Coach John Calandros and the Wildcats had one of the best seasons in Rye Country Day history last year. They had a perfect record of 10-0, won their New England Prep School Athletic Conference Bowl game against Pingree School and were ranked as in the top 5 high school football teams of New York State. This amazing season will be tough to replicate, with the Wildcats losing star quarterback Jared Washington and running back Sam Stone.
By Melanie Cane and Paul Rapisardi
Last Football Season May Be Tough to Replicate
Coach John Calandros and the Wildcats had one of the best seasons in Rye Country Day history last year. They had a perfect record of 10-0, won their New England Prep School Athletic Conference Bowl game against Pingree School and were ranked among the top-five high school football teams of New York State. This amazing season will be tough to replicate, with the Wildcats losing star quarterback Jared Washington and running back Sam Stone.
These losses don’t faze Coach Calandros, who is confident in this year’s rising seniors. Players such as Raishaun McGhee, a 3 year returning starter and quarterback and Henry Heller, offensive/defensive lineman. This year’s team also includes offensive/defensive linemen Matt Veatty and running back/linebacker Tyler Miller. The Wildcats are playing a competitive schedule, filled with three section 1 teams, Bronxville, Tuckahoe and Roosevelt High School.
They also are playing in the Fairchester league, with rival Hackley school. Coach Calandros attributes much of the teams success to a “strong junior varsity and middle school programs which creates players who are ready to step up.”
Rising Seniors Shine in Boys’ Soccer
Last season was a year of “almosts” for boys’ soccer. They reached the finals of the Fairchester Athletic Association and the NYSAISAA, but were unable to win the championship both times. However, for coach Cristiano Pereira, expectations are still riding high. “We have talented group of juniors and sophomores ready to step up and join forces with our very experienced seniors.”
After losing their leading scorer, Alex Gendleman and their captain goalkeeper Jon Karp, the Wildcats have a lot of talent to make up.
Rising seniors such as defender Ignacio de Lera, considered by Coach Pereira to be the “one of the best this school has seen,” are more than ready to pick up where the team left off last year. Additionally, rising sophomores and juniors, Andrew Staker, Alec Boccafuso, Paul Leake, Tyler Kaye, Billy Sobel and Mickey Farber will impact the team.
Coach Pereira knows there will be tough NYSAISAA games, including their matches against Fieldston and Horace Mann. In the FAA, their rival King, will provide a challenge. Like any team, “our goal is to reach all three finals once again,” Coach Pereira confidently said.
Field Hockey Is Forceful
Last season’s field hockey team finished its season with a 12-2-3 record and captured the New York State Association of Independent Schools championship by defeating top-ranked Nichols. It marked the fourth state championship for RCDS’ field hockey program and the second state title in three years.
This year’s team is missing eight valuable senior players, but they hope to remain a force to be reckoned with nevertheless. In fact, Coach Georgette Summers said she’s striving to replicate last year’s success. The three senior tri-captains, Annie Grayer, Clare McClintock, and Eve Wulf echoed Coach Summer’s sentiments. “Winning the state championship as seniors would be a phenomenal way to end our high school hockey careers,” said McClintock.
Tryouts began this week. Although the full team has not been selected, Coach Summers said players to watch are the tri-captains as well as Emily Duarte, Zoe Verni, and Mariana Lee.
Tennis Players Volleying For Slots
The girls’ tennis team had an excellent 2011 season, finishing at 8-3. Coach Gary Solem called it his best season since he began coaching.
Although the team has four spots to fill, the top two singles players are returning: senior co-captain Alli Wong and sophomore Kate Weiss. Solem called them the players to watch this season.
The other co-captain is Summer Kitahara. Her sister, Jasmine, also is returning to the team as a freshman.
Wong said the team hopes to recruit some more seniors, since there are only four on the team.
Cross-Country Team Replete With Young Runners
This year’s cross-country team is comprised of seven girls and 22 boys.
On the girls’ side, the team is primarily sophomores, except for senior captain Georgia Kleiner. Assistant Coach Steve Balser describes Kleiner as a solid runner and a very inspirational leader. Another runner to watch, according to Balser, is sophomore Acacia Dougan. Dougan was injured last season, but is an outstanding athlete.
On the boys’ side, senior Matt Crowley and junior James Pierpont are team captains. Crowley is one of the best runners in the league. Last year, he finished first in the season ending NYSAIS championship. Both Crowley and Pierpont placed in the top 20 in the Fairchester Athletic Association championship, earning All-League Honorable Mention.
Balser said the runners range from those using cross-country to get in shape for other sports, such as fencing or basketball, to newcomers and others who take their running very seriously.
“We have a diverse group of kids among our many returning sophomores and juniors, but they are a cohesive group who are very supportive of one another.”
Crowley, Evan Wong, and Vlady Rachev are expected to lead the team and run well.
In his second season, Coach Alin Andrei is looking to build off last year’s successes with appearances in both the Fairchester Athletic Association and state tournaments.
In order to once again make those tournaments, and hopefully win them, the Wildcats “must to work 10 times harder then last year.” To Coach Andrei, the seniors as a whole will make the biggest impact: “they worked very hard last year, and I am sure all of them want to be a good example for all the players on the team.”
In addition, underclassmen Lizz Judd, Samantha Friedwald, Eleanor Fanto, Julie Shanus are all players to watch. All teams will pose a challenge, but Coach Andrei specifically named St. Lukes, Riverdale and Greenwich Academy as the toughest teams that the Wildcats will play.