The countdown to the Winter Sports season is over, as tryouts started on Friday, Nov. 15. The major sports are boys and girls basketball, wrestling, and indoor track. The four teams have high expectations, as they performed very well last year.
The boys basketball team won the county champions in the playoffs last year, while the girls basketball team lost in the second round on a buzzer-beating game winning shot. Wrestling has many returning leaders from the team last year, such as senior Bryce Kampert and junior Aamil Vahora.
Despite losing a star duo this year in Brandon Prox and Odell Dickerson, this year’s boys basketball squad still has valuable returning members, including three starters from last year, seniors Justin Cargiulo and Will Bates as well as junior Evan Ichrist. The team is bringing back six members from last years team. There are also a number of players who were on JV last year, who will look to make immediate impacts on varsity. Headlining these players is junior Quran Briggs.
After a disappointing loss against Reservoir last year in the playoffs, the girls basketball team will look to have a better performance. Senior Tori Valentine, the only senior on the team, will be looked to lead the team this year.
Valentine believes that the team’s success hinders on how their defense performs this year.
“The ability to defend will be the most important aspect of our team’s performance this season,” Valentine explained.
With only one senior on the team, Valentine understands the importance of getting the younger girls on the team to become familiar with the speed of the game.
“The early stages of practice have been a lot of getting the girls accustomed to the way we play. There’s been a lot of learning, so it will be exciting to see our progression,” Valentine said.
The girls indoor track team won second place at the state championship last year, and although they retired a lot of seniors, still remained poised for another successful season.
The boys indoor track team underperformed last year at the state championship, but will look to improve this year with strong underclassmen.
Despite losing a number of talented seniors from last year, the girls varsity indoor track team, held onto a good core of upperclassmen that will be able to lead the team far in the season.
The team lost Jaiden Ritter and Blaire Ridgeley this year, two girls who qualified for the national meet last year, but the team still has a strong supporting cast to keep them towards the top of the standings.
Juniors Garcelle Pierre and Sierrah Matthews will play arguably the largest roles for the girls team this year.
Junior Justin Evans and senior Evan Kocsis headline the boys track team for the sprinters, while junior Will Jones headlines a group of young but fast underclassmen in long distance. Jones missed the entire cross country season because of an Achilles injury, but he is healthy once again, and looks to lead the distance team.
With ten juniors on the team and only two retired seniors from last year, the wrestling team is poised to make a run at the state championship.
Some returning varsity wrestlers that will play a large role for the Vikings this season include senior Bryce Kampert, juniors Jack McGuire, Noah Manasterli, Aamil Vahora, Mahmoud Abdel-Halim, and sophomore Lucas Lopez.
Senior Bryce Kampert believes the team has enough all around talent to win the State Meet.
“The team looks very solid all around. We have eleven returning varsity starters, including ten juniors. the other weight classes we are missing we have new wrestlers with a lot of potential,” Kampert said.
After a strong performance from the fall sports season, one which saw the field hockey and volleyball teams win the county championship, and the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams making it very far in the playoffs, the mix of winter sports has a large reputation to hold up. The winter sports season will be considered a success if the teams compete with the success of the fall sports teams.