Halftime with Ranni: winter sports recap

Miranda Ripken, Sports Editor

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The longest sports season of the year is coming to a close, and while some teams have achieved first-place glory, others managed to get by with unusual team dynamics. Multiple students were honored as stand-outs on their team by the athletic department at the second quarter honors assembly. Overall, the winter season teams have set the bar for teams to come.

Men’s Basketball:

Despite some troubling outcomes of important games during the year, the men’s basketball team once again earned the title of MIAA ‘A’ Conference champions. JC is the fourth consecutive team to win back-to-back. The team beat Mount St. Joseph by three points, after previously losing to them twice during the regular season. Senior Jarred Jones surpassed the 1,000-point mark, and freshman Justin Jenifer earned a good reputation among the players by having consistently great games.

The Baltimore Catholic League tournament had a different outcome for the Patriots. In the opening round of the tournament, JC beat St. Maria Goretti 58-56 in a game that progressed into three overtime periods. After another win in the semi-finals, the Patriots moved to the finals against Mount St. Joseph again. Though they won it last year, JC unfortunately fell short 52-39, but finished the season with 28 wins, tying the second most wins in a season in school history.

Women’s Basketball:

After coming off a disappointing three-point loss to Notre Dame Prep in the championship game of the IAAM tournament last year, the women’s basketball team battled through the season to win 21 straight games, including the long sought-after ‘B’ Conference title. Finally, the team banner hanging in the gym can have another year on it besides 1971 and 1984. Graduating five influential seniors, including three team captains, the Lady Patriots will try their hand at moving up to the ‘A’ Conference next season.

Indoor Soccer:

The women’s indoor soccer team was forced to overcome an unexpected turn of events when a surprisingly small turnout at tryouts led to more inexperienced players playing at varsity-level athletics. The end of the season did not go as hoped for the team, as they lost their last four games. Although a 3-4-1 season is not fun for anyone, the women took it gracefully with a light team atmosphere, while knowing when to get down to business.

Indoor Track:

During the men’s and women’s indoor track season, 26 new school records were set, the most set since indoor track’s inaugural season 10 years ago. MIAA triple jump champion junior Austin Markley leaped 40’ 10.5,” and it was the last event coach Rob Torres expected him to win out of the four he participated in. Junior Rebecca Driver collected the greatest number of points during the season, and tied for second in the high jump with a five-foot jump. The men’s team finished fifth, their highest finish in one of the strongest leagues in the state and the women’s team finished fourth, despite missing key competitors due to the Spanish exchange trip.

Women’s Swimming:

At the women’s IAAM swimming championship, the Patriots placed third, but that does not adequately represent some of the brilliant performances showcased by individual women.

Junior Carrie Dukes earned first in her forte with the 100-meter butterfly. With the fastest time in both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ Conferences, she crushed the school record with a time of 56.30. This time was also the fastest ever recorded by a Harford County swimmer and missed the all-time IAAM record by .15 seconds. In the 50-meter freestyle, Dukes placed second by swimming a 24.89, which was the first time a girl from Harford County swam under 25 seconds in that event.

Other highlights during the meet were sophomore Paige Tyler placing second in the 200-meter freestyle and junior Katelyn Wolf earning third in the 100-meter backstroke. These three girls, along with junior Emily Cashour, finished second and third in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relays, respectively.

Men’s Swimming:

Competing in the MIAA ‘B’ Conference championship meet with just six swimmers, the men’s swimming team’s best showing was the 200-meter freestyle relay. Senior Sean DiFatta and juniors Caleb Anderson, Jon Leishman, and Will Horn placed second. The team also swam the 200-meter medley relay and placed fourth. The highest individual placers were Anderson finishing sixth in the 50-meter freestyle and Horn in fourth in the 100-meter butterfly.

Wrestling:

In the realm of wrestling, junior Scott Strappelli was crowned the MIAA ‘A’ Conference champion for the second time. The only other wrestler in JC’s history to have done this was Matt Miller, class of ’11. In the state wrestling meet at McDonogh, junior George Weber and Strappelli placed second in their weight class.

On Feb. 25-26, Weber, Strappelli, and freshmen Zach Dwyer, Hunter Ritter, and Chris Almony traveled to Lehigh University to compete in nationals. Weber, Strappelli, Ritter, and Dwyer were all named All-Americans, and Weber became JC’s first ever three-time All-American. Overall, JC had their best team placement as 14th out of 123 and finished sixth in the state of Maryland with a final record of 21-4.

This winter was chock full of record-breakers and first-timers. While the seniors will have something spectacular in their season to look back on, the underclassmen will have something exciting to look forward to next year.

Miranda Ripken is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.