The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

Mikhail’s Rockin’ Sports Corner

Athletics Occur!
Photo credit: Jarin Pressman
The boys soccer team huddles before their game against Cristo Rey.

The fall sports season has begun, as preseason is behind us and the Homecoming excitement as well as the athletes’ preparation for sectional games and state championships await. On Monday August 7, the Parker soccer, field hockey, tennis, volleyball, golf, and cross country teams all began pre-season. In preparation for the season, athletes have attended practice at least once a day. 

A long-time veteran at Parker, Ellen Sandquist is an Assistant Athletic Director this year. Despite the challenging work and scheduling that has come along in athletics at Parker, Sandquist and the athletic crew have made significant improvements in adjusting to the new season. “Our homecoming is going to be bigger and better than ever. We are hoping to include as much as the community: lower school students, parents, and alumni to come to the homecoming event on Saturday, September 23,” Sandquist said.

The boys soccer team has come out very strong, as it looks like one of the most dominant teams the school has seen in years. “We foster a supportive and friendly environment. However, as a group we need to balance this with mental toughness,” Varsity Soccer Head Coach Neil Curran said. “The fooling around in practice is more demonstrative of a lack of focus during transition in games. That said, beginning this week we will implement a mental skills program for the boys with the focus on accountability and timing,” Curran said. Starting this season Curran is working alongside former Parker player Noah Wolf, whom he coached in high school. Curran is delighted to work alongside a former player with extensive knowledge of the game. “I am personally looking forward to coaching with Noah to watch his continued advancement as a coach. It is truly a gift to be a part of his development from player to coach,” Curran said. “What’s truly special about Noah is his soccer IQ. He excels at breaking down the more advanced concepts into simple teaching components for the guys. These qualities are what make him a truly excellent coach.” 

Entering his second year on the soccer team, sophomore Xavier Irons is excited to begin this new journey, armed with the valuable lessons he learned from his experiences on the field.

“My first year of Parker as a freshman was very scary at the start because it was a new school, and I didn’t know that many people,” Irons said. “Once I got acclimated and made friends it was less stressful and more fun.” Alongside the social life in Parker soccer, Irons also made sure to improve his technical skills.  “For this upcoming soccer season I prepared by going to the field near my house to practice, along with going to multiple soccer camps, including an overnight camp at Chicago Fire. The lessons I learned as a freshman that I remembered to take into sophomore year were: intention is everything, don’t be late, and always show up at least one percent  better than yesterday to improve,” Irons said. 

The girls field hockey team is led by senior captains Natalie Drake, Monet VanVooren, and Ellie Alden, and is coached by Misha Geller Warning. Junior Gemma Franco has admired the captains’ leadership throughout preseason. “The three captains bring so much energy and enthusiasm to all of our practices and games, which creates such a positive and fun environment,” Franco said. “They have done a great job leading our team through the start of our season and I can’t wait for the rest of the season!”

Senior and tennis captain Danni Kaplan is determined to lead and appreciate her last season on the tennis team. “I am sad that this season will be my last, but I’m glad that I get to lead the team. By planning team activities and implementing more tennis team traditions, it raises the team spirit. I try and create a fun environment for everyone and am soaking up all the team bonding and connecting with players,” Kaplan said. With new freshmen coming into high school tennis for the first time, Kaplan plans to help the underclassmen improve their skills and comfort. “As a captain, I try to include the younger team members so they feel more comfortable. Through team bonding and warm up activities, we got to know much more about each other, which betters our tennis game. I also love that I get to encourage my teammates and cheer them on during preseason and the regular season! We have the best team spirit and love being there for each other.”

Nathan Small, the former Middle School Cross Country Coach, is serving his first year as Upper School Cross Country Coach. “I am excited for the opportunity of coaching the high school cross country team,” Small said. “It feels good to have the support from the athletic administration and the student athletes, especially the returners that I get to coach again from middle school.”

Coach Small and Assistant Coach Jessica Freeman are introducing a strategic training approach for the season, ensuring the peak performance from the student-athletes towards the end. 

“Coach Freeman and I have implemented a strategic training approach to the season, where we want our student-athletes to be at their best towards the end of the season,” Small said. “We look forward to seeing the team’s individual and overall development throughout the season, while maintaining a fun and safe environment.”

The Parker volleyball team is back in action, led by first year coach Megan McCareins and captained by seniors Quinn Kass and Hanna Bilgin. “At the beginning of the season things started a little slow with acclimating to new coaches, practicing at Latin’s gym, and having to get back into shape. I’m really impressed with the team’s ability to work hard and stay positive. We have a lot of potential and a lot of underclassmen on the team are really stepping it up this season. I’m excited to see how the rest of the season plays out for us,” Kass said. 

The golf team began their training on August 7 lead by coach, Victoria Lee. “The coaching staff is good at making us all feel welcomed and try to get to know each member of the team and excel at trying to get new members out of their shell and also at finding ways for our large team to practice, even if not together,” said Gabriel Vilus, a student athlete on the team.

With new homecoming additions and numerous sectional and regional games to come for each sport, a fantastic fall season awaits the Parker community.  

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About the Contributor
Mikhail Satchu, Sports Editor
Mikhail is serving his third year in "The Weekly" as Sports Editor. He previously served as a Staff Writer and Brief Sports Writer. Outside of school, he likes to watch and play sports.