As athletes come and go at Deerfield Academy, it is only natural for the performances of teams to fluctuate. Each sport has its highs and lows, and the graduating class often has a lot to do with each year’s success. The approach of new seasons signal a time to replenish the Academy’s athletic program, but two spring teams may struggle to replace the leadership of last year’s graduates.
For the past couple years, the girls varsity crew team stood rather uncontested, winning two consecutive National Championships, so this year, the girls have a lot to live up to. All members of last year’s first boat are now alumnae, and now a less experienced group of athletes must compete in a challenging division. Deerfield has brought in Mr. Charley Sullivan to lead the girls as their new head coach. Coach Sullivan has directed men’s club rowing at the University of Michigan for the past 20 years; there, he led the team to win the last eight national club championships and has put three rowers on the U.S. Olympic Team.
Although the Deerfield squad is currently rebuilding, Coach Sullivan is optimistic: “Even championship teams, and perhaps particularly teams hoping to repeat as champions, have to [rebuild]. In my experience as well, the year after numbers of extremely talented athletes leave, teams can often be quite fast, since talented athletes who have been in second and third boats are actually quite ready to step up and lead. This is the sense I have of this year’s group of girls.”
With the correct guidance, leadership, and hard work, the Deerfield girls rowing team aims to maintain the success and legacy left behind by the Academy’s crew veterans.
The boys varsity baseball team is in a similar situation. Many players graduated last year, few PGs will join the squad, and Head Coach Michael Silipo’s retirement looms. Senior Captain Charlie Carpenter said, “This year, we are a young, talented team. We are looking for some of the younger guys to step up in important roles.”
However, they are not without experienced leadership. Carpenter added, “We also have returners, who will play a crucial role, including Dylan Presnal, Drew Rapoza, and Beau Dana. We are really looking forward to the season.”
As the winter term comes to an end, spring teams are already hosting practices. Preseason will further bolster team chemistry. Although the girls varsity crew and boys varsity baseball squads face a dreaded rebuilding year, both teams have new promise.