Sunday, September 21, 2014

This Week

This weekend, I was fortunate to attend a leadership and coaching conference in Atlanta.  Throughout my career I have probably attended close to a hundred of these type of events.  Of course, some are better than others but what they all do is make me realize how lucky I am to be a coach and athletic director.  We can all grow so much from the lessons we are allowed to learn and teach through athletics.

This weekend was one of the best conferences I have ever attended in large part because there were so many speakers who shared my vision of values based athletics.  Too often, people get wrapped up in the end result instead of paying attention to the process and details that make them worthy of the success they desire.  If a team does not have core values that each member not only believes in, understands and is committed to, then true success will always elude their grasp.  So, if you are a student-athlete or coach, ask yourself this question?  What do we stand for as a team?  How do those values and beliefs translate to the classroom and to your free time? Remember, whether you won or lost the game should have no impact on your commitment to the adherence of your core values.  So, figure it out and talk about it as a team.  Be a great teammate no matter what adversity or what great accomplishment comes your way.

By the way, one thing a speaker said this weekend I felt was applicable to our school had to do with fan support.  Our student council and captains council is working hard to improve school spirit and get more people to attend our events.  The speaker told a story of traveling to the "big game" and his team walked off the bus at a school more than 50 miles from home.  He watched his kids march into the school, past a sea of fans from his school cheering them on and encouraging them as they walked into the building.  His players stood tall, dressed nicely to represent their community with class, and walked through the crowd and they had their game faces on.  He remarked that not one player acknowledged a single fan.  Some kept their headphones in on their ipods and didn't even look up at the fans.  Now some coaches may have liked that because they were focused, but instead this coach followed his team into the locker room and told them how disappointed he was.  These people drove all that way to support them and his team couldn't wave to a few of them, say hello or better yet say thank you for coming to the game.  The coach ordered every player to make their way back toward the bus and just say thank you to a few of the people who came to the game.  There is certainly a time and place for this type of interaction.  When you are taking the field or the court, your focus needs to be on the matter at hand.  But, when the game is over or well before it starts, remember to thank those who are cheering and supporting you.  When a classmate tells you they were at the game and complements you on how you played, be humble and turn it back to them.  Recognize their support probably filled you and your teammates emotional gas tanks.  So as the athletic director I want to say thank you to everyone who supports our students and we hope we continue to make you proud to be a Whitman-Hanson Panther.

Now to the update......
1) The boys soccer team had a huge week winning two games and tying another.
The highlight of the week was a thrilling 1-0 victory over Hingham, marking the first time the boys have ever defeated the Harbormen.  After an end to end 73 minutes of action, Brian McGahan scored off a cross from Kyle Nehiley with 7 minutes remaining. Goalkeepers Connor Keane and Jack Bannon made some outstanding saves to ensure the Panther Victory.  McGahan had a huge week with 4 goals.  The boys travel to Scituate on Tuesday to take on the Sailors.

2) The girls soccer team suffered their first loss of the season by falling on the road at Hingham but they rebounded with a 4-0 shutout win over Plymouth South on Friday to improve to 5 and 1.  The defense of Kelsey Gilbert, Elana Wood, Katherine O'kane, Madison Shea and Katie Korzec helped goalkeeper Arianna Comendul earn her 4th shutout of the season. After a scoreless first half Lauren Bonavita (2 goals), Taylor Kofton, and Eve Montgomery found the back of the net for Whitman Hanson.

3) In boys cross country, Patrick Brett won his third consecutive Patriot League outing in leading the Panthers to a 19-36 win over Duxbury High Tuesday afternoon.  Brett covered the 3 Mile course in 17:04 edging out Duxbury's Tate Allen who finished 2nd in 17:11.  The next four spots went to W-H runners Junior Sam Evans (17:24), Sophomore Lukas Moscoso (17:36), Freshman Jack Ryan (17:49) and Junior Jayson Keenan (17:55.)

The boys host Plymouth North on Tuesday.

4) The girls cross country team swept the top 5 spots in beating Duxbury 15-46 Tuesday afternoon on the 3.0 Mile Duxbury High School course.  Junior Samantha Coletti led the Panthers with a time of 18:52.  Senior Captains Kelsey Tierney and Caroline Mulrey took 2nd and 3rd with identical times of 20.35, followed by Senior Captain Megan Concannon and Junior Abbie Newman who rounded out the scoring for W-H also with identical times of 21:13. 
The girls also host Plymouth-North on Tuesday in a battle between two of the top teams in the state.  This will be a very tough meet and the girls could really use some Panther support.

5) The volleyball team had an up and down week putti.  On Friday they lost to Hingham, 3-0 but earlier in the week they swept Plymouth North, 3-0.  The Panthers came out fast against the Eagles behind strong serving by Madison Scott and Alyssa Gacicia. The Panthers were able to keep Plymouth at bay for most of the first set with good passing and a strong attack from the middle and outside hitters. In the second set the Panthers started out with some really sloppy play and bad passing out of serve receive, but they were able to rally from behind to steal the lead and never looked back. In the third and deciding set Leah Pedersen, Hannah Brett and Erin Clifford served for multiple ace's and kept the Eagles from getting their offense going. This was a great team win for the Panthers as every player contributed to the win. Standing out were Leah Pedersen with 6 kills, Erin Clifford with 6 kills, 4 aces and 12 digs. Madison Scott also added 7 aces. Alyssa Gacicia had her best night as our starting setter with 22 assists.
The girls play host to Plymouth South tomorrow.

6) The golf team won 2 of 3 this week to improve to 6 and 2.  The Panthers defeated the Quincy Presidents at Furnace Brook Golf Club 243-288.  Junior Cole Manning carded a 1-over 36 to lead all scorers, while senior Sam Perkins followed him as second lowest scorer on the day with a 3-over 38. 
The quirky course gave some players trouble, but with the help of seniors Alex Burbank (5-over) and co-captain Zach Burke (7-over), the Panthers were able to celebrate their 6th win on the season.  This week should seriously test the squad as they face an unknown Martha's Vineyard, league powerhouse Duxbury (who are looking for the sweep on the season), and an up-and-coming Pembroke team.

7) The field hockey team won their first two games of the year this week.  The girls have improved dramatically since the start of the year and it looks like this team is building the foundation for future success.  The girls donated their time at the kids fitness festival Saturday to teach the future Panthers about the game.  The girls return to play tomorrow at home on the turf. The black group plays at 4:45pm against Hingham and the white group will play at 6pm.

8) The football team had a bye this week but they had a very busy week.  The entire coaching staff took the kids to the Hanover movie theatre to see "When the Game Stands Tall."  This is a tremendous movie for student athletes in any sport as it focuses on a team from California which set the record for the most consecutive wins in football.  There are so many relevant messages for students and parents in this movie.  A lot of it goes back to what I mentioned off the top.  In addition, the teams were "treated" to an incredible leadership training session by the United States Marines.  The team was put through various endurance and strength challenges which had to be completed in small groups.  The kids learned the importance of being there for one an other, especially when things get tough.  Most of the players enjoyed being challenged and we believe came away from the experience even closer as a team.  
The Panthers return to action this Friday night at home against a very tough Quincy team in their first league game of the season.

Bob Rodgers
Whitman-Hanson Regional High School
Athletic Director
Office (781) 618-7433
Cell (617) 838-0994
Classroom (781) 618-7159
Fax (781) 618-7084

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