Sledding into winter sports

The+varsity+hockey+team+ties+against+Whitman+on+Nov.+12.

Photo by Jolie Graham

The varsity hockey team ties against Whitman on Nov. 12.

As the final leaves fall off the trees and it gets colder, winter sports are around the corner. It’s time to pull out those hand warmers and go support your favorite winter sports: ice hockey, girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, bocce, swim and dive, wrestling, and indoor track and field.

Varsity ice hockey is led by head coach Alex Parker, a AP US Government and law teacher, and assisted by Pat Billingsley, Josh Rubin and Alex Markenson. Parker has an impressive background in ice hockey including playing semi-professionally in Serbia and Hungary. ​He said he enjoys seeing the kids come together as close teammates and family as the season progresses. Parker said he is looking forward to the packed arena during the game against Churchill.

Yoga and physical education basketball teacher Maggie Dyer coaches the girls’ varsity basketball team. She has two assistant coaches who are previous players, Laura Darby and Danielle Khattar. This will be Dyer’s nineteenth year coaching. Her goal this year is to win the region and go to the State Championship. “I’m excited about being able to be on the court again because we weren’t able to play last year because of covid. I’m also excited about the team because I think we are going to have a very strong team and hopefully that means a good season,” junior Kaitlin Mariani said. 

This year, more than ever, I’m looking forward to being back in the gym with the team. Missing last year was tough and I think everyone is excited to be back and playing.”

— Erick Graves

Seventh year coach Erick Graves, who is a teacher at the ASPIRE program, will continue to coach the boys’ basketball team. He has been coaching basketball for over twenty five years on different levels and started doing player development training for youth through professional players. Graves’ favorite part of coaching is building relationships with the athletes. “This year, more than ever, I’m looking forward to being back in the gym with the team. Missing last year was tough and I think everyone is excited to be back and playing,” Graves said.

Bocce will be led by Steve McMahon, who is a physical education teacher. He was asked by former athletic director Chris Thompson eight years ago and has continued since. He decided to take the job because it is inclusive to all. McMahon is looking forward to getting back together indoors and in person to compete with other schools. Last year it was moved outdoors with an abbreviated season with no playoffs or tournaments. McMahon invites everyone to come and support them in the main gym at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 14 vs Whitman and Jan. 12 vs BCC.

As we dive into winter, the swim and dive team will be led by Kevin Fisher for the fourth year and assisted by Patrick Winter. “Our main goal this year,  after coming off not having a season last year, is to reestablish our team culture and have the best team spirit of all the MCPS swim and dive teams.  From a competition standpoint, we will be competing in the top division and our goal is to surprise some of the best MCPS teams with how much we’ve improved,” Fisher said. 

The varsity wrestling team will be led by Shane Bramble, who has been coaching for four years.  Bramble’s assistant coach is Ralph Bernardo, who is junior varsity’s head coach. “[I enjoy] the fact that it’s an individual sport rolled into a team sport. You go out and perform on your own against another wrestler while earning points for your team. It’s a very rewarding sport,” Bramble said, explaining his favorite part of wrestling. Their goal for this year is to get above a .500 record and go to states.

The track and field team is coached by a retired security officer, Harold Warren, alongside  Victoria Barry. Warren’s passion for track and field goes back to his middle school days and when he competed in high school and college. “My goal will be to study and watch each athlete progress to give their best and do their best. I’m looking forward to each athlete having satisfaction that their goals were met or even surpassed,” Warren said.