The 2019-20 sports seasons usher in a new wave of leadership on the fields, and next year the Academy will be seeing a group of rising juniors stepping up into leadership positions as captains. Girls Varsity Cross Country will see Grace Russell ‘21 lead the 2017 New England Championship squad. Isabella Rolfe ‘21 will lead a talented Girls Varsity Squash team. And Angela Osei-Ampadeu ‘21 will be the first female captain in the Co-Ed Wrestling team’s history. All of these athletes will be working side by side with their coaches to get everybody motivated to perform at their peak ability.
Girls Cross Country Head Coach Dennis Cullinane complimented Grace for her commitment to the team, strong athletic capabilities, and her innate ability to make everybody feel welcomed. “If you have leadership ability then you have it,” he replied when asked if there was any reluctance in selecting a younger certain for the most vital role on the team. Ely Burke ‘19, the captain for this past season, remarked that the most difficult aspect of leading a team is finding your voice but has no qualms that Russell can handle the challenge.
Burke said, “You realize you were selected for the role for a reason.” Russell will not be alone though, co-captains Victoria Patterson ‘20 and Erin Howe ‘20 will both be there to guide her through the process. Howe is very confident in Grace’s ability next year stating, “being a leader does not mean that you’re the oldest on the team.”
Girls Varsity Squash will be led next year by Rolfe and Griffin Dewey ‘20 who has expressed excitement about leading with Rolfe, as they were the only underclassmen on the team during their first year at Deerfield. Dewey spoke to Rolfe’s leadership ability saying,
“She’s really good at getting people to listen to her and getting the attention and respect of people. I think she’ll be really good at tying the team together. We are both very organized and that should be a strong suit of the team next year. It’ll be a great time and we’ll see what happens.”
This year’s captain Ashley Manning ‘19 said the role made the sport even more important to her and that her only struggle was separating being a friend and being a captain. Manning is confident that Rolfe will make a great leader due to her dedication to the sport and noted,
“She’s in great shape and she’s always in the front during sprints. She does a lot off season and she puts a lot of effort into everything she does for the sport. One of her best qualities is how hard she works and how much effort she puts into everything she does for squash.” Head Coach Karrine Heise praised Rolfe for being such an integral part of the team, “She’s a bright capable young woman so I have faith in her lead.” Rolfe herself is incredibly excited for the opportunity, saying, “I’m looking forward to next year, we have a group of excellent players and great depth on the team. Most importantly, we have a really great group of supportive girls.”
Finally, for the first time in Deerfield history, Angela (Angie) Osei-Ampadeu ’21 will be a female co-captain of the Co-Ed wrestling team along side Chris Thaggard ’20 and John Chung ’20.
The only girl on the team during her ninth grade year, Osei-Ampadeu has demonstrated a courage and determination beyond her years.
In speaking to Osei-Ampadeu’s leadership qualities, Coach Daniel Houston says her “best quality is her ability to connect with everybody. She really makes a concerted effort and has a real talent with connecting with everyone at Deerfield. She’s talented and has the best competitive spirit.” This year’s captain Brian Shin ’19 has confidence Osei-Ampadeu will lead the team to success in the upcoming years:
“Her strengths are listening to what the coaches tell her to do, she’s already ready to go. She has the ability to be a captain I can totally see her helping people get better.”