"I Am St. Francis"
The Fall Sport Perspective: Five Questions for Captains Representing All Fall Sports
To explain how Fall Sports enrich a student-athlete’s high school experience, 14 captains shared their insights. These leaders work to exemplify the collaboration, discipline, and respect required at St. Francis as well as the relentless determination needed to excel in sports and in the classroom.
Thank you to our representative Team Captains:
Cheer: Grace Bucaro, Lizzy Bukowski, Jovanna Cordero
Girls: Ava Swiatek, Leah Gaul, Leann Ringsrud, Alyssa Falco
- Boys: Chris Spahn, Chris Covone, Daniel O’Connell, Andrew Hernandez
Dance: Samantha Guerra, Cece Mase, Kaitlyn Pepping, Frida Romero
Football: Ryan Calcagno, Adam Criter, Blake Lawson, TJ McMillen, Tyler Bishop, Sam Atkins
- Girls: Sarah Grivetti
- Boys: Kory Carlson, Danny Rice, Michael Rourke
Soccer, Boys: Cam Crawford, Guy DeFeo, Brendan Yarusso
Swimming, Girls: Emery Carlson, Maggie Gnorski, Ana Muller
Tennis. Girls: Madelyn Hoden, Bryn Carroll, Taylor Austin
Volleyball, Girls: Nora Los, Megan Olson
1. What do you enjoy most about your fall sport?
Alyssa (Cross Country): Definitely the environment and the atmosphere that the team creates. The team is a lot of fun to be around and the coaches are uplifting and supportive.
Ana (Swimming): I enjoy traveling to meets the most during swim season because the whole team is able to bond together as a larger group. Traveling is usually where I become closer to girls on the team.
Andrew (Cross Country): I enjoy the weather of fall sports and the comradery the most.
Ava (Cross Country): I enjoy my team the most. Everyday I look forward to practice so I can hang out with my teammates that I don’t normally see during the school day. It is so fun to come together with girls from each grade to support one another, push each other and compete together.
Bryn (Tennis): Everyone has such good energy and make you feel a part of the team, no matter what grade you are in.
Cameron (Soccer): The thing I enjoy most is the interaction with my teammates and the progression we make/have made throughout the year.
Grace (Cheer): The thing I enjoy most about fall cheerleading are the football games. I love doing cheers that get the student section excited and loud.
Guy (Soccer): Soccer is my favorite sport and I enjoy competing together with my teammates.
Kaitlyn (Dance): I personally enjoy the practices the most. Weird to think Friday night football games aren’t my favorite event, but practice is where it all begins. It is where “one more time” means 5 more times. It is where we dance until we’re out of breath, bond over the difficulties, perfect synchronization, and truly come together as a team. Performing on Friday nights would be a close second.
Leah (Cross Country): I enjoy spending time with my teammates.
Leann (Cross Country): I enjoy the positive community and the support from my teammates.
Maggie (Swimming): I most enjoy making new friendships and having fun participating in a sport we all love!
Megan (Volleyball): What I enjoy about my fall sport is having the opportunity to represent my school in games but also grow a strong relationship with my fellow teammates. Not only am I given the opportunity to get closer to other athletes my age, but I am also able to grow a connection with athletes in the younger ages. Another thing that I enjoy about playing my fall sport is that I have learned great leadership skills.
Nora (Volleyball): I love being able to play volleyball and have it be my outlet. Home games are my favorite part of volleyball. We have so many pre-game rituals that get me excited for the game and then getting to play on our home court, with the crowd cheering us on makes me so happy and pumped up.
Sam (Football): I enjoy Friday nights under the lights the most. Our games this season have been electrifying and I get to spend it with my teammates while family, friends, and teachers cheer us on.
Samantha (Dance): I enjoy being able to come to practice after a long day at school and having fun with my team. Dance team is like its own family and we really bounce off each other’s positive energy.
Taylor (Tennis): What I enjoy most about my fall sport is being able to meet new people every year and form solid friendships. I joined tennis my freshman year not knowing anyone. Quickly, some of those people I met became my best friends and we are still friends four years later.
2. How does your coach help you as an individual and team reach your goals?
Alyssa (Cross Country): The coaches are very involved with the team as a whole but also with each person and their individual needs. At the beginning of the season we set a plan for how we are going to achieve our goals, and each day throughout the season the coaches help us to stay on track by checking in and being attentive to each runner so that we can be sure to reach our full potential.
Ana (Swimming): My coach is extremely understanding and knows our limits during practices. He pushes us in practice and gives us opportunities to swim the events that we have been working so hard for in practice. As a team, he expects that we put in our best effort and that we are applying the skills that we have learned. This helps us work harder for the meets so that we can achieve as many goals as we can.
Ava (Cross Country): Both Coach Nelson and Coach Haberman do a great job helping us reach our goals by pushing us physically and mentally. It is super cool to see all our hard work pay of week after week. They always are cheering us on at practice and especially at meets. We would not be as successful as we are without Coach Nelson and Coach Haberman.
Bryn (Tennis): The coaches are very supportive of you and always keep a positive mindset.
Cameron (Soccer): Coach is always available if you have a question on what I need to do to improve. He has a style/an idea of how he wants us to play and due to having that vision, it gives us something to work towards.
Grace (Cheer): My coach helps my team and I reach our goals in so many ways. She goes out of her way to make sure that we can be the best we can be. She always motivates us to work harder.
Guy (Soccer): Coach Winslow does a good job of having us come together as a team to play positively toward our common goals for the season.
Kaitlyn (Dance): My coach helps our team be family. She encourages the captains to plan team bonding activities for the team to become closer. She has taught us to look after our teammates and always have their back. Like a family would. She has helped me become leadership material. We have had one-on-one conversations where she taught me ways to improve my extroverted side.
Leann (Cross Country): My coach is extremely encouraging and he helps us to be successful students and athletes.
Megan (Volleyball): My coach helps me as an individual by pushing me to be the best player I can be while also being a tremendous support system. My coach expresses genuine interest in helping me achieve my goals which makes it a lot easier for me to accomplish them with her support and interest in me. My coaches provide the team with positive reinforcement and encouragement while also at the same time pushes her athletes to the best of our team’s ability. Our coach has helped our team reach our goals by helping us gain confidence on and off the court.
Leah (Cross Country): He helps us by giving us long pep talks and telling us to always give our best.
Sam (Football): Every single one of my coaches helps me an extreme amount, and Coach McMillen prepares us to be better on the football field, but more importantly in life.
3. How does SFHS help you balance athletics and academics?
Alyssa (Cross Country): Everyone at SFHS is supportive and understanding. Teachers, coaches, classmates, and teammates all look out for each other and help each other to stay focused and motivated. I also find it refreshing after a long day at school to be able to take my mind off academics for a little bit and be with the team. I think that a little break is necessary, and it is much easier to stay attentive to my homework and study afterward. Staying busy helps me to work hard and keep my priorities straight.
Ava (Cross Country): SFHS helps me balance my athletics and academics by making it clear that academics come first. The activity period from 2:30-3:15 has really helped me by giving me a head start on homework and time to meet with teachers before practice.
Bryn (Tennis): Balancing school and sports aren’t easy, but Coach Tom and Coach Sawko are especially understanding when it comes to academics. The coaches understand how hard we work and are great helpers!
Cameron (Soccer): Our coach as well as the team understand that academics come first and if you need to miss a practice or come a little late so that you can catch up on homework, for example, you can do that.
Guy (Soccer): Expectations for academics are high and that same standard is transferrable to athletics.
Leah (Cross Country): At the end of every practice, Coach Nelson tells us to not play video games all night and to get home, do our homework, and get some sleep.
Leann (Cross Country): My coaches are very considerate and they realize that we have school work, so they are always pushing us to do well in school.
Megan (Volleyball): SFHS helps balance athletics and academics by offering the students an activity period. In the activity period (2:35-3:10) I am given the opportunity to talk to teachers and ask for help on current or upcoming assignments. The school also helps balance by providing many ways to receive extra help besides meeting with teachers. The school offers students who are in National Honors Society to tutor other students in the library. Lastly, the counseling department offers many different types and resources to help stay organized and plan your week accordingly with academics and athletics.
Sam (Football): St. Francis understands the workload is tough, and our coaches also know that, so no matter what our coaches put school first, so if we must miss something for school, they encourage us.
Taylor (Tennis): SFHS helps balance my athletics and academics by allowing an activity period after school, before practices/games. I can get some work done and then go to practice at 3:15.
4. Why are you glad you chose SFHS for your high school experience?
Alyssa (Cross Country): The tight-knit community of SFHS provides an experience that would be hard to find anywhere else. With the smaller community, everyone is always looking out for one another, and it is easy to form close, meaningful relationships with friends, teammates, teachers, and coaches. SFHS creates an environment where everyone feels welcome and each person is cared for.
Ava (Cross Country): I am glad I chose SFHS for my high school because I have met so many cool people through sports and extra-curriculars that have positively impacted my life.
Cameron (Soccer): The best thing about the SFHS experience has been the interactions and relationships developed with teammates. Previous captains and players have set a good example and we strive to continue that each year.
Grace (Cheer): I am glad that I chose SFHS for high school because I love how welcoming and helpful all the teachers and students are.
Guy (Soccer): I have really enjoyed my four years here and I feel prepared for the next step in college.
Kaitlyn (Dance): When I shadowed in eighth grade, I fell in love with the atmosphere of St. Francis. The atmosphere was very laid back and open to new ideas. I am glad I chose St. Francis not only for the atmosphere but for the academics. The teachers make their students their first priority. Their door or email is always open to ask questions and they reply to you fairly fast. I am certain that any teacher in the St. Francis building would be happy to help any one of their students with academic problems.
Leah (Cross Country): I am glad I chose SFHS because I would not have the same friends or the same sense of community anywhere else.
Leann (Cross Country): I am glad I chose SFHS because the small community builds family and faith.
Nora (Volleyball): I’m so thankful I chose SFHS because, since the first day here, I have felt welcomed. St. Francis is the perfect size where I feel comfortable with everyone. I can feel the support from my teachers and classmates. St. Francis has a great volleyball program here, so I’m so glad I went here and made the team freshman year and continued to play on an amazing team. I feel confident that St. Francis is preparing me for my future and I will be ready for what comes next.
Sam (Football): St. Francis has shown me what true family is. It gives us a chance to get to know everyone in our class. Because we are a smaller school, I believe I know every senior in our school, along with many underclassmen. The environment that Francis shows is like no other, and I came from public school my whole life.
Taylor (Tennis): I was able to make so many new friendships and experience such a different environment than I was used to.
5. If you could describe your fall sport/program in one word, what word would you choose?
Alyssa (Cross Country): Close-knit.
Ava (Cross Country): Family.
Bryn (Tennis): WELCOMING.
Cameron (Soccer): One. (One team, one goal)
Guy (Soccer): Grateful.
Leah (Cross Country): Strength.
Leann (Cross Country): Unity.
Maggie (Swimming): Entertaining.
Nora (Volleyball): The word that I think best describes the volleyball program is family. All levels of volleyball – freshman, JV, and varsity – are one family together. Everyone is always looking out for each other and wanting to see each other do well. I recently had my senior night, and there were so many people there to support me and the parents and other players made it such an amazing night for me and the other seniors.
Sam (Football): Family.
Samantha (Dance): Family.