to work as a team, build each other up and cheer each other on. They are a young team and with hard work can do great things. Next year, we hope the weather plays in our favor. I look forward to the seasons to come and to watching them grow as individuals and as a team.

Upper School Boys’ Varsity Tennis
Head Coach Jon Hall Bryant and Assistant Coach Amir James
This season, the Varsity tennis team aimed to improve on its 8-6 record from last year, a tough task as several key players from had graduated. That said, the young team responded well and finished with a 10-5 record. This was the team’s first season with double-digit wins in three years. The team also performed well in conference, finishing third with a 4-2 conference record. Given the successes of this young Varsity squad, the future is looking very bright for Parker tennis.

Upper School Boys’ Junior Varsity Tennis
Head Coach Amir James
This year, the JV Tennis team experienced a highly successful season, despite what our record may have indicated. The majority of the team consisted of freshmen, many of whom had little prior experience playing tennis. Additionally, we had one of the largest turnouts in recent years, which made for a robust JV tennis squad. We endured some complications with such a large team, but we worked hard to ensure equal playing time and fun for all participants. As far as performance, tennis ability varied, but each participant pushed through intense circumstances, applying skills learned during practice. As mentioned, we did not have the best record, but as a team we learned and hopefully can build from this year to make the necessary improvements for next season.

Upper School Coed Track and Field
Head Coach Brett Laoruangroch and Assistant Coaches Caleb Flack and Jeremy Anciete
The Parker Track and Field program completed the season in high spirits. In four of the last five years, we have been gifted with the ability to bring an athlete to the state final. I believe this has brought new light to the program as there are more individuals becoming interested in the sport. Parker alum Caleb Flack ’12 joined our coaching staff this season and has proven that he has the knowledge and intuition to bring out the potential in our students. Jeremy Anciete continues to keep our athletes in peak form with his strength, conditioning and recovery plans. The coaching staff is grateful to have such a great group of student-athletes. The sweat and countless miles logged have proven well worth it as they achieved great results toward the end of the season. We will be graduating six seniors, which will be a heavy loss. Jeremy, Caleb and I wish them the very best and hope they continue running in college.

Middle School Girls’ 6th Grade Girls Soccer

Head Coach Jonathan Utley and Assistant Coach Marisela Palma
The 17 girls who comprised the 6th grade girls’ soccer team this spring had every reason to feel frustrated. Spring never came so they trained and competed in near-freezing weather, once even during a brief hail storm. In one match, we were able to field only nine athletes rather than the usual 11 players. In another match, we got off the bus to discover that our opponents had only seven players so we played them 7v7.

Though competitive in every match, these young athletes suffered the heartbreak of giving up the deciding goal with only seconds to play or watching their game-deciding shot hit the crossbar and not go in or even having a goal disallowed by the referee who was shielded from seeing what everyone else saw, a good goal.

None of this wore down this team. Their energy, enthusiasm and positive attitude persisted through every setback. Perhaps it was because they saw how much their ability to play the game was growing. Or perhaps it was because they were just having fun. At the end of the season, the dominant feeling was, “Can’t this go on a little longer?”.

Middle School Girls’ 7th and 8th Grade Soccer
Head Coach Zac Ginsburg and Assistant Coach Noah Wolff
We decided to combine the 7th and 8th grade girls’ soccer teams this spring, which proved to be a great decision. During the course of the season, the girls learned how to play with new teammates and forged new friendships. They worked hard in practice and matches to become a cohesive team, and each player understood her role on the field. They improved steadily throughout the season, and we owe our 10-1-2 record to their dedication, teamwork and positive attitudes. It was a joy to coach the 7th and 8th grade girls’ soccer team.

Middle School 7th and 8th Grade Boys’ Baseball
Head Coach Jerrick McGee and Assistant Coaches Dave Clisham and Chris Neff
The 2018 spring season for a combined 7th and 8th grade baseball team was a joy to be a part of. While our team was split 50/50 with 7th and 8th grade students, our roster was rather large at 19 players. We played in the 8th grade league and held our own. There were a couple of games when we were overmatched, but for the most part, we were competitive throughout the season. We had between 9 and 15 players for each game, and while it was tough to play with a larger roster, the coaches feel the experience for all players was beneficial.

Players were allowed to play around the field, and the focus was on getting better each day as opposed to concentrating on the score. Our practices were mostly indoors, and many games were cancelled, but we feel we accomplished many good things and grew as players and a team. Sportsmanship was something we were striving for, and in the end, we were receptive to one another as a team. With a combined 7th and 8th grade team, the coaches feared there could be some exclusivity among the grades, and we were happy this never was the case. The 8th grade students led by example, and there was an inclusive atmosphere throughout the team.

In addition to continued improvement with pitching, fielding and hitting, the most impressive part of being around this group was watching the ways each team member showed leadership, sportsmanship and respect for teammates and the coaching staff, as well as the ways they handled adversity and competed on the field.

Middle School Coed Track and Field
Head Coach Minnie Choudhury and Assistant Coach Phenice Williams
Middle School Track and Field had an exceptional season. A record 35 students participated this year. We competed in four meets, and almost all our athletes improved their times and set in-season personal bests. More than a dozen won podium placements. And at our final meet, our 7th and 8th grade ladies’ overall score across five events won them 2nd place against a large and tough field!

I am proud of each and every one of our athletes for the hard work and great attitude that they brought every day this season. Even though the weather did not cooperate very often, our athletes ran outdoors, on the track, and with a smile—rain, snow or shine. They challenged themselves, had a lot of fun and achieved tremendous success!
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.