As the winter season came to an end, our coaches, faculty, and all IMS students gathered in the Assembly Hall to celebrate a successful season for the IMS Falcons. The Athletic Department is proud of the 12 teams that practiced, competed, and performed so well this season. We look forward to another successful season this spring!
Here are some reflections on the season from coaches and players that were shared at our Winter Sports Awards ceremony, as well as a list of this season’s awards recipients.
The Varsity Hockey Team had a busy end to the season with the annual Pavek Cup hosted at Rumsey Hall (2-2) and an under the lights game at Silo Ridge Field House against their rivals, the Blue Dogs. Finishing with 7 wins and 4 losses on the season, the Falcons had a successful season all around. Coach Pecchia reflected on the fact that their last regular season was pre-COVID, followed by some pond hockey last year at IMS, and that only four students on the team this year had competed in a regular season pre-COVID. Those four athletes, all ninth graders, contributed to the scoring against Rumsey in their final game of the season.
According to Coach D. Pecchia and Coach Schopp, it was a season of growth in which “everyone learned at least one thing” and which also included an athlete who “who learned the most…and took the instructions of the coach to heart without asking.” This student was “fierce in front of the net” and was awarded Most Improved Player for “their growth as a player and a teammate this season.” The Most Improved Player award went to Ben Wistar.
Two more awards were handed out by Coach D. Pecchia and Coach Schopp: Most Valuable Player as well as the Coaches Award. The most valuable player award was awarded to Graham Heitman who was described as MVP “because of his patience, intensity, drive, scrutiny on himself to be better”, and for his value “because of his positive attitude” both on and off the ice. Lastly, the Coaches Award was given to Rory Perkins who set an “example this season as a strong leader,” sharing quiet but important ideas, and heading into every shift on the ice “ready to work her hardest.”
JV Hockey players Frances Clark and Rob Reylea shared memories of a positive environment and team atmosphere on their team and a few highlights, including an 8-6 win against Rumsey to wrap up the season, Papa Kofi Awuah scoring the first goal of the season, and some big saves by Jesse Maltby in goal.
Despite a limited amount of games this season, Coach C. Pecchia shared that the improvements and positive progression of this team were apparent throughout. One of two Coaches Awards was given to Frances Clark, who’s positive energy was palpable day in and day out, and led greatly to the success of the team this season. The second Coaches Award was given to Wally Rollins who was always willing to play extra minutes on the ice despite fatigue, and help the team in any way possible.
The final two awards shared by the JV Hockey coaches were Most Improved and Most Valuable Player. Papa Kofi Awuah competed in his first real hockey game this season. He learned how to skate, hold a stick, and play the game on the IMS ponds last year. This year, he showed his skills and hard work, and most importantly his love for the game, and was the recipient of the Most Improved player award. Lastly, a player who
“brought the fire and was without a doubt the most skilled on the team,” according to his coaches, Rob Reylea received the Most Valuable Player award.
The Dance team had a show stopping performance at the Winter Snowcase and with a team composed of a lot of new dancers, as well as some experienced ones, the team was able to learn the many moves and styles of Ballet, Jazz, and Hip Hop dance. Coach Bagby and Coach Teiger implemented a mentorship program within the team that formed meaningful relationships between the younger dancers and older dancers, called the “Big Sister, Little Sister Program.” One of two of the Most Improved Dancer awards was presented to Caterina Sorrentino who “worked extremely hard to improve her dance throughout the season…and constantly used her mind to improve her dance.” The second Most Improved Dancer award was given to CC Stevenson, the only 5th grader on the team who emerged as a leader in many facets on the dance floor and will surely have an exceptional dance career at IMS in years to come. The last award, the Coaches Award, was given to Louella Barillaro for her diligent work to master new steps, and for helping ensure that all of her teammates felt included and accepted.
The Developmental squash team had a productive and fun season, with practices comprising of fitness, learning the fundamentals, as well as some inter-squad scrimmages. The Most Improved award went to an athlete who was a bit hesitant at the beginning of the term, but showed significant growth throughout the season both in her excitement and engagement, as well as her squash skills. This award was given to McKenna Casey. A second award, the Coaches Award, went to Andrew Wistar. As one of the younger athletes on the team, Andrew led by example, was eager to learn more, play more, and to improve. Andrew has an exciting squash career ahead!
The Swim team had an exceptional season, remaining undefeated for the entirety of the season under the guidance of Coach Breakell and Coach Schmitt. Captains Claudia Li and Daniel Qiu shared “we can speak for the entire team when we say that we had a great season and a lot of fun.” Eleven swimmers had no experience at all when they began the season and the growth across the board from beginner swimmers to more experienced was incredible to see. Coach Schmitt shared that there are many ways to improve as an athlete and that Claire Chow, the recipient of the Most Improved Swimmer award initially felt nervous, but worked diligently to build her confidence and skills in the pool. In addition, the Coaches Award was presented to Ronald Qiao and is a “testament to his drive, grit, and motivation” this season. Despite a steep learning curve, Ronald managed to find joy in every moment of this swim season and was very supportive of his teammates and a great role model for future swimmers.
Lastly, veteran swim coach Mrs Breakell reflected on how the swim team has become incrementally faster over the past years and that this term’s Most Valuable Player is one of the fastest swimmers she has seen. Not only did this athlete contribute in the pool adding fast times to the score sheet, but he was “most valuable for his ability to inspire others and lead the team” as captain. He was described as being “the happiest in the water,” having an “almost flawless technique” and “a kind and compassionate leader of the team.” This year’s swim team most valuable player award went to Daniel Qiu.
Varsity Boys Basketball
The Varsity Boys Basketball team may have been one of the most talented that IMS has seen, and captain Jayden Hernandez thanked his coaches on behalf of the team for seeing their potential prior to the season. The Coaches Award was given to a “coachable, team first, and gritty” player who embodied all of these qualities throughout the season. According to Coach Hess, this player could always be counted on to give his all and do anything for the team. The coaches award was awarded to Jose Jimenez. The Most Improved Player award was handed to a player who “did the little things right” and was “always looking for incremental improvements.” This award was given to ninth grader John Maida.
Coach Barillaro shared his experience and memories of some phenomenal basketball players throughout the years and how this year there are a few more. To name two, captains Paul Coty and Jayden Hernandez were named Co-MVP’s of the team. According to their coaches, “both players embody an intense competitive spirit” but play and display this in very different ways. Unstoppable, driven, and fearless.
Girls Varsity Basketball
Yaps Yapi and Esther Lee spoke fondly of their time on the court this season for the Girls Varsity Basketball Team, who ended the season strong against rivals, the Rumsey Hall Blue Dogs. The Most Valuable Player award was presented to Genesis Villegas who has “raw undeniable talent, leads by example and whose energy fuels the team to believe in their abilities” according to Coach Hanniford. Two more awards were handed out, the Most Improved Player award and the Coaches Award to Esther Lee and Emma Ohler respectively. Emma Ohlerwas noted as a “phenomenal athlete” who shows great sportsmanship and always meets every challenge with poise.
The Varsity Squash team had an incredible season under the leadership of Coach Martin Huntley and Coach Perkins. Their expertise and dedication led the team to finishing 9th overall and with a 3rd place ranking by the U.S. Squash Association after their performance in the middle school nationals tournament.
Coach Martin Huntley commended the Most Improved Player award winner recipient, Fritz Weihman for constantly asking how he can improve, his hardwork and dedication to getting better every day, and using these skills to “dismantle his opponent” in his last match of the season against Kent JV. Additionally, the Most Valuable Player award was given to Dailyn Simancas Alcazar who “set the standard for the season with her technique” alongside her game IQ and love for the game.
5th and 6th Basketball
The 5th and 6th grade basketball team had an impressive season, finishing with 6 wins and 0 losses. Most importantly Coach Tillman shared his wisdom regarding five core means to be a successful basketball player and team: play with heart; play with your mind and believe in yourself; trust your skill; and trust yourself. Coach Tillman’s first award went to a student who was on the top of his game even before the season started, and showed resilience against any opponent. Above all else this student was named Most Valuable Player because of his heart. The MVP award went to sixth grader Huxley Eaton. Lastly, the Coaches Award was given to Will Frydl for his natural ability to lead and dedication to the sport.
The 7th and 8th Grade Basketball Team competed in 11 hard fought games this season. Captains AJ Horosky and Dash Guariglia discussed how at each game, the team became more comfortable with each other and learned to do what is best for the team. Coach Pierre awarded the Most Valuable Player to Leo Zhao, a player who is a force to be reckoned with, leading the team with rebounds and points, and a leader on the court. Two more awards were handed out by the coaches: the Coaches Award and Most Improved Player to AJ Horosky and Edward Park respectively. AJ was recognized for his consistent positive attitude, making the players around him better, scoring 18 points against Washington Montessori School, and being a facilitator on the court as point guard.
The ski racing team dominated on the local ski mountains including Mohawk Mountain and Catamount Mountain against Rumsey Hall, Washington Montessori School and other ski teams in the area. Captains Clarisse Moucha and Winston Walter shared memories and highlights from the season and their motto: “keep calm and ski on.” The team was able to celebrate with an aprés-ski party with parents on Wednesday, March 2, and Coach Sleboda and Coach Johnson commended the team for their patience during a snow-light winter. A sibling duo received co-MVP’s of the season after their strong performances and standing out as two of the most hard working athletes on the slopes, always looking to better themselves and finishing in the top two spots nearly every race. Congratulations to Wynn and Lyyli Stern, co-MVP award winners.
In addition, the Most Improved Player award went to captain Winston Walter who has shown significant improvement since his time as a young ski racer in 7th grade. He has learned to take coaching feedback and apply it, moved up the ladder by increasing his time as well his turning skills. Coach Sleboda shared that “he has really transitioned to a ski racer this winter.” The Coaches Award was given to Clarisse Moucha, a steady presence who always helped set up and clean up, led everyone through warm ups with a smile, dedicated time outside of sports to help break down film, and who struck a perfect balance as a leader and a kind team mate.
Congratulations to all of our teams and award recipients!
Certificates were presented for Most Valuable Player (MVP), Most Improved Player (MIP) as well as Coaches Awards.
MVP: Graham Heitman
MIP: Ben Wistar
Coaches Award: Rory Perkins
MVP: Rob Relyea
MIP: Papa Kofi
Coaches Award: Frances Clark
Coaches Award: Wally Rollins
MVP: Louella Barillaro
MIP: CC Stevenson
MIP: Cat Sorrentino
MIP: McKenna Casey
Coaches Award: Andrew Wistar
MVP: Daniel Qiu
MIP: Claire Chow
Coaches Award: Ronald Qiao
Varsity Boys Basketball:
MVP: Jayden Hernandez
MVP: Paul Coty
MIP: John Maida
Coaches Award: Jose Jimenez
Girls Varsity Basketball:
MVP: Genesis Villegas
MIP: Esther Lee
Coaches Award: Emma Ohler
MVP: Dailyn Simancas
MIP: Fritz Weihman
MVP: George Dreger
MIP: Huxley Eaton
Coaches Award: Will Frydl
MVP: Leo Zhao
MIP: Edward Park
Coaches Award: AJ Horosky
MVP: Lyyli Stern
MVP: Wynn Stern
Coaches Award: Clarisse Moucha