Like everything else these days, this three-month interlude looked and felt very strange. Practice sessions and what few interscholastic competitions actually occurred involved numerous modifications. Despite the challenges and uncertainty in their world, our Unsung Seniors, who were nominated by their coaches, inspired their teammates to be better than they might have been without their motivation and leadership.
James Kulp, a defender, and B Pollard, a midfielder, played varsity soccer the past two years.
"We loved the effort and competitive spirit that James showed every day,” said Coach Rob Ukrop. “He came in this fall prepared to embrace his role, worked hard in training, and encouraged his teammates on and off the field.
"B quietly competed each day. As a left-sided player, he served some wicked balls to our forwards in training as we prepared our attacking players to score each day. Whatever role B was asked to play in training or on game day, he was ready and put his teammates first"
Maddie Ball, an outside hitter, has competed in varsity volleyball for two years.
“Maddie consistently brought a positive attitude and brightness to practice every day this year,” said head coach Rose White. “She competed hard while still encouraging and supporting her teammates. She put a smile on our faces every day and contributed to the team athletically as well as providing leadership and friendship.”
Kylee Sanderson and Sarina DePalma are also two-year varsity performers, but in tennis.
“Kylee’s super consistent groundstrokes were a contributing factor for her successful finish this season with a 5-1 record,” said head coach Allyson Brand. “She always had a smile on her face whether we were doing fitness or drills and games. She was a great team member, always engaging with her teammates and enjoying the experience.
“Sarina was a great team player, cheerleader, and motivator. With her positive attitude and work ethic, she encouraged her teammates during both practice and sports performance. Her strong serve and groundstrokes helped her finish the season 3-2 and win her last three matches.”
Rebekah Wright served in the indispensable behind-the-scenes role in the tennis program.
“Rebekah has been a great manager over the past several years,” Brand continued. “She is super helpful, proactive, and very encouraging to everyone around. Her positive attitude and energy were seen on and around the courts. Her outgoing personality is contagious.”
Hallie Brost, who’s signed a letter-of-intent to Ohio State, is a five-year starter, primarily at center back, on Collegiate’s varsity field hockey team. She’s earned multiple All-League of Independent Schools, All-VISAA, and All-Metro commendations and is a member of the U-17 junior national team.
“This season, Hallie was so much more than her stats and accolades,” said Coach Karen Doxey. “She was an amazing role model who dazzled us with her skills but also made the effort to check in on players to make a big team seem small. She encouraged everyone. She had a presence that said, ‘Do this, and we will go far,’ and her teammates followed willingly. Hallie unified the team by bringing them together even though we had to stay apart.”
Tate Crawford has competed on the varsity field hockey squad for two years as a midfielder.
“Tate was super helpful in any situation,” Doxey said. “She understood what was supposed to be done, how to set up, what the concept was, and how to communicate with her teammates. She could direct and lead in a straightforward manner that was helpful, encouraging, and supportive. She could do this because she listened, was focused, and didn’t dwell on mistakes. Tate really stepped up to be a leader in drills and in play by being aware and working hard and on the sidelines with her selfless encouragement to keep the team in the forefront.”
Haley Jenkins is a four-year varsity field hockey starter at forward.
“Every team needs a Haley Jenkins,” Doxey said. “She wasn’t afraid to show her spirit, passion, energy, and absolutely unbridled desire to create havoc upon her opponents. You could always hear her saying, ‘Here we go, Cougs!’ in her uplifting, motivating manner. In addition, she knew how to leverage joy through laughter while consistently working her hardest to get the job done. Anyone that brings this level of intensity and fun is indispensable anytime, let alone in a pandemic!”
Football was designated a high-risk sport because of COVID, so the Cougars’ season was limited to daily workouts and spirited, fast-moving flag football games the last few weeks. Despite losing their final trip around the Prep League, senior captains Hunter Milligan, John Ballowe, Noah Kiczales, and Jack Stepanian kept the spirits high and the trains running on time.
“These guys drew from 14 combined years of varsity experience and held the team together,” said Coach Mark Palyo. “They knew what the challenges would be going through a season with no competitions. They each played a significant role in keeping their teammates positive and working hard. In the end, I think the experience was positive not only for these four but also for the 16 other seniors and 28 underclassmen. I am grateful for their contributions.”
Grace Cornell, Elyse Cram, and Thomas Hutchins, senior captains of the cross country team, guided their squads through a season like none other.
“The lessons that their resilience, positivity, and dedication to team building taught to those who will come after them is a magnificent work in and of itself,” said Coach Matthew Richardson. “All are accomplished runners. Their individual careers include great races, awards, and impressive personal bests, but nothing can compare to the immeasurable impact they made on the generations of runners that will fill the void they leave behind. The success that will certainly follow will have been built on the bridge that Grace, Elyse, and Thomas built to carry our program through this difficult time.”