Sports Spotlight: Big Blue Gears Up for Competitive Winter
Swim teams eye 2011 titles, while basketball teams hope to go deep into the playoffs
January 06, 2011
— Coming off the heels of a fall season that saw Phillips Academy collect three championship titles, Andover sports teams are poised to enjoy a winning winter season in the pools, on the courts and on the ice.
Boys’ varsity swimming, which won the 2010 New England Championship, boasts another strong team this year, with nine returning seniors and a total of 22 competitive swimmers, according to Coach Jacques Hugon ’79. Last year the team broke three school records, three pool records, earned two individual titles and one relay title, and set eight All-American time standards on the season.
The girls’ varsity swim team is hoping to reclaim the New England Championship title, which it won in 2009. Last year the team came in second to Exeter in the championship meet, but this year’s team has 11 returning seniors and lost only four seniors from last year’s team. “We look to be very strong this year,” says Coach Paul Murphy ’84. “I expect to see some stellar performances across the board.” The team, which will include 24 swimmers and three divers, will kick off its season on Saturday, January 8, when it takes on Choate.
The girls’ varsity basketball team displays great promise, and Coach Lani Silversides notes that returning upper Alex Kiss-Rusk is poised for a breakout season. Unfortunately, the team had some early season difficulties and dropped three of its first four games in December, but Silversides fully expects her team to bounce back and is hopeful it will compete in the Class A Championship for the third straight season.
Meanwhile, the boys’ varsity basketball team is off to a good start, having already racking up an impressive 5–2 record. Under Coach Leon Modeste’s direction, the team continues to strengthen its on-court cohesion in preparation for a title run.
Both the boys’ and girls’ hockey teams had a chance to stretch their wings over winter break. The boys participated in the Flood-Marr tournament and played to a sixth-place finish. The girls’ team traveled to the Taft Tournament, where it lost all four of its games. Despite the defeats, it was a great learning experience. The team courted itself well on the ice and displayed lots of potential for growth.
This promises to be a growth year for the boys’ varsity squash team as well, which features a number of new faces. According to Coach Tom Hodgson, the team is building on its limited varsity experience with an eye toward becoming a more competitive force in the future.
Track coach Lou Bernieri reports that both the boys’ and girls’ indoor track teams are looking to rebuild their ranks after coming off a spectacular 2010 spring season, during which both teams won New England Championship titles. “We lost a lot of seniors, and it is now time to rebuild and reload,” says Bernieri, who is optimistic about the teams’ future prospects.