Senior Lindsey Wiley commits to Prairie View A&M

Senior Lindsey Wiley signed her commitment to play D1 volleyball at Prairie View A&M on April 12 in the McCallum library. Wiley was joined by family, friends, her coaches and teammates to celebrate the decision and enjoy some refreshments.

Wiley was the captain of the team for two years and served as the libero (defensive specialist) as well.

“Her work ethic, determination, academic excellence and her athletic skills make me want 15 to 20 more athletes like her,” head volleyball coach Amy Brodbeck said. Principal Mike Garrison and athletic director Thomas Gammerdinger also shared a few remarks about their time knowing Wiley.

Reporting by Alex Dowd and Gregory James. Footage by Bella Russo and Gregory James.




Boys soccer makes history

By the time McCallum’s varsity soccer team stepped onto Rattler Field in San Marcos to face off against the San Antonio Southwest Dragons, the Knights had already gone farther in the playoffs than the team had in the past 13 years.

“We went further than we have since 2006 and the furthest we’ve ever gone in my tenure as a coach,” head coach Nick Martin said.

So when the final whistle of McCallum’s season blew and the team fell 2-0 to the Dragons, the Knights were still proud of their season overall.

“We accomplished so much that we were all happy,” senior Anthony Bataille said. “Obviously, we wanted to go further. We all played very well and it was just a great game.”

At the beginning of district play, the Knights looked like a team that might struggle to even make the playoffs, let alone win a couple of playoff games. Through six district games, the Knights were only able to get one win. However, the Knights then caught fire over the next six district games, winning five of those and securing a spot in the playoffs. This turnaround in the Knights season came because the team started playing more together and less individually.

“We all started clicking, playing as a team,” senior team captain Adrian Martinez Castro said. “At the beginning of the year it was kind of individual, but then we started playing as a team, so we got better.”

Gabby Sherwood
The Knights huddle up at Rattler Field during their 2-0 loss to the San Antonio Southwest Dragons. “We accomplished so much that we were all happy,” senior Anthony Bataille said. “Obviously, we wanted to go further. We all played very well and it was just a great game.”

Martin agrees that unselfish play is what ultimately allowed the Knights to achieve so much this year.

“When you have a group of players who want to make everyone look good and not playing selfishly, you’re going to have a successful team and we had that this year,” Martin said. “And that makes all the difference.”

Sophomore goalie Vaughn Burger believes that the player’s good relationships with each other allowed the team to succeed with a team-oriented style of play.

“I think our relationship, we’re all friends, it helped,” Burger said.

Despite their success in the second half of district play, it wasn’t until the Knights won their first playoff game, a 1-0 victory of Boerne-Champion that included a goal by Martinez and a shutout by Burger, that the team knew they were capable of a special season.

“The first round of playoffs was when we really knew we can do this, we can go further,” Bataille said. “This was supposedly the second best team in San Antonio and we knew that. We went out there and we beat them and it felt good. It was like, ‘Alright, it we’re good, we can go far’.”

For Martin, that win was just one of many special moments throughout the season.

“Destroying Austin High in the beginning of the season was great,” Martin said. “Winning our first playoff game was great. Winning our second game was great. There wasn’t one moment, there were many wonderful moments throughout the season.”

Goals by Bataille, junior Lucas Ramos de Barros and senior Marcel Lopez Reed, carried the Knights to a 3-1 victory over San Antonio Southside in their second round playoff win, which secured the team’s best result since 2006.

Senior Anthony Bataille advances the ball past a San Antonio Southwest defender during the Knights’ 2-0 loss on April 6. Photo by Gabby Sherwood.

For the seniors, the loss to San Antonio Southwest in the third round of the playoffs meant the end of not only a great season, but a great career with McCallum soccer. The seniors who were on the varsity team last year were a part of a miraculous mid-season turnaround which helped the Knights reach the playoffs for the first time in four years. And this year, they lead the team to its best season in 13 years. What the seniors are going to miss most, however, is not the results, but each other.

“I’m going to miss the guys, the great guys,” Bataille said. “It was just a fun team, good players. And going to practice with them, having the games with them, I’m going to miss all of it.”

Martin is going to miss this year’s seniors as well.

“I’m going to miss them as individuals,” Martin said. “You get to know them over four years and as players they’re wonderful, but as people they’re even better. I will miss being around those guys because they’re all very good people individually.”

For the rest of the team that will be back with McCallum soccer next year, their focus has moved on from this year’s success, to the prospect of next season.

“I don’t think we will be where we were, because all of these great seniors are leaving, but I think we’re looking forward to some good talent coming in,” Burger said.

Martin is also looking forward to seeing some new faces on the varsity team next year.

“I always like seeing who is going to step up and improve from JV or a varsity sub because when the seniors leave they always leave holes, so somebody has to step up and fill that space,” Martin said. “So I always like to see who is going to step up and have their game improve to such an extent that they can take that person’s space.”

If the Knights can successfully fill those holes left by the graduating seniors, the team will have a chance to achieve similar or even better success than this year’s impressive season.




The Wright stuff

For as long as he can remember, Aiden Wright has loved basketball. His father taught him when he was 4, and it was love at first swoosh. Recently, he has played for Kealing Middle School, Texas Harwood Prospects, and after being the only freshman to make the varsity basketball team last semester, he now plays for McCallum.

Although his skills are indisputable, some may wonder if Wright is accepted on his team, but he doesn’t seem to be having any trouble fitting in. In fact, he is proud of how much he and his teammates have accomplished over the season.

“We’ve been doing pretty well,” Wright said, ”we’re 20-13 overall and 9-5 in district. I think we work really well together as a team.”

Sadly, the season is over, but the memories he made aren’t going anywhere.

Dave Winter
Wright takes it strong to the hole past three Crockett defenders in the Knights’ road victory over the Cougars to start district play on Dec. 20. Photo by Dave Winter.

“I know that in the offseason our bond as a team will become stronger,” Wright said with confidence.

At first glance, Wright may seem very shy and reserved, but people who know him say the opposite.

“He’s very funny, loud sometimes, and he really pushes you through everything,” said Wyatt Cunningham, a member of McCallum’s freshman A basketball team and Wright’s friend since kindergarten.

“He is very determined, he loves working hard and he is very aggressive.”

Grace Nugent
Two generations of the Wright stuff: Palmer and Aiden were opponents at the alumni game on Nov. 16. A freshman on varsity this year, Aiden should get three more shots to get even. Photo by Grace Nugent.

Cunningham, like Wright’s team, sees his dedication. Hopefully, his passion will take him from McCallum High School to where almost every high school basketball player dreams of going: the NBA.

Many of his friends believe he could make it.

They have seen him grow as a player over the years and know he will improve even more in the future.

“He has always had a good shot, but more recently he has started driving to the [basket] more,” Cunningham said.

With hard work and the natural talent that Wright has, he could make it to his dream college, Syracuse University. He could possibly even be given the opportunity to play for his dream NBA team, the Sacramento Kings.

We don’t know if Wright will meet the goals he has set for himself, but we do know that he is a committed player, and we’re glad he is representing McCallum.

Annabel Winter
A FROSH START: In his debut in a McCallum uniform, Aiden Wright suited up with the freshman team and scored 16 points in a road victory at Georgetown on Nov. 9. After battling to a one point halftime lead at 31-30, the frosh Knights pulled away in the second half to win by 12, 62-50. Photo by Annabel Winter.




He’s called ‘Ace’ for a reason

The Shield: When and how did you get started with baseball?

Abraham (Ace) Dietz: I started in second grade in this little league tournament and then I played for Northwest Little League and then I went to Pony and then I played club for ABC and then I played some select ball in middle school and then tried out for McCallum and got on. Over the summer I play baseball also, so it’s like a year round thing.

TS: What first caused you to get started with baseball?

AD: I used to play soccer and then I started not liking it so I moved on. My dad wanted me to play baseball because I’m left handed. And then I liked pitching, that was the main thing I liked so ever since then I’ve liked pitching.

TS: What do you like about pitching?

AD: One thing I like about pitching is that you can control how the game goes, how fast the pace is, it can be up to you how the game goes, so I like that.

TS: When you’re not pitching do you play other positions?

AD: I used to play outfield. I sometimes play right field or center field. And then I bat sometimes, but usually I just focus on pitching.

TS: How long have you been on varsity?

AD: Two years, this is my second year. Our new varsity coach is Coach Grant and last year I was with Coach Alvarez.

Dave Winter
Dietz and sophomore catcher CJ Owen talk at the mound during the Knights’ first win of the season against the McCallum alumni team on Feb. 16 at Northwest Park. The varsity won the game 12-10.

TS: How would you say the season’s been going so far?

AD: The season’s been going pretty well, we just have to adjust. We lost a lot of our seniors last year and we have a lot of young players on varsity and we’re learning how to play together.

TS: What’s it been like to have a new coach this year?

AD: I like it because it’s one of the first times I’ve actually had a coach that knows baseball knowledge and in game situations. He knows a lot about pitching and batting and all the stuff.

TS: What are some of your individual goals and what are some of your team goals for this year?

AD: An individual goal is to have one of the lowest ERAs in the district and one of my team’s goals is to win as a team and to eliminate errors.

TS: So you’re kind of the ace pitcher this year, right?

AD: Yeah, I’m the starting pitcher.

TS: What’s it like to move up the rotation?

AD: I like it because you can teach. Yzmael (Izquierdo) is the second ace and he’s a sophomore so I like to tell him, ‘this is how you’re supposed to do it, you’re very young at pitching so don’t put a lot of stress over it, just relax and have fun’.

TS: What’s been the highlight of your season so far?

AD: My highlight of the season was probably when we went to Fredericksburg and I pitched pretty well against Fredericksburg and we almost won, we tied it and I pitched the whole game and did really well.




Taking her shot (put)

The Shield: When did you first start shot put and discus?

Kyla Gibson: I started freshman year. I had never done it before. They were like, “Hey, you look pretty strong; let’s see how you do”. From then on, I got pretty decent at it.

TS: What was your inspiration? How did you get into it?

KG: An old coach who used to go here, Coach Stanchec, and Coach Broadbeck. I did volleyball, and Coach Broadbeck told me “You seem pretty strong and you have a lot of strength in your legs. Let’s try it out.” After that, I was like, “OK, it’s not that bad.” I talked to my mom, and she told me that she used to these events. It’s kind of cute [that] we both did it at the same time.

TS: You said you’ve been on the team since freshman year. Did you start on JV and move up from there?

KG: Yeah, I started on the JV [team]. In sophomore year, Coach told me, “Congratulations, you’ve been moved up. You’ve proved yourself.”

TS: What are practices like?

KG: We usually warm up with the runners, so we do dynamic stretching. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Fridays, we go into the shed downstairs, grab our shots and do more dynamic warm-ups. We throw behind us to see how far we can throw, we practice the movements and then we get in the ring and go all out.

I did volleyball, and Coach Broadbeck told me ‘You seem pretty strong and you have a lot of strength in your legs. Let’s try it out.’”

— Kyla Gibson

TS: I know the meets are really long, so how do you warm up beforehand?

KG: Well, we have to be here at 6 a.m. sometimes, and we don’t get to the event until like 7 or 8, depending on how far away it is. We have about 30 minutes to warm up, and then they’re like, “Alright, varsity girls, let’s go!”

TS: How is the event scored?

KG: There’s a guy or girl with a clipboard there. The only time that [the throw] doesn’t count is if it goes outside of the ring or if you step into the ring. You have to enter through the back and exit from the back. If you don’t, they yell “scratch,” and it doesn’t count. It can either be your worst throw or your best throw, so it kind of sucks.

TS: What is your goal for this season?

KG: I’m trying to reach 30 [feet] this year. Last year my final throw, my PR, was 26 something, and [this year] I’m starting off at 26. So I’m going to the weight room and lifting; hopefully, I’ll get up to 30.

TS: I heard that at the [Dripping Springs] meet you threw your personal record. Can you walk me through that event?

KG: I was honestly surprised. Like, I hadn’t thrown in months. I was watching the other girls throw [in practice,] and some of them were throwing 30 feet easily. I was thinking, “I’m the smallest one here, both height and size-wise. But it doesn’t matter.” My coach was there, and he told me just to throw: “Put all of your muscles into it, and you’ve got it.” So I got up there and I was like, “Alright, that wasn’t bad.” I was just aiming for the first line, and I ended up getting it a little bit past. I was like, “Okay, I reached that goal, so maybe I can make it to the middle.” What also helped me was that all the people that were throwing really well in practice did not do as well during the actual meet. I was told that I PRed, and I looked online to see my scores from last year, and I increased by like two feet. I was like, “I haven’t even lifted or worked out for that event in a while.” So, throwing two feet more… I was ecstatic.

Something that I’d tell freshmen or anyone who hasn’t done it is that it’s all okay. You’re not going to be the strongest, you’re not going to be the tallest, not going to be the biggest, but don’t let them underestimate you.”

— Kyla Gibson

TS: What’s something that people might not know about the differences between shot put and discus?

KG: One thing that people don’t really know is that the footwork is kind of the same. In shot put you can do a spin, but I do a kickback. The spin is complicated, and I’m gonna fall. The footwork is actually similar, but shot put is more with your legs, and discus is more with your whole body.

TS: Would you say you enjoy shot put more?

KG: Yes, definitely. One good thing is that I’ve made a lot of friends with people from different schools so I can be like, “Hey, I don’t know what I’m doing,” and they’ll be like, “Me either.” [laughs]

TS: What advice would you give to the freshmen doing into these events?

KG: Something that I’d tell freshmen or anyone who hasn’t done it is that it’s all okay. You’re not going to be the strongest, you’re not going to be the tallest, not going to be the biggest, but don’t let them underestimate you. A lot of people that are really small could throw like 34 feet! Just don’t worry about the others, you’ve got it.

TS: What has been your proudest moment from this season and previous years?

KG: In freshman year it was placing in district. I had never done it before, and then I ended up getting second. Last year I ended up placing seventh in district and wasn’t expecting it at all. For this year, it was PRing.

TS: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

KG: If you do track, try to do shot put!




Lucky No. 13 is McCallum’s kind-hearted warrior

One minute left on the clock. It’s the last time she will represent McCallum, wearing No. 13.

The gym is going wild like they all just won a million dollars. Coach is yelling “Come on ref!” Her dad and grandma are cheering from the stands.

What’s going through her mind?

Selena De Jesus
Maddy Stine splits two Crockett defenders to launch a shot attempt during the Knights loss to the Cougars on Jan. 22. Photo by Selena De Jesus.

Thirty seconds left.

She has the ball in her hand. She dribbles up for the basket. She shoots. She scores.

I see the pain in her face. I see it in her when she’s trying to get down the court. I think its really difficult, but she pushes through it.”

— Head coach Lorie Campbell

Twenty-five seconds left. Her asthma kicks in. Fifteen seconds and counting down. Coach yells for a timeout.

The clocked stopped. Maddy uses this time to catch a breather.

The game resumes, and the clock keeps winding down.

The other team has the ball and is up by 11 points, what is her next move? Her team manages to steal the ball 0.5 seconds left. They pass it to Alicia, but she doesn’t have a clear shot. She passes it back to Carolyn.

The buzzer goes off.

Time’s up.

Maddy shakes hands with her opponents and goes over to the other seniors to give them a hug and cry it all out together. It looks and sounds as if someone they love has just passed away. It’s the last time this team will play together.

It may have been Maddy’s last time on the court, but it was definitely a moment to be remembered.

Risa Darlington-Horta
Maddy pump fakes and LBJ defender during the Jag’s victory over the Knights on Dec. 11. Photo by Risa Darlington-Horta.

Her coach said afterward that No. 13 will be sorely missed.

“I would take Maddy any day over somebody that’s 6-7,” varsity head coach Lorie Campbell said.

With asthma, that’s an extra challenge. She got her inhaler, and she’s got bad allergies. … All those things are stack up against her but she never complains.”

— Rob Stine, Maddy's father

As a senior and one of the team’s captains, Maddy had a lot of responsibilities to her team. She earned her spot as captain, Campbell said because she “genuinely cares about people. … She approaches younger athletes, and when she’s giving advice, and she brings joy to others.”

But along with these leadership qualities, Maddy also had a challenge to overcome. She has asthma, which she said flatly is a pain in the posterior for a basketball player. Being an athlete with asthma is a big challenge for everyone.

The way she handled the challenge impressed her coach.

“I applaud her,” Campbell said. “I see the pain in her face. I see it in her when she’s trying to get down the court. I think its really difficult, but she pushes through it.”  

Maddy has been playing and pushing through it since she was 7 years old.

“At first, it was just something for her and her stepsister to do together, but she has really taken into basketball,” said Maddy’s father Rob Stine, who is also her biggest fan.

Selena De Jesus
Maddy poses with dad, Rob Stine, who is also her biggest fan, on Senior Night in the Don Caldwell Gymnasium on Feb. 5. The elder Stine was a fixture in the stands at Maddy’s games. Photo by Selena De Jesus.

At every game, home or away, if you looked into the stands, you would see Maddy’s dad.

[To] lead other people while you are dealing with your own issues is challenging. You have to set that aside and focus on others as a whole instead of [on yourself as] an individual.”

— senior Maddy Stine

“Some advice I give her a lot of is [that] she needs to pace herself, conserve her energy,” Rob Stine said. “With asthma, that’s an extra challenge. She got her inhaler, and she’s got bad allergies, too, and boy, central Texas has a lot of pollen and everything else. All those things are stack up against her but she never complains.”

Nothing would keep this competitor from playing the sport she loves, not even asthma. Her dad said that basketball has shaped her into being a great student and becoming a “well-rounded person.”

“I hope she’s learned enough up into this point and has enough confidence being built and being good at things that she never decides not to try something because she thinks she might not be good enough,” he said. “She realizes that she’s gonna be great at whatever she tries.”

Her basketball career might be behind her but her bright future lies ahead.

Reflecting on her Senior Night experience on Feb. 5 has made Maddy realize just how much playing basketball has taught her about life and about herself.

“After 10 years of playing, [I] realize how much playing basketball can make you grow as a person and [help you] know how to deal with things,” Maddy said. “It helps you with life skills, and skills as an athlete to be able to work with other people and a team and be social.”

Basketball teaches life skills to all players, but dealing with asthma on the court made the lessons harder to learn but ultimately more valuable.

Selena De Jesus
Stine lays a shot off the glass during the Knights second victory of the season over Reagan on Jan. 25. Photo by Selena De Jesus.

“That’s really hard sometimes because you know you wanna be on the court the whole game, but sometimes you’re so tired, your body has to take a break, [so] coach will take me out.”

Every second on the court counts for this senior, and she got aggravated when her asthma took many of those precious seconds away.

Battling asthma while also being team captain was a double challenge for Maddy.

“[To] lead other people while you are dealing with your own issues is challenging,” Maddy said. “You have to set that aside and focus on others as a whole instead of [on yourself as] an individual.”

Maddy makes sacrifices so others can improve.

That’s what a real leader does. With college applications, work and her social life off the court, Maddy has a lot of balls in the air, but she makes time to practice, to improve and to be a role model for the varsity underclassman and the younger players on the JV team.

Asthma may make things tough, but Maddy is even tougher. She is not going to stop pursuing her passion and hopes to play intramural basketball in college. Whatever she decides to do her biggest fan always has her back. And so does her coach. Campbell said she is willing to write Maddy a recommendation letter to any college.

 

 




Mac track does the Texas Relays

Deron Gage, Major Faught, Jonathan Porter and Elijah Griffin represented McCallum track at the 92nd Annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the UT campus.

“This is a prestigious honor for any track athlete,” Coach Joshua Amy told MacJournalism. “They competed against the fastest kids in the state.” Deron Gage ran in the 100-meter dash on Friday afternoon, and he competed along with Faught, Griffin and Porter in the 4×100 relay on Saturday morning. “Due to the strenuous qualifications, some schools only get one or two athletes that make it. It is an incredible achievement that these guys also made a relay event.”

We are proud to devote our this week’s #TuesdayTop10 to Mac’s appearance at the Texas Relays.




In the fourth episode of ‘The S Word,’ we catch up with Mac baseball’s dynamic coaching duo as the Knights try to earn their coaches career win No. 100

The S Word heads to the diamond to interview first-year MAC baseball coaches Brandon Grant and Steve Searle, and three of their Knight varsity players (senior Noah Cooley, junior Cole Davis and freshman Diego Barraz) on Monday April 1, the day before the Knights try to earn win No. 100 for the dynamic Grant/Searle duo today against Reagan at Northwest Park.

Stella Shenkman
THE PRIDE OF PORTABLE 14: Coach Brandon Grant, junior center-fielder Cole Davis, senior catcher and rally captain Noah Cooley, freshman outfielder/pitcher Diego Barraz and assistant head coach Steve Searle share stories about how the new coaches have bonded with their new team and created a new culture of competition and fun this year. Photo by Stella Shenkman.




Right On Target

Students have grown up with heroes donning a bow-and-arrow on the big screen, from Katniss Everdeen to Hawkeye, but now some are themselves taking to the shooting range. Within the last year, McCallum’s archery club has grown in hopes to become an established competitive team, as incoming students from Lamar will be the “real deal,” according to McCallum parent and Highland Park coach Jim DeLine.

Sophomore Mariana Torres DeLine has brought the sport to the school, with a seven-year background, in hopes of sharing her passion with other Mac student archers.
“I’ve been wanting to start up a team since last year, and this year we actually got something started,” Torres DeLine said. “What I really want is to go get people to try something new… it takes courage to try something different.”

The archery blub is tied to Highland Park Elementary school’s nationally-ranked archery program, led by Torres DeLine’s father. As the Highland Park Elementary Scottie Shooters who finished in fourth at nationals in Louisville will be moving to Lamar, the Lamar students who finished 11th at state will need a space to compete at the next level.

Diamante Diaz
Lamar shooter Victoria Strama lines up using a tool called a “string bow,” something archers use to determine the alignment of their stance or posture. The tool also aids archers in training with release and holding the bow.

A majority of the archery club members had never shot before but have nothing but good things to say about their experience.

“My favorite part about archery is being able to learn every single practice,” sophomore Andrea de Poo Lamadrid said.

Torres DeLine spoke about one of her proudest moments with the team: the first time they all shot from 15 meters.

“Fifteen meters is always a little unpredictable, so it was actually a huge achievement that all the arrows made it on the target.”

Starting with about 13 people, the team has narrowed down to about eight regulars. Though the students vary in personality, they have “really become friends,” Torres DeLine said.

“We’re all dorky in our own way,” she continued, describing how the club has brought together even the shyest of members. “People I hadn’t even known well before are a part of something we all look forward to on Thursdays.”

Coach Nancy Nitardy agrees with this assesment of the team.

Diamante Diaz
McCallum sophomore Nathan Ray lowers himself to call out his target partner’s points to the judge notating and confirming their scores.

“It’s competitive, but they’re encouraging and supporting each other all the time,” she said. “Quite a few didn’t even know each other, and now they’re all friends. It’s a fun sport, and in my opinion, underrated. It’s not as flashy as other sports, but it teaches you the importance of technique and practice and patience. It makes you set goals and learn how to achieve them. It’s different and unique. I wanted to share that with people.”

The team meets every other Thursday, welcoming and practicing with members at every level.

“It takes time, practice and patience,” de Poo Lamadrid said, a mantra apparently used by many members of the team.

“Be patient and practice,” Torres DeLine said. “I can’t promise wins or medals or first places, but I can promise an unforgettable experience and memories. … I’ve shot thousands of arrows to get to where I am, and there’s still work to be done. One arrow can change the way you shoot. The greatest strength you can have is to be patient.”

The qualities that make a good archer are qualities you can choose to have, Nitardy said.

“Anybody and everybody can learn how to shoot,” Nitardy said.

At the McCallum archery tournament on Dec. 15, archers from 13 schools competed along with eighth McCallum shooters. Garrett Michulka won first place in the ninth-grade boys division.

“Shooting is a time for anyone to just push everything aside and just focus on your target,” Michulka said.

Archers new and experienced competed.

“It’s a mental sport,” Torres Deline said. “That’s what makes it so competitive. Anyone can do it; it just takes a bit of focus.”




In third episode of ‘The S Word,’ we catch up with girls soccer captains on eve of their playoff opener

In the third episode of The Spoken Word, reporters Bella Russo and Kristen Tibbetts sit down with three of the four varsity girls soccer captains: Henna McRae, Delaney Carter and Ellie Stites. The team plays its first playoff match 7 p.m. Friday night against San Antonio Veterans Memorial, a team the Lady Knights have never faced before.

Even though they have made it to the playoffs every year, the captains are hopeful to make it past the first round for the first time in their high school careers. After losing to Dripping Springs the previous two years, the team is excited to have already faced (and defeated) the Tigers once in two tries now that Drip is a district foe.

The senior captains also take a moment to reflect on the season, including their historic victory over Drip, and how they have grown since their freshman years.

Gregory James
Shield reporters Bella Russo and Kristen Tibbetts catch up with three of the four girls varsity soccer captains (Ellie Stites, Delaney Carter and Henna McRae) on the eve of their opening round state playoff game. Photo by Gregory James.




In the inaugural episode of the Spoken Word podcast, the boys varsity bowling team prepares for state

In the first episode of The S Word, or The Spoken Word, The Shield‘s exclusive podcast series, host Alex Dowd and producer Stella Shenkman catch up with three members of the boys varsity bowling team — senior Anthony Bourda, senior Gordon Bolton and sophomore John Pratt — as they prepare to make a run at a state championship at the end of this month. To find out what motivates the team to excel, how they each got started in the sport and the secret of their collective success, an undefeated regular season and district championship, listen to the first episode of The S Word.

Frances Arellano
The varsity bowling team poses for a picture after thrashing Anderson, 17-0, at Dart Bowl on Feb. 1. At that point in the season, the boys were 6-0 for the season, and had outscored their opponents, 95-7. Photo by Frances Arellano.




Chalk It Up

For the fourth straight year, two members of the Shield are going head to head in a battle of college basketball predictions. Returning to the ring is senior sports editor Steven Tibbetts, who took home a tie last year. His challenger this year is his sister, junior staff reporter Kristen Tibbetts, who will be joining the competition for the first time this year. Whoever can correctly predict the most Final Four teams will earn this year’s title and eternal bragging rights. Now for the predictions.

STEVEN:

DUKE: Duke is the most obvious choice out there to make the Final Four. In fact,  I believe they will win the whole tournament. Of course, it starts with Zion Williamson, the freshman phenom taking over the world of sports and his 22 points a game on 69 percent shooting to go along with an average of nine rebounds. What people tend to forget is that Duke has two other freshmen, leading scorer RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, who look like they will be lottery picks in the NBA draft. Say Williamson has a rare off-night, Barrett and Reddish alone have enough talent to take Duke past any team they might face through the Elite Eight. And if Williamson stays healthy and on his game, it is hard to imagine Michigan State, or any other team in the East Region, taking down the Blue Devils.

NORTH CAROLINA: I’m sticking with the Tar Heels in the Midwest Region despite getting burned by them last year when they lost in the second round to Texas A&M. Two of North Carolina’s top three scorers, seniors Cameron Johnson and Luke Maye, have made it to the Final Four twice before. This time they will be aided by freshman Coby White, who is leading the team in assists per game with an average of four while also putting up 16 points per game. This team’s experience making deep runs into the tournament should help push the Tar Heels past potential matchups against perennial powerhouse Kansas and a rematch against Kentucky, who the Tar Heels lost to 80-72 back in December. I expect North Carolina to make it all the way to the finals this year.

Duke is the most obvious choice out there of teams making the Final Four and the team I believe will win the whole tournament.”

— Steven Tibbetts

GONZAGA: The West Region was a tough one for me to decide on with Gonzaga, Michigan, and Texas Tech all with a solid shot at reaching the Final Four. In the end, however, I decided to go with the best offense in the country, Gonzaga, over the two best defenses in the nation, Michigan and Texas Tech. Gonzaga’s offense, led by junior Rui Hachimura and his 20 points per game, will make it tough for any upset contender to keep pace with the Bulldogs throughout the first two rounds. The Bulldogs will benefit from an easier Sweet Sixteen matchup while the Wolverines and Red Raiders will have to battle it out against each other. And in the Elite Eight, good defense will fall to better offense and Gonzaga will be headed to Minneapolis.

TENNESSEE: The South Region is definitely between Tennessee and Virginia. Both teams were upset before the sweet sixteen last year, but the difference is that Tennessee was beaten by a team who went on to make the Final Four while Virginia was the first team to lose to a 16 seed. For Virginia, I think getting upset early in the tournament is very possible to happen again. The Cavaliers like to play at a very slow tempo, which makes them more susceptible to losing to worse teams. On the other hand, Tennessee’s much faster pace of play has helped them dominate lower level teams. The Vols worse loss of the season is to Auburn, a five seed in the tournament, so it is difficult to imagine them losing until the Sweet Sixteen at the earliest. Once there, all it would take is a couple of good games by leading scorer Grant Williams, and Tennessee should be on its way to the Final Four.

KRISTEN:

DUKE: As unfortunate as it may be, I cannot picture a future without Duke in this year’s Final Four. Even though some experts believe they will fall to the #2 seeded Michigan State (or even the #4 ranked Virginia Tech), the Blue Devils have been impressive all season. Even though four of their starters are freshmen (Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Tre Jones and Cam Reddish), Duke has not seemed to have any problem assimilating their players into the team. Not only are they my most confident Final Four pick, but I believe they have the best chance of winning.

NORTH CAROLINA: Even though they have suffered a few upsets early on in the regular season, the Tar Heels have proven to be one of the major powerhouses this year. They’ve already beaten Duke, my number one pick, twice and although I do not think they will win the championship overall, I believe we’ll see them in the finals, or at least the Final Four.

TEXAS TECH: Contrary to popular opinion, I do not see Gonzaga winning the West. I have little faith in Michigan this season, but Texas Tech upsetting the #1 seeded Zags is definitely not out of the question, even if they will get destroyed by Duke before the finals.

VIRGINIA: Just as I started with the team I was most confident in, I will end my predictions with Virginia winning the South. Even though choosing a #1 seeded team is not necessarily a risky move, the #2 ranked Tennessee has been a popular choice. However, up until the Elite Eight, I cannot imagine Virginia facing any difficulty. After that, they will either play Tennessee or possibly Villanova, last year’s champions. The Villanova Wildcats’ underwhelming performance throughout the regular season does not make them much of a threat, so while it will be a tough game, all Virginia has to do is clinch a win against Tennessee in the Elite Eight.