Category Archives: Athletics

OHS Winter Sports Preview Season

By Tori Kitchens

As the end of January approaches, the athletes who play winter sports are gearing up for post season play. 

Girls’ Basketball

The girls’ basketball program finished their season 14-7 going an impressive 5-0 in district play. “This is definitely one of the better seasons we have had in several years playing basketball,” senior point guard Kate Pickens noted. Pickens admits that there are some games the team should have won, however, the team has done a remarkable job playing as one. “When we play together ‘as a hand and not five fingers,’ as Coach Ringdahl likes to say, there is no telling what we can accomplish.”

Leading the team in both points and assists, Pickens intends to make the most of her final playoff run. “As long as we put our best foot forward and give it our best shot, I will be more than happy with the results of my last season,” Pickens acknowledged, “but if we have the opportunity to keep winning, I absolutely want to take advantage of it.” 

The Lady Eagles are going into the post season off a senior night win at home against Eastside 32-27. The team begin their run with a bye and will play the winner of Countryside Christian and Redeemer Christian on Wednesday.

Boys’ Basketball

Oak Hall’s boys’ basketball team has had a very successful season. Finishing their regular season with one of the highest win percentages in program history, the team went 14-4 and 6-0 in district play. They have two more regular season games against Lafayette and Dixie County before beginning their post season run next week. “It truly means a lot to play together with my boys in the big moments and I just hope we can build up the chemistry to push us through this post season,” junior guard Ryan McKinney stated.

The records they broke and the successes they reached in the regular season has given the eagles a first-round bye in the post season. “I truly believe that we can make it far this year as this is the most united and connected team we’ve had in a while,” McKinney affirmed. 

The team is expected to make a great run this post season. “I’m expecting us to at least make it to the district championship for sure,” McKinney continued, “but if we end up winning, which I think we are capable of, then I believe we can make a solid run at states this year if we compete at our full potential.”

Girls’ Soccer

After a difficult regular season, the girls’ soccer team enters the post season with nothing but positivity. “It’s been a challenging season, but we have grown a lot as a team and have persevered through a lot,” senior midfield Zahra Sims described. 

The Lady Eagles opened their post season on Thursday, defeating St. Francis at Lafayette 4-1. “I think that that was one of the best games that we’ve played,” Sims added. “We had great communication, and it shows how far attitude and effort can go.” 

The team will travel back to Lafayette on Monday to compete against the Lady Hornets in their home stadium. “I am looking forward to finishing out the season on a good note and leaving OHS soccer with a positive legacy,” Sims stated.

Boys’ Soccer

At the start of their season, the boys’ soccer program welcomed OHS faculty member Andy Westfall as their head coach. “While I always want a winning season and want to build a better program, my daily goals are more about effective training sessions,” Coach Westfall noted. The eagles’ training strong practices paid off as the team started off 6-0 and finished their regular season 9-4. 

The boys will start their playoff run Tuesday against Lafayette. The eagles played the Hornets twice during the regular season and game up just short both times. Regardless, the team intends to make a significant showing this post season. “I think we are in a good place on all accounts, and I am proud of the effort the players have put in so far to put us in a good position to make it through District play,” Coach Westfall contended.

Traditional Competitive Cheerleading

For the first time in its 5-year history, the Competitive Cheerleading squad is competing in the Extra Large Non-Tumbling division. With 22 girls on the floor, most being rookies, the team has had to work even harder to fine tune and perfect their routine. 

The eagles made an impressive showing at their regional competition at West Nassau in Callahan on January 14. The team received their highest raw score ever and qualified for the state semi-finals. “It’s been a challenging season because we are putting a harder routine on the floor than we have ever attempted before and over half of our team has never cheered competitively before,” head Coach Kelley Thorp admitted, “so there has been a big learning curve to overcome.”

Going into state competition, the team hopes to hit a zero-deduction routine in order to take a spot in the final round. 

Gameday Competitive Cheerleading

Not only are the members of the cheer program preparing for state competition, but they are also working hard to prepare for Nationals! 

With a smaller squad of 15, the team has been very successful. At their Universal Cheer Association (UCA) regional competition in the beginning of December, the eagles shocked everyone by placing second with a very high score at their first ever Gameday-styled competition. “It’s been a fun and rewarding season,” head coach Kelley Thorp recounted. “With a small team made up [of] predominately veteran cheerleaders, it has been fun to put together a routine in a genre of cheer we have never done before.” 

The team will travel to Orlando next Thursday to compete at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. 

New Gameday Cheer Squad Qualifies for Nationals

By Bailey Thorp

For the first time in school history, Oak Hall school has a Competitive Gameday Cheerleading team. This team has had an amazing run this season from showcasing their routine at qualifiers, to placing at regionals, and finally on the road to nationals. 

On Dec. 2, 2022, the Oak Hall Gameday squad went to the regional competition in Tampa. At this competition, the team scored second place out of eight teams in the division and qualified to compete at Nationals, a significant accomplishment for a brand-new team.

While Oak Hall does have a traditional Competitive Cheerleading team, Gameday is a different routine altogether. While traditional competitive is flashier and is focused on advanced stunting, Gameday showcases what you would see on the sideline at a Friday night football game. The spotlight is on crowd-leading, cheers, and band dances, rather than pyramids and jumps. 

In mid-February, the team will travel to the Wide World of Sports in Orlando to compete at Nationals. This competition lasts multiple days and includes two rounds of competition, semi-finals, and finals. In addition to competing, the team also gets to spend time at Disney together in their time off from cheer. Wish them luck!

Just Because: NBA Preview

By Ryan McKinney

As the beginning of the new season kicks off, we look to see which team will come out on top as there are many big contenders. Starting in the Eastern Conference, many teams have a real shot at winning the title including the Celtics, Bucks, Cavaliers, and the Heat.   

The Boston Celtics seek to come out hot like the team finished last season. They have many stars including young forward Jayson Tatum. Through the first three games, Tatum averaged 34.3 points per game and killing it so far for the Celtics this year. While doing so Tatum says, “I’m feeling better than ever and I’m having a blast too.” 

The Milwaukee Bucks are looking to bounce back from their semifinal playoff exit last season. The Bucks are led by the Greek freak Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo uses his strength to score almost all his points in the paint. He is a driving force in the Bucks success, and they will need him to stay out of injury trouble if they want a shot at the title this year. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers received a new addition to their team that has already shined in their surprising 7-1 start to the season. Their new addition is guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz as he already has a forty-point game on the stat sheet during an overtime thriller against the Celtics. The Cavaliers have been cruising so far but let see if they can keep it up with their tough schedule ahead of them. 

Lastly for the Eastern Conference is the Miami Heat as they’ve had a rough start to the season. So far, they’re 4-6 through their first 10 games, and it is mainly due to their lack of toughness on the defensive end of the court. Although this may be true, Coach Eric Spoelstra always has a plan to fix the issues and with so many offensive weapons it’s safe to say they’re contender in the East. 

Moving on to the loaded Western Conference, many teams have a shot at the title. The teams include the Trailblazers, Suns, Warriors, Jazz, and Timberwolves. Surprisingly, Lebron James and the Lakers have started the season slow. Many of the Western title favorites are filled with new recruits and pickups that have brought them success so far this season. 

Through the first few games, the team that started in first but has slid to fourth are the Portland Trailblazers. The Trailblazers are led by Damian Lillard and recruit Jerami Grant. The roster is also very deep with many young threats that has the potential to make a championship dynasty. The future for this team is bright and I can’t wait to see what kind of success they’ll have this season. 

The next finals favorite in the West are the Golden State Warriors coming off their historical run last year. The Warriors are led by guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. With the two of the main players healthy, the team’s offensive flow goes way better along with a much better three-point percentage. Along with them, the team contains young stars like Jordan Poole and emerging stars like Andrew Wiggins. So far, the Warriors are on a rough start due to the squad “lacking purpose” says head coach Steve Kerr. Overall, I think the Warriors have the best chance to win the title this year due to their long winning streaks and extremely deep roster. 

Another strong contender in the West is the Phoenix Suns because of the dynamic duo on the squad. This duo consists of guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker as they both are dying for a finals visit again. Two years ago, they lost to the Bucks in six games in which Antetokounmpo had numerous 50-piece games. Besides the point, the Suns have a real chance at the title this year as many players seek revenge and look to do better than last years playoff run.

Moving on, the Minnesota Timberwolves have thrived with their new strategy. After trading for Rudy Gobert in the offseason the Timberwolves now have the two best centers in basketball on the same team. Karl Anthony Towns has struggled a little bit with defensive shifts, but he’ll pick that up and the team is still succeeding otherwise. Overall, the Timberwolves could be the team that shocks fans this year and take the trophy.

Lastly, the Utah Jazz have surprised everybody so far this year despite losing their two best players in the offseason. They received young star Collin Sexton from the Cavaliers who is shining this year now that he gets his own spotlight. Sexton is the main reason the Jazz are currently second place in the West right now, so let see if the team can keep it up. 

Overall, there are many teams that have a chance to win the title this year, but my prediction is that the Golden State Warriors will beat the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. Then the Boston Celtics will beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals creating a rematch. In this finals series, I have the Boston Celtics gaining revenge and beating the Warriors in a tight seven game series. 

Swimming and Diving Teams Successful Thanks to Hard Work and Leadership

By Amelia Chen

Despite thunderstorms at the beginning of the season, Oak Hall’s varsity swimming and diving teams have competed in quite a few meets, leading to personal records and overall victories. In fact, both teams won meets against Columbia High School and rival St. Francis Catholic.

The meet against Columbia was especially significant because it was the first meet that was not cancelled due to thunderstorms. The Eagles are successful this season thanks to the encouragement from each other and the number of swimmers and divers that joined the team.

Senior captain Tim Aliyanoy prepares for his race
Photo courtesy of Dr. Dean White

The factor that makes the swim teams so special and different is that the athletes are a diverse group of students, as the teams are made up of students in sixth through 12th grade. Although it could be easy for clashing to happen within these age ranges, the teams mesh very well. “I think it’s what makes our team special compared to a lot of those other teams in town where they only have high schoolers,” said Swimming and Diving Coach, Quinn Bohan.

The success of this season doesn’t just come from individual talent, but also teamwork. Although swimming and diving is considered to be an individual sport, the support of teammates help motivate each other. “Encouragement from your teammates really help you push for that new time [and] you want to win for your team, not just for yourself which [encourages you],” said freshman swimmer Stacey Aliyanaya.

Freshman Raigan Trefzger focuses on her next race
Photo courtesy of SWI

As much as encouragement plays into making each other better, practice helps immensely with the hard work they put in. They are especially working hard now that the district and regional meet is around the corner. “We tend to typically have 14 to 15 [athletes] make it to the regional meet,” Bohan said.

Not only do the teams have incredible teamwork and grit, but they also have great leadership through their captains with Katelyn Berthy and Lisa Aliyanaya on the girls team and Tim Aliyanoy and Aneesh Gogieni for the boys team. Overall, the swimming and diving teams gain success from supporting each other, the dedicated leadership, and hard work.

Oak Hall, along with P.K. Yonge and St. Francis are hosting the district meet on Oct. 25 at Northeast Pool. Swimming starts at 9 a.m.