Going into the 2021-22 season, the Oak Hall boys varsity soccer team had a combined five wins in the last two years. This year, however, the team has a 5-1 record and its first winning start to a season since 2017.
First year Head Soccer Coach Edwin McTureous, who also coaches Oak Hall’s cross country and track and field teams, attributes part of the team’s success to its larger roster compared to previous years. “I enjoy being around the boys and getting to know some boys that I’ve never coached before,” he said.
The team defeated the likes of University Christian, Trenton, Dunnellon, and Bell this season; it lost to three of those four teams last year. The Eagles are also on pace for one of the winningest seasons in program history.
Senior Asher Dobrin has been especially impacted by McTureous’ coaching. “Coach McTureous gives us really good instruction and reinforcement, which we didn’t have much of in the last two years,” he explained. Dobrin added that the majority of the team members are returning players, which has strengthened the team’s chemistry. “We’re able to play with so much more focus and energy this season,” he said.
Some players had low expectations for this season but have been pleasantly surprised by the team’s success. “I think we have a lot of skilled players on the team,” said Senior Ryland Kane. He believes that the team’s mindset is just as important as its gameplay and is a key instrument to its success. “We hope to continue to improve during practice so we can show that our team is more capable than some may think,” he stated.
Oak Hall Arts Conservatory Program (ACP) member and student-athlete, Jennifer Berthy is doing everything she can to enjoy her senior year after joining the Oak Hall community five years ago. She is the president of the Oak Hall Thespian troupe, Dance Marathon President, and the captain of the girl’s swimming, soccer, and lacrosse teams. To Berthy, being a student-athlete means her focus needs to be prioritized on her academics before participating in athletics. In addition, Berthy is a part of the ACP Theater program at Oak Hall, and she has been dedicated to the program for the past five years.
After moving to Clearwater when she was eight, Berthy joined a few athletic clubs which included swimming. When she transferred to Oak Hall, the three-sport athlete found that she was a talented competitor in swimming and became a leader on the team. In her freshman year, Berthy was given the chance to officially become a leader on her team by taking on the role of captain, which she has proudly served as for all four years. Berthy explained that having older girls on the team look up to her was a different, but enjoyable, experience.
For Berthy, joining soccer was not something she expected to do. Wanting to stay active during swimming’s offseason, she chose to spend the winter playing soccer alongside her friends. “I played soccer when I was in fifth through seventh grade. In sixth and seventh grade, I played on both [junior varsity] and varsity because varsity needed more girls in some of their games,” she explained.
While living in Clearwater, Berthy also joined a club lacrosse team after being introduced to the sport by her middle school best friend. From 2016-2018 joined the varsity squad in her eighth-grade year, after some convincing from then-girls lacrosse coach Deanna Majeski. In contrast to her role on the swim team, “I was the youngest one there, and it was different than swimming because I wasn’t as good as the older girls,” she said.
After doing theater for the first time in eighth grade, Berthy decided to enter high school theater by auditioning for ACP. Shocked that she had been accepted, Berthy was prepared to work hard. “I like the idea that we were tight, and it was a small community, and we were able to work well together,” she mentioned. In her time at OHS, Berthy has played the roles of a reporter and the dad in James and the Giant Peach and a Big Kid and Rudolpho in Matilda. The actress is most excited about playing the Cowardly Lion in this year’s fall production of The Wizard of Oz.
As a senior, Berthy has set many goals for herself including a district championship in lacrosse and acceptance to the University of Florida, where she intends to pursue a degree in the sports industry or forensics. Berthy wants to leave behind a legacy of being a valuable supporter and role model for the younger members of the programs she is involved in.
A-Z with Jennifer
A – Advice you’d give to your freshman-self? Don’t feel like you have to do everything. B – Best pre-game or meet meal? Yogurt. C – Career goals? To do something in sports. D – Favorite dessert? Key lime pie. E – Most entertaining class? My English class with Campbell last year. F – Favorite high school moment? Our 9th grade field trip. G – Goals for your senior year? To win districts for lacrosse. H – What college are you hoping to attend? UF. I – Interesting thing you do outside of the arts and athletics? Read. J – Favorite joke? The one about waves waving to waves. K – Keys to maintaining homework? Make sure you have a schedule, and do it a couple days beforehand. L – Least favorite practice drill? Envelopes. M – Music you listen to? Country, theater, and 90’s bands. N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix. O – What other sport would you like to try? Cheerleading. P – Preparations for a big game, meet, or performance? Sleeping, drinking orange juice, and having some fruit. Q – Question you would ask your future self? What do I end up majoring in? R – Most relaxing part of your day? Sleeping. S – What would your senior superlative be? Most rounded, well-rounded student. T – Favorite TV show? “Vampire Diaries”. U – Most underrated musical? “Mean Girls”. V – Favorite vacation spot? The beach. W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? Always supporting your classmates and teammates. X – Have you ever had an x-ray? Nope! Y – What would you like your impact to younger athletes and thespians? For them to think of me as a role model and know that they can always come to me no matter what. Z – What is your zodiac sign? Libra.
In an effort to make this year special for Oak Hall’s senior athletes, we created A-Z questions for them to answer. We hope you enjoy!
Lindsay Jenkins (affectionately known as “LJ”) is a member of Oak Hall’s varsity girls soccer team. She recently scored her 100th career goal! Congratulations LJ!
By Avery Broom
A – Advice you’d give your freshman-self? Drink less coffee. B – Best pre-game meal? Water. C – Coaches best words of advice? Just breathe and slow down. D – Favorite Dessert? Boston cream doughnuts. E – Most exciting part of the season? Last season winning the district championship for the first time in 12 years. F – Favorite high school athletic moment? Also [the previous answer], but probably when Audrey scored the final PK my sophomore year to put us into district semi-finals. G – Goals for your senior season? To enjoy my last year with my team as much as I can. H – Which college are you hoping to attend? All of my applications are pending right now but I applied early action to Georgetown and UNC (University of North Carolina). I – Interesting thing about you away from soccer? I’m Sicilian so I make really good pasta. J – Favorite joke? Calculus. K – Keys to maintaining homework? You just gotta do it. L – Least favorite practice drill? Warm-up laps. M – What music do you listen to? Everything but country. N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix O – Outside hobbies other than your sport? I like to run. P – Preparations for a big game? Drink lots of water and pop some potassium pills. Q – Question you would ask your future self? Is there anything you would want your past self to know? R – Would you rather play in the heat or cold? Cold. S – What would your senior superlative be? “Shortest Senior” T – Favorite TV show? New Girl U – Most underrated soccer position? Outside-back. V – Favorite vacation spot? Italy. W – Do you wish to play soccer in college? Whatever the future holds, I am open to it. X – Any X-Rays? Plenty. Y – What’s your impact on the younger athletes on the team? I hope I was a good role model and mentor for them so when they start to lead the team in a few years they can do the same for the younger girls as well. Z – Favorite zoo animal? Cows, because farms are zoos too.
For the 2019-20 soccer season, Oak Hall was not able to field Middle School soccer teams, forcing the middle school players to play on the varsity level. This can be very difficult since the Upper School players can be bigger, faster, and stronger. Oak Hall, however, has some very talented youngsters who were very successful on the soccer field this season. Maggie Fogler, Bilal Al-Takrouri, and Jamie Robinson Wilmott, all eighth graders, consistently started for the varsity teams and all made a big impact throughout the season. Robinson Wilmott was a stalwart on the back line for the boys, while Al-Takrouri moved all over the field, a true jack of all trades. Fogler was very successful at forward for the girls. These Eagles will be an integral part of Oak Hall’s future in the sport.
While the boys season was not as successful as they would have hoped, the future is bright with these young stars leading the way. Both Al-Takrouri and Robinson Wilmott feel that the opportunity to play up was great for their development as players. “It was hard at first, but then it got better when I got used to it,” said Al-Takrouri. “I think it made me a better player in the long run because it made me tougher when I had to go against bigger stronger guys,” he continued.
Robinson Wilmott agrees that playing on varsity has helped him become a better player. “If I played middle school [soccer] I don’t know if I would have gotten as strong,” he explained. Playing on the same team as older kids was scary, as it was hard to know if they would fully be accepted. “When I first started, I thought that I was gonna be just that one guy that nobody talked to, [which] turned out not to be true,” said Robinson Wilmott. “My favorite part of the season was playing with the seniors because all the seniors are hilarious,” he continued.
Al-Takrouri and Robinson Wilmott, as well as the other middle schoolers on the team, are beloved by their Upper School teammates, and the success of the future of the program looks promising as these athletes continue to grow athletically.
The girls varsity soccer team won a district championship this season, thanks in no small part to Fogler’s contributions. The eighth grader was a big-time player for the Eagles this season, scoring and assisting on many goals. “I knew coming in that it would be a challenge, but it was so much fun…everybody was so nice,” she said. “I loved the girls so much and Coach Wharton was great!”
Congratulations to these young Eagles on their fantastic seasons and we will all be looking forward to what they do in the future!
Winter sports have been gearing up into full swing as the first semester comes to an end. The varsity girls and boys soccer teams have taken the field, just as the varsity, junior varsity (JV) and middle school girls and boys basketball teams have kicked-off its seasons on the court. Athletic contests are withheld during midterm exam week (Dec. 16-20), with the exception of the Friday before winter break, in which there are plenty of home games to attend in basketball and soccer, at all levels.
Friday Dec. 6 Varsity Girls Soccer v. Lafayette: 4 p.m. JV Boys Basketball at Aucilla Christian: 4:30 p.m. Middle School Girls B Basketball v. Branford: 4:30 p.m. Middle School Girls A Basketball at Lafayette: 5 p.m. Middle School Boys B Basketball v. Branford: 5:30 p.m. Varsity Boys Soccer v. Lafayette: 6 p.m. Varsity Girls Basketball at Aucilla Christian: 6 p.m. Middle School Boys A Basketball at Lafayette: 6:30 p.m. Varsity Boys Basketball at Aucilla Christian: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 7 Varsity Girls Basketball v. St. Joseph: 1 p.m.
Monday Dec. 9 Middle School Girls A Basketball at Bell: 5 p.m. Middle School Boys A Basketball at Bell: 6:30 p.m. Varsity Boys Basketball v. St. Johns Country Day: 7 p.m. Varsity Boys Soccer at Newberry: 7 p.m.
Tuesday Dec. 10 Middle School Girls A Basketball v. Lafayette: 4 p.m. Middle School Boys A Basketball v. Lafayette: 5:30 p.m. Varsity Girls Soccer at Columbia: 6 p.m.
Thursday Dec. 12 Middle School Boys B Basketball v. St. John Lutheran: 4:30 p.m. Middle School Boys A Basketball v. St. John Lutheran: 5:45 p.m. Varsity Girls Basketball at Florida School for the Deaf and Blind: 6 p.m. Varsity Boys Basketball v. St. John Lutheran: 7 p.m.
Friday Dec. 13 Varsity Girls Soccer v. Hamilton County: 4 p.m. Middle School Girls B Basketball at Dunnellon Christian Academy: 4:30 p.m. Middle School Boys B Basketball at Dunnellon Christian Academy: 5:30 p.m. Varsity Boys Soccer v. Hamilton County: 6 p.m. Varsity Boys Basketball v. Keystone Heights: 7 p.m.
Friday Dec. 20 Middle School Girls A Basketball v. Countryside Christian: 4 p.m. Middle School Boys A Basketball v. Countryside Christian: 5 p.m. Varsity Girls Basketball v. Countryside Christian: 6 p.m. Varsity Girls Soccer v. Santa Fe: 6 p.m. Varsity Boys Basketball v. Countryside Christian: 7:30 p.m. Varsity Boys Soccer v. Santa Fe: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 21 Varsity Girls Basketball at Munroe: 4 p.m. Varsity Boys Basketball at Munroe: 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 27 – Dec. 29 Varsity Girls Basketball Tournament at Santa Fe