Every fall, Belmont Hill and Winsor students, teachers, and alumni all support their respective schools at Homecoming and UTL. From a cursory glance, these two events appear drastically different from one another; Belmont Hill’s Homecoming always occurs on a Saturday afternoon and showcases soccer matches, cross country races, and the fan-favorite football game, whereas Winsor’s UTL takes place on a Friday night with main attractions such as volleyball, soccer, and field hockey. Despite these differences, the two events are more similar than they may seem; Homecoming and UTL are both highly-anticipated events that allow school communities to support athletes and celebrate their successes.
Each year, fans travel to Belmont Hill for Homecoming and expect impressive athletic performances. This fall, the BH teams did not disappoint; varsity soccer and varsity football routed their opponents while the cross country team performed well in their only home-race of the season at the Rock Meadows Course. The soccer team kicked off the Homecoming festivities when they played against Tabor Academy. Erick Silva (‘21) and Jayson Firmin (‘21) each netted goals, and Belmont Hill emerged victorious with a final score of 2-1. The football team continued the success with a dominating 21-0 victory of Roxbury Latin. Finally, the cross country team finished off the day with a meet against St. Sebastian’s, Nobles, and Groton, in which both the varsity and junior varsity teams defeated Sebs but lost to the latter two teams. Additionally, at Homecoming this year, school spirit was as prevalent as ever. The Loop, led by Quinn Richards (‘20), Trevor Riley (‘20), and Luke Khozozian (‘20), declared a ‘white-out’ theme for the day, inspired crowds of students to come out in support of the teams, and organized chants that celebrated the success of our athletes.
Like Homecoming, Winsor’s UTL is an event focused mostly on fall athletes; however, Spirit Week and the Pep Rally are much more than just that. Each year, Winsor’s school spirit club, SASS (Students Advocating for School Spirit), chooses a theme for each day of the week leading up to UTL and the entire school dresses in costumes accordingly. This year, the themes were Boston Day, Famous Duo Day, What You Found at Area 51 Day, and, according to Winsor tradition, Red Day on Friday. Each day of spirit week is a new opportunity for Winsor students (and many members of the faculty) to showcase their creativity and school spirit. During the Pep Rally on Friday before UTL, the SASS heads Elizabeth Martin ‘20, Dora Freidman ‘20, Isabella Sibble ‘20, and Caroline Cromwell ‘21 announced the winners of the costume competition for each day of the week. Additionally, each grade performed a cheer during the pep rally. In many cases, these routines were worked on for months beforehand and included original music remixes and choreography. This year the class of 2020 won the cheer competition, with the class of 2021 coming in second.
After the pep rally, though, the anticipated event of UTL officially begins. The sports games kick off with middle school field hockey and soccer. JV volleyball, soccer, and field hockey games start as the sun is going down, and varsity games start just as it gets dark and the field lights kick on. This year, varsity field hockey had an astounding 10-0 victory against LCA while varsity soccer fought hard for a 2-2 score against LCA and varsity volleyball played their closest match yet against a formidable opponent, Dana Hall, almost closing out what would have been their first set ever won against Dana but ultimately losing 0-3. On the sidelines and the bleachers, Winsor students, countless alumni, and parents cheered on their team. While Winsor doesn’t have Loop leader equivalents during UTL as many of the SASS heads are athletes and playing their own games, Winsor students take it upon themselves to lead the crowd in rounds of the Red Hot cheer. Upper Schoolers also volunteer for 30-minute shifts being the Winsor Wildcat, donning the fluffy red costume and interacting with fans. Athletes and non-athletes alike see UTL and the preceding Spirit Week as the greatest expression of school spirit at Winsor.
Even though they have their differences, Homecoming and UTL are both opportunities for the Belmont Hill and Winsor communities to come together and support student-athletes. This year, both events continued to be uplifting, energetic displays of school spirit. Since students, teachers, and alumni alike enjoy these occasions, Homecoming and UTL are traditions that are sure to last.