As fall sports wrap up, the Winsor and Belmont Hill captains of the 2021-2022 winter varsity sports are preparing for exciting seasons. Last year, because of the pandemic, these sports mostly had practices and very few, if any, games. However, many are using their pandemic experiences as motivation to play extra hard and enjoy precious in-person time with their teammates.
All of the Winsor varsity captains are looking forward to a more competitive season with actual games against other schools. Varsity Swimming Captain Delaney Holland ’22 explains that their hybrid season consisted of Zoom fitness, in-person fitness, and early morning practices. The team had intrasquad meets and scrimmaged Dana Hall at the end of the season. This year, the team’s goals include “re-establishing the team culture and getting everyone on the same page,” especially with their new coach Rophe Mason. Similarly, Varsity Ice Hockey Captain Julia Ryan ’22 states that last year, the team had “some practices on the turf, some in the basement, and some Zoom workouts in addition to [their] on-ice practices.” This season’s goals include qualifying for the EIL tournament and “foster[ing] a fun environment where all players of varying experience and grade level feel welcomed and excited to be a part of the team.”
The Varsity Basketball Captains, Aleksaundra Handrinos ’22, MaryKate Hart ’22, and Kelly Meagher ’22, explain that their season started with “no contact and limited passing” but transitioned into masked “full team drills and contact scrimmages.” Additionally, Varsity Basketball had Zoom practices and conditioning three times a week. This season, the captains would like to “bond and gel as a team so that [they] can get back into the swing of regular games.” Likewise, Varsity Squash Captain Anika Banerjee ’22 states that last season started with “Zoom practices with fitness and team bonding” and transitioned into “court time fully masked and only one or two people on court.” They had one unofficial match against Nobles. Squash’s goals for this season include getting “back to almost completely normal squash [with] home and away games” as well as making it to Nationals in Philadelphia.
Likewise, the 2022 winter season looks to be an exciting one for Belmont Hill athletics. While some teams had normal seasons in 2021, such as basketball, hockey, squash, and the ski teams, others, like wrestling, saw substantial changes to their usual training schedules. However, with most COVID restrictions lifted, it seems that a return to normal is on the horizon. Last year, the wrestling team had a very different season. They spent most practices in the weight room because traditional wrestling was not allowed due to social distancing. This year, the team hopes to win the Graves-Kelsey tournament, the ISL wrestling tournament, and send some athletes to the National Preps Tournament, both of which Belmont Hill have been well represented at and very successful.
Although the basketball team had a much more standard season than wrestling, they would like to see a return to the top of the ISL. Likewise, the hockey team also looks to have a resurgent season after a difficult season and return to the glory of the highly successful program. The renowned Varsity Squash team, with an ISL title in the 2019-2020 season, will try to defend that title and perhaps even win the NEPSAC championship, a feat that the program has achieved many times in the past.
Both of Belmont Hill’s ski teams have ambitious goals this season. Captain of the Alpine skiing team Anton Schmitt ’22 aims “to defend our ISL title and get better every day so we can take a shot at winning NEPSACs.” Nordic skiing captain Howard Huang ’22 hopes that “the team will be able to improve their technique and cardio to beat some opponents who have been training much more but are less fit.” The Nordic skiing team also wishes “to defend their Lakes Region Championship Title.”
Overall, it looks to be a highly exciting season for Belmont Hill Athletics and a welcome return to normal from the odd past couple of years. All athletes can look forward to masked in-person practices interspersed with games, matches, and meets against other schools. As both schools transition back into pre-COVID sports rules, all of the senior varsity captains are eager to participate in one last close-to-normal season. Go Winsor and Belmont Hill!