A Successful Winter for Athletics on the Island

Chloe Chen '22 and Mariapaula Gonzalez '22, Contributor

Loomis Chaffee’s winter sports have had a busy and significant winter season.
The powerful varsity boys hockey team welcomed a handful of new sophomores and juniors but also had a big group of seniors and returners who helped lead the team. They hoped to win a championship, which they ultimately did in the Large School Division.
“Our leadership was the biggest difference. We were so strong with our seniors this year that it wasn’t just our captains that were our leaders, it was the entire senior class that was the leadership of the team. It made it a lot easier for everyone to join together and become a family,” four-year senior Alexander Krause ’20 said.
Because of their undeniable team chemistry and ability to work together, the team made the Large School Division playoffs and later earned the title of champions in that division. Players recognized to put their team’s success before their own.
Compared to my junior year, we were very separated with the addition of new kids and the team was very senior-heavy,” Krause added.
“As a team, our goals were to have fun and obviously win, and [my] personal goal was [to] play well,” Oliver Flynn, ’22, a new addition to the team, said.
“[This] one of the best years of hockey I’ve had, [so I think we should] stay the same, [and] try to have a close team and bring the energy [needed],” Flynn added.
The varsity girls swimming and diving team’s record has improved immensely since the 2018-2019 season. Last year, they held a 2-9 win-loss record and placed 11th, second to last, in the New England Championships. This year, the girls turned it around, brought a 7-3 win-loss record, and moved up 6 places to place 5th in the New England Championship, held at Hotchkiss. Along with changes in speed and rank, the team brought in a new group of talented swimmers.
“We definitely got some new additions, who have been awesome in the pool and in the locker room as well. Last year, we were a much younger team, we had a lot of underclassmen, and only a few returners,” four-year senior Virginia Joyce ’20 said.
“It was kind of hard being a new junior, but having the team be so welcoming and being a family, I feel like I became a part of that family and close with everyone,” new junior Annah Clymer ’21 said.
“From last year to this year, we got a lot more experience, the team used last year to get to know each other really well. We went to Florida this year, which was also really helpful. We got a lot more experience in the pool and out of the pool as well. Because of our team connection and fun bus rides, I was able to be calmer during my races,” Joyce added.
“This year, we made winning more of a focus, but still didn’t stress it too much, focusing more on outcomes. I would have liked to finish higher at Founder’s, but it was made up for when we finished higher than we predicted we would at New England’s. Because we have new additions who have helped and returners who have improved substantially and stepped up, it has made a huge difference with the record, ” Mr. Robert DeConinck, the Girls Swim and Dive Head Coach, said.
The varsity girls basketball team also brought in some new recruits that helped with their success.
“This season, I brought needed energy to the bench as we had many bumps along the road,” Sydney Hanley ’22, a new sophomore, said. “We had some issues focusing more in practice and turning it on during the games, but I think we can work on those next year…We also worked on our team chemistry towards the end of the season by taping a different word as motivation on each of our wrists before a game, and we will continue that next year.”
“We graduated a lot of seniors, so we had newer players, more people trying to learn how to do things. Our biggest goal was winning a New England Championship and to overcome a lot of injuries. We also brought up many JV players, but we had a good run, ending in the Semi-Finals. I wanted to have fun because it was my last basketball season, and I definitely made it count,” Sky Hanley ’20, a three-year senior, added.
The team ultimately ended their run with a 16-11 record, losing narrowly in the New England Semi-Finals Tilton. The team is graduating a handful of seniors, who hope that their leadership will be taken over by the returners.
Girls varsity Squash also had a great season, considering that they graduated a large amount of their team last year. Although they didn’t achieve their goal of winning New England’s, they ended up in second place.
“The team was very young and my role [on the team] changed because of being a senior and having more experience,” Log Managing Editor Portia Inzone ’20 said.
For Portia, some of her game-day strategies include singing her favorite songs on the court during warmups, having as much fun as possible, and not beating herself down if she makes wrong shots.
“Squash is definitely a very individual and mental sport, even though you have teammates to always pick you up, advise you, and coach you,” Inzone added.
Looking back at this past winter season, Portia reflected on her mindset during some of her early matches. “I was having some troubles with getting out of my head during matches, so I wish I had more fun then, but ultimately I figured it out,” Inzone said.
This past season, the boys varsity basketball team made Loomis Chaffee proud by winning the 2020 New England Class A Champion title.
When asked how the team changed since the 2018-2019 season, Josh Menard ’20 spoke highly of his new teammates. “We got a new post-grad, RJ Blakney ’20, who helped us a lot this year. After last year, we gained a lot of maturity as a team and we got closer on and off the basketball court,” Menard said.
Freshman Caleb Crawford ’23, offered his insight on his first basketball season at Loomis. He brought energy off the court and left his ego aside to play for the team and work harder for himself and everyone else.
“Our main goal was to win the championship at New England’s and we wanted to stick together as a team this year and form a brotherhood, which we did accomplish,” Crawford stated.
Before games, the team and players individually have some rituals that they perform, including blasting music to set the tone for games. Every player prepares differently, for Menard, he likes to work out a lot before a game-day.
Their coaches, Coach Rock and Coach Dial both served as an exemplar support system for the boys, and prepared them before games by amping them up.
“We definitely did a good job midway through the year by creating a routine before games. 45 minutes before the game, we would all stretch, do warmups, practice shooting, and do layup lines as a team,” Menard added.
This year, the team won in very close matches due to their undeniable bond and maturity. Every player on that court had the goal to win New England’s, and with confidence and hard work, they accomplished it.
Although seniors will be graduating off the team this year, the team will continue to maintain its unity and strength and demonstrate strong leadership skills to new players this upcoming winter.