Your Knights are back in action! With a renewed sense of grit and determination, student athletes and the coaches who lead them are taking the court, the course, the field and the pool. Middle and Upper School sports fans are ecstatic that fall sports are underway, and your Knights have certainly started strong. The volleyball team defeated Baton Rouge High in their first game back on the court and the cross country squad broke records last weekend at the West Feliciana Relays. In Middle School, the football, softball, swimming, and cross country teams have begun practice in anticipation of a great season. A return to competition enhances the student experience and makes life in Middle and Upper School a little more of what we have come to expect from our experience here at Episcopal.
Athletic Director Randy Richard says the logistics required to get student athletes back in the game have not been easy, but they have certainly been worth it. “What’s important for us is that our student athletes get a chance to play in a safe environment,” he says. “The reason we’re doing it is because this is our mission in life.” Richard points to the value of sports and the lessons athletes learn that can’t be learned anywhere else. To provide athletes this experience, the coaching team has had to be more creative to work within the confines of the health and safety protocols. There have been challenges, but the coaches have rallied together behind one goal. “We encourage each other so that we’re geared up and ready to go to have a plan in place to serve our students,” says Richard.
That service to students has included tremendous planning. For example, as students participated in summer strength and conditioning, coaches had to increase the two daily workouts/three days a week to three and four daily workouts/five days a week in order to reduce the number of students in the weight room at any given time. In cross country, runners had to be organized into pods so that students wouldn’t bundle together as they trained. More pods required the development of additional running routes and increased monitoring of individual times. Football practice strategies had to be adjusted with some players lifting weights while others ran drills to reduce the exposure risk of an entire squad. Between each drill everything is cleaned, including equipment and footballs. Throughout the adjustments, Richard says the student athletes have stepped up and shown a true commitment to their teams and a desire to compete this season.
As teams begin competing, there are even more details to consider, all the way down to the water that athletes drink. Richard says while they’ve taken water for granted in the past, coaches must now make sure that each athlete brings enough to sustain themselves throughout an entire practice and competition. Coaches also have to consider where athletes not in the game will sit/stand until their number is called and, in some cases, what is essentially a travel squad must be established due to capacity limitations within gyms. Even the traditional handshake or high five among opponents has had to be reworked this season. Fortunately, the Knights volleyball team has already found a way to acknowledge their opponent by waving to them from across the net. As the team took the court for their first game, Head Coach Madeline Gugich was thrilled. “Seeing them compete puts a smile on all of our faces,” she says. “The excitement of this helps us to play our best. It was an awesome game.”
There also remains a question of fan attendance. Richard reminds everyone that it is important to understand that all suggested attendance numbers include members of the team, coaches, game officials and those determined to be essential game personnel. Once essential game attendees are tallied, the fan attendance numbers are significantly lower than the numbers suggest. However, Richard and his team have devised a creative solution to allow the Knights’ fanbase to show their support. The Episcopal volleyball games are aired live and on delay on YurView LA (Cox Channel 4) and CST (Cox Channel 37). Richard says many of the team parents sponsored the broadcasts to support their student athletes, and he is optimistic that a similar arrangement can be made for other sports. Thank you parents!!
The Episcopal coaches are eager to return to competition. “We are excited to be able to compete because practicing all the time gets boring,” says Head Cross Country Coach Claney Duplechin. “We need to know the reason for practicing. This reason is competing against other schools and individuals. It is fun to compare our skills with others.” Middle and Upper School Softball Coach Heidi Hebert says seeing the students’ excitement and motivation to prepare is just one of the many reasons to love coaching. “It has been a real eye opener to see the things we take for granted such as everyday life including practices and games,” she says. “As we count down the days to our first competitions, it’s exciting to have those normal, game day jitters.” Head Football Coach Travis Bourgeois says playing football in the fall gives players positive energy. “With 18 seniors, these guys have put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears over the years,” he says. “They deserve to play their senior year. Football is a great way to kick off the school year and bring our community together.”
Richard feels the commitment shown by the coaching staff will inspire the student athletes. “I hope they understand the magnitude of what coaches have done to get them back in action,” he says. With that understanding, Richard hopes the athletes, under the guidance of the seniors, can continue to come together to do the right thing and stay on track to continue a successful season. While this season is certainly different from the past, Richard is confident the Knights will get the job done. “In May, I’ll look back and be overwhelmed with the resiliency of our staff and student athletes to make what could have been a terrible year a success.”
Resilience. Determination. Commitment. These are all key qualities you might expect of a Knight. Expect them to be on full display as the students compete once again. To keep track of upcoming sports events, click here to see the Episcopal athletic schedule.
Share words of encouragement for your Episcopal Knights in the comments section below. Go Knights!
Episcopal senior quarterback Dylan Mehrotra played his first game of tackle football at eight years old. Now, after playing for the Knights since the fifth grade, Mehrotra has committed to play football at the University of Alabama Birmingham next fall. Needless to say, he is excited about the future. “This means everything to me!” he says. “I get to continue on my journey to live my dreams to play college football at the Division 1, FBS level. UAB is doing some amazing things with their football program!” Mehrotra points to the fact that the UAB team was the Conference USA champs in 2018 and the winner of the West Division in 2019. In addition to that, they are building a 45,000-seat stadium that he looks forward to competing in soon. And then there’s a future opponent. “I also learned that during my sophomore year, we will play LSU in Tiger Stadium, a dream come true!” he says.
Mehrotra plans to study business and minor in sports management when he arrives at UAB. “UAB was the right school because it checked off so many boxes for me,” he says. “It’s a great city, has a large student enrollment, and offers areas of study that interest me.” In addition, his future coaches and current coaches were on board. “The UAB coaching staff made me feel extremely comfortable and assured if I work hard, I have a chance to compete for the starting job,” he says. “Two people that I trust and admire (Coach Bourgeois and Coach Stevens), felt that this was an excellent fit for me as a student-athlete.”
Episcopal Head Coach Travis Bourgeois is happy to see Mehrotra achieve his goal of playing in college. “To see a player put the work in and get rewarded with a scholarship defines what playing sports is all about,” he says. “He is a great example to the younger players. Dylan represents what an Episcopal student/athlete is all about. He plays multiple sports and maintains his grades. It is awesome to watch Dylan grow as a person/player throughout his years on campus.”
Episcopal Athletic Director Randy Richard agrees. “I’m proud of Dylan,” he says. “Over his four years in high school, Dylan has become a hard worker who understands what it’s like to be a top-level athlete. I think his transition will be fairly seamless because he understands the difficulty at hand to be a college athlete. He knows the UAB coaches won’t expect less than the Episcopal coaches when it comes to hard work and dedication.” Bourgeois offers the following advice: “He needs to remember the things in life that got him to this point; family, faith, work ethic, education, being able to take constructive criticism, accepting competition, leading and learning with others. People see things differently, come from different backgrounds, so have an open mind.”
Mehrotra’s journey to college football did not happen by accident. When asked what advice he would give to fellow student athletes, he had this to say: “I would tell them there is no substitute for hard work and always give your best effort. Episcopal has great coaches, soak up their knowledge and believe in the process. You have to put in the time, and once you do that and play well, coaches will take notice.” Mehrotra says Episcopal has done a great job of preparing him for this next step. “I know that the teachers and administrators at Episcopal have set me up for success in college!”
Before Mehrotra heads on to UAB, there is still the business of the Knights football season. “We have a talented quarterback that will give us a chance to be successful every game,” says Coach Bourgeois. “We have a leader who will make good decisions for the team on and off the field.” Regardless of what this season holds, Richard says the decision to commit early allows Mehrotra the opportunity to focus more on his senior year and guide his team to be in the best situation possible.
Congratulations, Dylan! We can’t wait to see you play. Please wish Dylan well in the comments below.
Once a Knight, always a Knight. This is certainly the case for beloved cross country and track coach Eddie Cole. Coach Cole retired from coaching in 2017 after an award-winning career. During his tenure at Episcopal, Coach Cole led the girls’ team to numerous victories and state title runs. He is known across the Episcopal campus for his impromptu harmonica performances and his willingness to help others. Teachers depended on him to help with everything from assistance with project-based learning and hiking tips to driving the team bus to cross country competitions.
Since retirement, Coach Cole has remained in touch with his former colleagues and cheered the Knights on from afar. Now, as he battles leukemia, members of the Episcopal community are stepping up to support the coach that has meant so much to so many.
“He is fighting this with such a great attitude,” says Coach Dupe. “I only hope I could be as strong mentally and physically if I ever get in this situation. He is setting such a great model for all of us.”
“Coach Cole is stronger than he’ll ever know,” says Athletic Director Randy Richard. “He’s been on this hike before. I hope he’ll take in a little bit more and stay the course until the finish line.”
There is an effort underway by one of Coach Cole’s former E.D. White students to support him on this journey. The former student has teamed up with the owner of www.threestitches.net to post the following call to action on social media:
As most of you know Coach Eddie Cole has been diagnosed with Leukemia. He is receiving Chemo treatments and will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant afterwards. The lives he has touched throughout the years is undeniable. Let's cheer him on as he conquers his hike! What better way to do that than with our new normal, a mask! Please visit https://threestitches.net/hikeyourhike/shop/home to get yourself a mask! All benefits will be sent directly to Coach Cole. Take a picture wearing your mask and don't forget to use #hikeyourhike to show your support!
Coach Cole is an avid hiker, making this effort a fitting tribute to the man loved by so many. “Every student he taught or coached remembers the type of man he is,” says Richard. “He always had time for his students.” Now, Coach Cole’s students are showing that they have time for him.
As distance learning continues, we are all finding ways to connect, whether it’s through video, email or simply talking on the phone. In times of hardship and uncertainty, being a part of a team and a community matters. For that reason, we are celebrating the Episcopal spring sports teams. These students have trained hard and we applaud them for their efforts. We also thank our seniors for setting an example for those who will come after them. (All photos courtesy of KnightPix)
When it comes to golf, Coach Randy Richard encourages athletes to “Respect the Game.” He advises his team to “get out and continue honing your craft. Golf is a sport that cannot be mastered, you must continue to build the different aspects of your game all year long, not just during golf season. Take a deep breath, be thankful for your many blessings, and continue to be a good representative of Episcopal.”
One outstanding representative of Episcopal is senior golfer Caroline Glynn. Caroline was a part of the Episcopal team that finished as runner up in the Division II state tournament last year. Coach Richard had the following message for his sole senior. “Caroline, you have had quite a run over the years in golf. I can still remember Coach McCrary telling me about you before you ever arrived at Episcopal. You have exceeded expectations on the course and you are a great representative for Episcopal. Thanks for all your hard work!”
The Episcopal softball Knights were ready to swing into action this spring with seniors Kennedy Clark, Sydney Summerville and Savannah York leading the way. Head Coach Heidi Hebert had this to say about the seniors. “You are an amazing group of young women. You have put in so much work to get where you are today and I could not be more proud of you. This year has thrown you some curve balls, but I know without a shadow of a doubt you are ready for what your next chapter holds for you. You are STRONG and COURAGEOUS, always reach for the stars!”
This year’s senior trio is joined by a strong and talented team. Coach Hebert offers the following advice for uncertain times. “I know your hopes for the 2020 season have changed from the excitement of our success to, will we step on the field again. Unfortunately, life does not always go as planned, but it is what has been put before us and my hope is that you have been able to find positives in your everyday life. I miss seeing your smiling faces, hearing your laughs and even hearing your groans when I tell you to run! You are KNIGHTS! You are capable of achieving many wonderful things. Continue striving for success in all you do!”
The Episcopal tennis team plays with the motto: Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Although the season was short, this year’s athletes certainly demonstrated tremendous talent and effort. The team was led by seniors Sarah Collier, Jared Levatino, Will McCarthy, Casey Rigby, Halle Roman and Jack Sulzer. Coach James Clayton had this to say about these talented students. “Thanks to all the seniors who put the hard work and commitment into the tennis program. The coaches appreciate the leadership given to the team during the short time our team had together in 2020. Though every senior did not earn a trophy they earned the coaches respect as young adults that will carry into their next chapter in life.”
Coach Clayton reminds the rest of the tennis squad that the future of the program is bright. “The coaches want to thank the team for working hard and building a strong chemistry during our short time together in 2020. The commitment that each player showed reciprocated throughout the program. This gave us so much motivation and potential as a tennis program. This will carry as a building block for what lies ahead for the program.”
Track & Field
In keeping with Episcopal tradition, the track and field team has already had a tremendous year. The boys squad won the indoor state title and the girls finished the state tournament third. While Coach Claney Duplechin says it would have been great to complete the year with the outdoor title as well, he is grateful to have completed the indoor season and to have earned the victory. He had these words of advice for his team. “I just want all of our team to know how proud I am of them. They were one of the hardest working teams I’ve ever had. I feel very confident we could have won the outdoor title as well. These last couple of weeks have been so hard on all of us. We’ve discussed taking punches and coming back hard. God is truly testing us in these times. We must continue to have faith that things will work out. I know we can’t see the future but I know our team will be better people having gone through these trying times. I so miss our daily routines, the stretching, the talk, the workouts, etc. But what I really miss is each of you.”
This year’s boys track and field team includes seniors Ian Begnaud, James Christian, Alex Harlan, Trevor Heath, Gautam Mahes, Joe Patterson and Kendric Washington. The girls team includes seniors Makenzie Daugherty and Ella Clair Kimbrough. Coach Bill Jones had the following message for his seniors. “I want to let these two girls know that whether we get to complete our season or not that they have both been a pleasure to coach and have contributed greatly to our program.”
“I would like for the rest of our team to know that they are in my thoughts and prayers,” says Coach Jones. “I miss each and every member of our team immensely and can’t wait to get back to coaching them. I feel blessed to be a Knight!”
The spring sports season didn’t turn out like anyone expected. However, there is still the bond of being a part of a team and the connections that players and coaches establish. While we may not be discussing stats, scores and records, we will always remember the lessons, love and camaraderie.
Go Knights. Good People. Have Fun. District, Regional, State Champs.
The sports honors keep coming in for the Knights. Congratulations on the following achievements!
Senior baseball player Peyton Sybrandt signed with the Auburn Tigers for next year. Congratulations!
Senior softball player Sydney Summerville has committed to continue her softball career at Belhaven University in Jackson, MS! Congratulations!
Episcopal basketball players Izzy Besselman, Annslee Bourgeois, Jewel Jones, Sydney Summerville, DJ Morgan and Ricky Volland have earned spots on the 1st Team on their respective All District Teams and Coach Taylor Mims was named the All District Coach of the Year. Congratulations!
“This building comes from love. Love of the experience people have had at Episcopal over 50 years.” That was the statement from Episcopal Head of School Hugh McIntosh at the Field House ribbon cutting. McIntosh was joined by the Episcopal student body, alumni, athletic supporters and donors in the historic occasion that marked the opening of the first new athletic facility on campus since the ‘80s.
In May of 2018, members of the Episcopal community gathered for the groundbreaking of this new facility which boasts more than 22,000 square feet of space for weight training, cardio training, individual sport locker rooms, coaching offices and collaboration spaces, conference rooms, classrooms, a concession stand and a sports medicine space. Since the summer of ’18, the community has watched in excitement and anticipation as the building progressed.
Ribbon cutting day had a pep rally feel, complete with the Episcopal cheerleaders, dance ensemble and members of the school’s drum corps. Cross country state champion James Christian '20 represented current Episcopal athletes on the stage. He was joined by Adele Broussard ’19 and Van Hiles ’93, who represented alumni athletes. PreK-4 student Isaiah Ricard was also on hand to represent the future of Episcopal athletics.
That future is certainly bright. Field House Lead Donor Todd Graves ’90 congratulated McIntosh on the “bold, challenging and fantastic vision” he had to make the Field House, the Academic Commons and Chapel renovations a reality. Field House Lead Donor Gwen Graves ’88 reminded the Episcopal community that the Field House is for everyone and is a great representation of Episcopal’s whole child philosophy. The two were also pleased that the facility will provide coaching staff the space they need to continue making a difference in the lives of students.
The Episcopal coaching staff, led by Athletic Director Randy Richard, were all smiles as the ribbon was cut. The building will allow them to encourage a focus on health and wellness among Episcopal students of all ages. As Reverend Skully Knight said in his introduction and blessing, the Field House truly is for everyone in every division.
The Field House ribbon cutting does not mark the end of the Spirit • Mind • Body effort at Episcopal. Numerous opportunities to be a part of the campaign remain and can be found here. Episcopal has certainly come a long way since the time 50+ years ago when ten families had a vision for a new, independent school option in Baton Rouge. It will be exciting to see where the next 50 years take us.
Thank you to everyone who made the Field House possible, including members of our Field House Giving Circles. A special thank you to Episcopal Director of Operations John Kojis, Cangelosi Ward General Contractors and Grace Hebert Curtis Architects.
The Mardi Gras break was anything but a break for many Episcopal athletes. Catch up with the latest Knights winter sports action.
Indoor Track and Field
The Knights indoor track and field teams were impressive at the recent state meet. The boys squad won their fifth consecutive state championship with multiple podium finishes. In addition, the girls finished third with sophomore Francie Oliver winning the triple jump and numerous podium finishes.
Francie Oliver - triple jump state champion
Paris Auzenne – 2nd place in the 400-meter run
4x400 meter relay – 2nd place, including Paris Auzenne, Tanya Mencer, Chloe Carmouche and Francie Oliver
2A State Champions
4X800 meter relay – 1st place, including Tucker Harrell, Logan LeBlanc, Gautam Mahes and Joe Patterson
4x200 meter relay - 5th place
Senior James Christian - 2nd in the 1600-meter run, 3rd in the 800-meter run and 4th in the 3200-meter run
Senior Joe Patterson - 4th place in the 800-meter run
Ethan Hook and Dryden Duggins - 2nd and 5th respectively in the 60-meter hurdles
Alex Hollier - 7th in the 3200-meter run
4x400 relay – 3rd place, including Thomas D’Armond, Austin Sybrandt, Ethan Hook and Joe Patterson
Oliver Jack - 3rd in the boys shot put
Dylan Mehrotra - 6th in the boys triple jump and tied for 4th in the high jump
Clayton Braud - 7th in the boys triple jump and 10th in the boys long jump
Congratulations to the girls soccer team who advanced to the state semifinal match and finished the season as the district champs. The team was the third seed going into the playoffs, earning them a first round bye then racking up home match wins versus Menard and Catholic New Iberia.
After earning a district title and entering the playoffs as the top ranked team, the Episcopal boys team rushed through the first rounds of the state playoffs, outscoring opponents 8-3. The team made it to the state championship game in Hammond and finished as the state runner-up. Congratulations on a great season!
The girls basketball squad had a successful season, advancing to the semifinal round before losing a tough game on the road. The team finished the season as the 8-2A district champs. They were also named the 94.1 High School Team of the Week. In addition, sophomore Izzy Besselman was named a Louisiana Girls Rankings Player of the Week for her performance against Catholic of New Iberia where she put up 29 points and made 10 rebounds and three blocks. Congratulations, Izzy!
The boys basketball team earned a big regional round playoff win against Northlake Christian on Friday. The team now prepares for the quarterfinal round of the playoffs against Lafayette Christian in Lafayette Tuesday night. The winner moves on to the semifinal round for the opportunity to continue toward a state title. The boys have had a great season so far. Senior DJ Morgan was selected to the 2020 All-Star Basketball team and Coach Chris Beckman was selected as a member of the coaching staff for the 2020 All-Star Basketball game.
The Knights wrestling team had an exciting season, competing at the metro tournament and the state wrestling tournament.
All students, parents and alumni are invited to join us for a schoolwide celebration of the new Episcopal Field House.
Monday, March 9th
Festivities begin on the Episcopal football field.
The new Episcopal Field House will be used by students in all divisions and is a symbol of Episcopal’s commitment to health and wellness. The building boasts more than 22,000 square feet of space for everything from weight and cardio training to physical education classroom space, an expansive terrace and coaching offices. Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of this historic occasion.
Naming opportunities including individualized lockers, weight training equipment, terrace pavers and various indoor and outdoor locations are still available for those who are interested. Visit spiritmindbodybr.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Episcopal’s winter athletes have had a tremendous season and it’s not over yet!
The girls basketball team won the 8-2A district championship! The Knights went into the district tournament as the top seed and finished business with a victory over Northeast and Port Allen. With a record of 23 and 5, the team is on a 10 game winning streak that they hope to continue. In recognition of their successful season thus far, the girls were also named the 94.1 High School Team of the Week. The Knights wrap up the regular season tonight at Madison Prep Academy. Bi-district playoff action gets underway on February 20th.
The boys basketball team continues to battle through a successful season. The Knights defeated top ranked Dunham in the district tournament before falling to Port Allen in the final. The boys host Lusher on February 17th at 6 pm and Rapides at 5:30 pm on February 21st.
The third-seeded girls soccer team finished the regular season with a district title. After a first round bye in the playoffs, the Knights had a big win against Menard scoring six goals. The girls now prepare for the quarterfinal game that will take place on Monday, February 17th at 4 pm versus Catholic High New Iberia.
The boys soccer team also earned district championship honors. The number one ranked Knights faced Dunham in the regional round of the playoffs this week. Episcopal came out on top with a final score of one to zero. Tanner Morales scored with a header into the goal from Jett Turnley's free kick. The boys will now host the quarterfinal round on Monday, February 17th at 6:30 pm vs. Pope John Paul II High School.
Indoor Track & Field
The indoor track & field team will compete at the LHSAA State Indoor Track Championship on February 22nd at the LSU Carl Maddox Field House. There are a host of Episcopal boys and girls that have qualified for the meet in hopes of becoming state champs.
The Knights wrestlers had a successful showing at the Brother Martin High School event. William Thomas York placed third in the Middle School championships. JV wrestler Carter McLean finished runner up in the 113 pound weight class at the JV City Championship meet. Wrestling travels this weekend to Shreveport for the state wrestling match at the CenturyLink Center.
The powerlifters pressed their way to a first place finish at the Woodlawn Invitational Powerlifting meet. The team competes again at regionals on February 29th.
The Middle School navy boys and gold girls soccer teams are division champions! The squads won their divisions in the Baton Rouge Soccer Association tournament. Read more about Middle School soccer success here.
The girls eighth grade basketball team finished second in the league, losing by one point to Northwestern in the championship game.
The boys eighth grade basketball team plays for the league championship Saturday, February 15th at 2 pm versus Parkview Baptist. The boys finished third in the St. Thomas More tournament and first in the St. Alphonsus tournament.
The seventh grade boys finished first in the St. Alphonsus tournament.
Senior DJ Morgan has been selected to the 2020 All-Star Basketball Team! The game is set for Saturday, March 14th at Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier, LA. In addition, Coach Chris Beckman was selected as a member of the coaching staff for the 2020 All Star Basketball Game.
Senior Tochi Mbagwu has been selected to the 2020 East All-Star Soccer Team! The game is set for Saturday, February 29th at 9 am in Strawberry Stadium in Hammond.
Congratulations to Episcopal defensive back Kolin Bilbrew for being named 1st Team All State and running back Ryan Armwood for being named 2nd Team All State. Both Knights were also selected All-Metro in football for classes 3A and below.
“This group is the rowdiest of fans and I am appreciative for the effort they put in.” Episcopal Athletic Director Randy Richard
If senior Jack Campbell walks away from an Episcopal sporting event unable to speak because he’s lost his voice, it’s been a good game for him. Campbell, who plays baseball for the Knights, is also the co-president of the Episcopal Fan Club. He and his counterpart, Griff Strain, want to see Episcopal represented at sporting events with the loudest, most passionate group of student fans possible. The two know they have done their job when they hear from the athletes that the student section was audible from the playing field. Campbell takes particular pride in knowing that during a recent rivalry game, the Episcopal student section was larger and louder than the fans on the other side of the field.
Campbell and Strain love sports and the sense of community that athletics generates. “We care about the school a lot,” says Strain, who plays football and baseball for the Knights. He says Fan Club members want to show support for Episcopal. They accomplish this in numerous ways. “It is crucial to have the student fan support for the Episcopal Athletic program,” says Athletic Director Randy Richard. “The Fan Club presidents coordinate our student population; from meeting locations and game day themes to athletic recognition during the school day.” Campbell and Strain are joined in their Fan Club efforts by fellow spirited students Joyner Brown, Sarah Collier, Ella Kimbrough and Will McCarthy.
Being a Fan Club member affords students the opportunity to get to know their classmates and make new connections. Strain says that sense of connection carries over to the school day as a Fan Club member compliments an athlete on a great game. “There’s a smile on their face when you talk to them,” he says. Campbell says attending athletic events has provided him an opportunity to see his classmates in action and to get to know them beyond sitting next to them in math class. The two avid sports fans say the Fan Club experience has also provided them the opportunity to learn more about different sports. For example, Campbell says he has learned more about volleyball and cross country just by being there to support his classmates.
As athletes themselves, Campbell and Strain recognize the importance of support. They say athletes are motivated by having a cheering section. “It means a lot to know that people care,” says Strain. Fan Club members self-organize in an effort to have someone at the majority of Episcopal sporting events so that all athletes can feel that support. This dedication is especially impressive when students attend those early Saturday morning games in the cold or the cross country championships in the rain.
With Fan Club members cheering them on, the Upper and Middle School Knights have done very well this school year with district and state championships. There is more action ahead. Mark these upcoming winter sports events on your calendar. You’re sure to see a Fan Club member there. Feel free to join in their cheers. Go Knights!
Upper School Events:
Monday, February 3rd
5 pm Freshman boys basketball hosts Woodlawn
6 pm Varsity girls basketball team hosts Mentorship Academy
6 pm Varsity girls soccer versus Central at Central
Wednesday, February 5th
5 pm Freshman boys basketball versus Madison Prep at Madison Prep
6 pm Junior varsity boys basketball versus Madison Prep at Madison Prep
7 pm Varsity boys basketball versus Madison Prep at Madison Prep
Thursday, February 6th – Saturday, February 8th
Varsity girls basketball district tournament at Episcopal
Saturday, February 8th
Indoor Track and Field Meet at LSU
Wrestling JV City
Middle School Events:
Monday, February 3rd
5 pm Boys sixth grade basketball versus UHigh
6 pm Boys seventh grade basketball versus UHigh
7 pm Boys eighth grade basketball versus UHigh
Tuesday, February 4th
5:30 pm Boys sixth grade basketball versus Hosanna Christian
6:30 pm Boys eighth grade basketball versus Glen Oaks
Wednesday, February 5th
6:30 pm Boys seventh grade basketball versus Parkview Baptist
The Middle School navy boys and gold girls soccer teams are champs! Both squads won their divisions in last weekend’s Baton Rouge Soccer Association tournament.
“There is an incredible amount of talent in Middle School,” says girls soccer coach James Moroney. This talent is enhanced by the positive, enthusiastic attitudes of the players. Moroney says the girls simply love to play and always play hard. For example, he says when the goalkeeper couldn’t play due to injury, another player who had never played the position gladly stepped up and did the job. He says when needed, the leading scorers willingly played defense. “Whatever is needed for the team, they were happy to do that,” he says. Fellow coach Rhys Lopiparo says she was happy for the opportunity to work with the girls. “They always went above and beyond my expectations, and I could not have asked for a better first season of my coaching career,” she says. “I am incredibly proud of the hard work the girls put in over the past few months, and I can’t wait to see how their knowledge of the game continues to grow.”
The gold team ended the season with a perfect record of 8 and 0, allowing only one goal all season in the final contest. The navy team advanced to a semi-final match, playing what Moroney considered their best outing of the season. Moroney says the girls were supportive of each other all season, helping each other develop their skills and grow in the game.
When he’s not coaching soccer, Moroney, who was a high school soccer player, can be found teaching eighth grade math. He sees coaching as a way to connect with students outside of the classroom. “It’s rewarding to see them be successful,” he says. “It’s a fulfillment of the time and hard work the girls and coaches put into the season.”
On the boys side, there was also tremendous success. The navy team won the Division I trophy. Coach and Episcopal dad Paolo Messina says this championship is especially meaningful because the boys were competing in the highest and toughest division of the tournament. The tournament includes teams from throughout the Baton Rouge region and competitions are set without regard to school size. Messina says the Episcopal squads included players who have never played soccer or haven’t played in years as well as highly competitive players who are training for the next level. He says the players really played hard with several leaders developing. “Not having the entire team for any game allowed kids to get playing time and improve their skills,” says Messina. “They meshed and played well together.” Fellow coach and recent Episcopal grad Eliott Reimann ’19 agrees. “I am extremely proud of how the team grew as the season progressed,” he says. “Not in a single game this season was our full roster present, but they never made excuses and stuck to the game plan. They played with heart, and tenacity, I couldn’t have asked for anything else.”
The navy team finished the season with five wins, two losses and one tie. The team fought through several close contests to finish the tournament with a perfect 3 and 0 record. Winning the championship was the highlight of the season. “It’s a pretty big deal,” says Messina. “This is a citywide tournament. I don’t think Episcopal has ever won the tournament.”
Messina, who is a full-time attorney, began coaching eight years ago as a way to spend time with his own children. As a high school soccer player, he always loved the game and he found he also loved coaching. He says when the opportunity arose to coach this year’s boys squad, he was excited for the chance to get involved. “It was a pleasure to watch them win it all,” says Messina.
It wasn’t only soccer fans who were excited about Middle School soccer this season. Soccer fever swept through Middle School with the trophies shared with classmates at Morning Meeting. “While what we care the most about is teamwork, effort, and character, it’s also true that those things in combination also commonly lend themselves to success,” says Division Head Mark Engstrom. “I’m so proud of our soccer teams for their recent victories. Their effort and attention to detail has led them to where they are now, and we couldn’t be happier for them and the example they are setting for those who will come after them.”