In Spite of the Pandemic, SA Sports Teams Excel


Senior School Varsity Tennis Team 2020-2021. (Milla Ivanova/Sewickley Academy)

Milla Ivanova

As we neared the abnormal school year last August, it was unclear whether or not we would be able to return to school in-person, let alone be able to participate in extracurricular activities like sports. However, much to the relief of many student-athletes, the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) decided that, by following proper COVID-19 regulations, fall sports could continue as planned. This allowed the Senior School students to play on the soccer, tennis, cross country, field hockey, and golf teams here at SA during the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year.

Playing a team sport and participating in practices and games with other students provides an escape from the everyday pressures of school. Certain precautionary measures were taken to ensure the safety of the student-athletes, coaches, and spectators for the fall games-masks had to be worn at all times, proper social-distancing was maintained, and limited numbers of spectators were allowed to attend games.

Despite the many novel challenges, our Sewickley Academy sports teams once again rose to the occasion, securing many wins, while all the while exceeding expectations by the guidelines mentioned above.

Several Senior School sports teams have had very exciting seasons, albeit in light of uncertainty due to the pandemic.

Varsity Girls’ Tennis continued their streak of successful seasons with an undefeated section championship. As well as dominating the AA section, the players also pulled out big wins in hard-fought matches against AAA schools like Mount Lebanon and Upper Saint Clair. Congratulations to the team for placing second in the WPIAL Championship!

The boys’ and girls’ soccer teams also had incredible seasons, both placing second in their sections, with a score, respectively, of 8 – 1 – 1 and 9 – 2 – 1 , respectively. The girls’ soccer team had a hard-fought match during the first round of the WPIAL championships against Eden Christian Academy, which went into overtime and ended with a close score of 1-2. The boys’ team had their first WPIAL playoff game this week, winning against Chartiers Valley 3-0, so they advance to the next round to play Olson. Congratulations, and best of luck, to the soccer teams!

We are very proud of varsity golf for winning the WPIAL Golf championships to culminate a successful season. With an overall score of 418 strokes, the Panthers had an 18 stroke lead. In addition to a series of section victories, senior Tim Fitzgerald secured third place in the PIAA individual championships held mid-October. Best of luck to the golf team as they advance to the PIAA State championships!

Girls’ field hockey played hard this season, with challenging games against Winchester-Thurston, Shadyside Academy, Ellis, and Aquinas Academy, for a total of 8 section games. Congratulations to seniors Mary Kai Kalenak, Serena Melonio, Mariah Pringle and team captains Clare Chiusano and Ellie Zack for a great final high school season!

Cross country competed in the WPIAL championships on Wednesday, October 29, with a great run in White Oak Park in McKeesport, with 5 runners setting personal records. The varsity boys’ team finished with an overall section score of 3 – 4, and the girls with 0 – 6 – 1. Congrats to both of the teams for their hard work and dedication throughout the season!

Navigating the challenges of participating in team sports during the pandemic era was not an easy task by any means, but thanks to the hard work of our athletic and scholastic faculty as well as our student athletes, we were able to continue as planned with our fall 2020 sports season, and many of our teams continued their annual winning streaks. Congratulations to all of the teams who have completed their seasons, and best of luck to all those who are still competing in playoffs!