Shorts in Sports
CHEERLEADING BUILDS CHARACTER
Cheerleaders at Maplewood don't compete competitively, so what motivates a high school student to become one? Cheerleading may not have the benefit of winning that a lot of students crave when picking a sport, but it has a lot of attributes that make you a better person.
The first cheerleader I interviewed about how cheerleading builds character, was Haley Denne. When asked what qualities make a good cheerleader, Haley answered sportsmanship, a positive attitude, confidence, and dedication. Haley thinks she has possessed all these traits as a four year varsity cheerleader, but positivity is her most prominent one. She feels this trait is most significant to being a good cheerleader because “as long as a positive attitude is involved, all the other traits follow.” Haley's goals this year are to have fun and enjoy every minute of her senior year. Cheerleading has given Haley new friendships and a team she can call a second family. “It made me more confident in who I am and it allowed me to express who I am as an individual…” Cheerleading has made a lasting impact on Haley's life that she will carry with her after her high school years.
The second cheerleader I interviewed was Hannah Shartle. She thinks the qualities that make a good cheerleader are being positive, confident, outgoing, and dedicated to your fellow cheerleaders. These qualities are almost exactly what Haley answered, which proves the expectation of what a cheerleader should be. Hannah thinks she is very extroverted and is dedicated to her team. Hannah's goal as a junior is to be a better flyer. She thinks that being a high school cheerleader has increased her confidence. When asked what cheerleading has done for her future outside of high school, Hannah answered “Cheerleading has given me something to work for…”
The last cheerleader I interviewed was Veda Southwick. She thinks the qualities that make the best cheerleader are being “loud, spunky, fun, drama free…” She also thinks you need to be able to handle criticism as a cheerleader. Veda doesn't focus on herself and her own personality traits often, but she thinks by being herself she is being the best cheerleader she can be. Veda's goals are to learn all she can and pass that knowledge on to others to better them and better herself. Veda thinks being a cheerleader in high school will help her tremendously in her life after since she plans to go to a college for the arts. “...it has shown me that hard work really does pay off…”
Cheerleading at Maplewood has impacted all three of these girls greatly and their teammates most likely have similar attitudes about the sport. Just because cheerleading doesn't have the same appeal as other winning oriented sports, it still has its benefits and these girls are definitely reaping them.
- Featured Writer -
TRANSITIONING AMONG TEAMS
A lot of people recognize the differences and sometimes the stress that also accompanies transitioning from jr. high to high school. What most people forget and often overlook is the transition from playing a jr. high sport to playing a high school one. Eighth graders become freshmen and are quickly thrown into a new environment where they’re no longer on top, but expected to perform at a higher level than ever before. I interviewed three freshmen on the girls basketball team at Maplewood to understand their struggles with this rarely talked about transition.
The first freshman I interviewed was Eve Beuchat. Eve has only one year of basketball experience prior to being a freshman on the girls basketball team. When asked what the major differences were that distinguished high school basketball from jr. high, she answered that more plays were involved at the high school level and that it was physically more demanding. I was curious if freshmen experienced more stress or if more was expected from them than past years and Eve answered yes. She talked about the idea of making varsity as a freshman and how that can pile on stress for her and her peers. Eve’s fears when transitioning was that she wouldn’t get along with her new teammates. She no longer has this fear after being around her teammates and feeling welcomed.
The second freshman I interviewed was Breanna Heme. Breanna has been playing basketball since third grade, so she already experienced the shift from elementary school to jr. high basketball and adapted just fine. Just like Eve, Breanna thought high school basketball is more demanding and is accompanied by more pressure than her previous years of playing. She added to this by saying that more is expected from her than ever before. She also foolishly thought that no one was going to like her, which was an identical fear of Eve’s.
The third and last freshman I interviewed was Liliane Moorhead. She has been playing since third grade as well. When asked about the prominent differences between jr. high and high school, she mentioned how equal playing time no longer existed. Now girls had to work for their playing time. Unlike jr. high, it wasn’t just about having fun. It was now about winning. Liliane also thought more was expected from her as a freshman than as a eighth grader. Lilane’s fear wasn’t that people wouldn’t like her, but rather that she would be cut from the team. Luckily, her coach chose to make no cuts this season.
All three girls had interesting perspectives on the transition from jr. high to high school basketball. The shift is intimidating and can add to the expectations freshman already have forced upon them. They deserve more credit for persevering and it’s important to remember they are the future of our teams.
I would also like to give recognition to the other freshmen on the girls basketball team I didn’t interview: Izzy Eimer, Natalie Kurt, Natalie Slagle, and Jordyn Ploski.
- Featured Writer -
TIGERS LAST ROAR
After moving up to AA, the Tigers knew this would be a challenging year. They would be leaving their yearly rivals, Cambridge and Cochranton, exploring new and more difficult competition. In region 3, our Tiger's girls' volleyball team went almost undefeated, losing one region game throughout the regular season; the ladies continued post season, making it to the D-10 AA championships, where they lost once again to Corry.
It was one amazing season, and career, for the Maplewood girls' volleyball seniors. Although the season did not go as long as expected or as hoped for, the volleyball team did not disappoint. The senior six are extremely grateful for their past years of volleyball and the many early morning practices, late night tournaments, volleyball camps, breakfast at Sheila's, Dig for a Cure matches, and the countless games they've won.
The seniors were a crucial and dynamic part of the team, five of the six starters, were seniors. I asked Danielle Richardson if, looking back, she ever thought her and her team would've accomplished what they had, "A state championship has been expected of us since the seventh grade," said Danielle, "in seventh and eighth grade we never lost a game or a tournament, that mentality only moved up through high school." That statement is obvious as the girls momentum and bond propelled them in competition that eventually lead to a state title.
Through blood, sweat, and tears the girls have helped make Maplewood history, and even though the road wasn't as long as anticipated, it was a great ride.
- Contributing Writer -
TIGERS HOLD OFF THE HOUNDS
The Maplewood girls volleyball team, now fifth in the state, will continue their season after a sweep against Wilmington in playoff action at The House of Thrills.
Coming into the match, Maplewood was calm and focused. “We came out too good. Can you do that?” Maplewood coach Sheila Bancroft joked, “I thought we played solid in games one and two.”
In the first set, the Tigers had minimal errors where they finished the game 25-4 against the Hounds.
After the Tigers took the first set, Wilmington started to wake up, scoring the first two points of the second set. For a while it was a struggle of back and forth, that is until the Tigers’ grabbed a five point lead. The Hounds weren’t giving up but couldn’t keep up with the Tigers who went on runs of four to three points for every point that they gave. The Hounds suffered a loss of 25-13 in the second set.
Fundamental errors got the best of the Tigers in the third set, where things seemed to start falling apart.
"I don’t know what happened exactly,” said Amber Burchard, a senior volleyball player at Maplewood, “I think we started to lose focus and I think we were too relaxed. In the first two sets we beat them so easily, I think we just relaxed and didn’t play our best.”
In the third set the Tigers struggled, being behind most of the game by five or six points at a time. The Hounds were getting excited, as they should’ve been, beating the Tigers 17-10.
The Tigers had dug themselves a hole, but they were not out of the game, the final score shows this as they came back and won the third set 25-21; the Tigers will move on in playoffs.
“We always have one bad set in every match and unfortunately here we go again, but yet, we were able to survive it.” Said Bancroft, “We didn’t play our best ball in one set but we can still win the game and come from behind. We’re moving on, a win is a win, but next match is going to be a little bit more challenging.”
Maplewood’s Sophie Varndell had tied with Erin Kelly for kills, both earning 13 for the game. Isabelle Snyder contributed 34 assists for offense. Meanwhile, Burchard and Danielle Richardson lead the team defensively; Burchard had ten digs with Richardson close behind, tallying nine.
“I’m so excited for our next game,” said Burchard, “Fort LeBoeuf is a good team, and we’re a good team too. It’s going to be a good match.”
Maplewood (overall 11-1, region 6-1) will travel to an undetermined location on Wednesday for Semi-Finals in AA D10 Playoffs, they are urging their fans to show Tiger Spirit; the theme for the game is Halloween.
- Contributing Writer -
FRESHMAN CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER
Lexie Wyant is a freshman cross country runner this 2018 season and she’s making big waves. She’s number one varsity girl, which is a big deal as a freshman, and has the possibility of going to states this year. I interviewed her and the Maplewood cross country coach, Mr. McClellan, on their opinions about Lexie’s accomplishments and what’s on the horizon for her.
Lexie was eager to answer my questions and when I asked what her thoughts were on being number one varsity girl she answered in her usual Lexie fashion by saying, “It’s pretty snazzy.” Her goals are that of a typical runner. She wants to run under a certain time: her’s being twenty minutes, which is incredibly fast for a girl cross country runner. At this time her PR, or personal record, is 20:35, so she’s well on her way. Another goal of Lexie’s, that she’s already accomplished, is beating last year’s number one varsity girl who’s a senior and has far more experience than her. She’s still striving to meet her states goal.
Lexie’s place at Sharpsville, the biggest invitational cross country runners in the area compete in all season, was 17th place at 20:45. Looking at the results from the race she has high odds of qualifying for states. Medaling at Sharpsville isn’t her only notable accomplishment though. Lexie has won six races since the start of her running career in seventh grade and has placed second at two meets this season. It’s hard to believe Lexie never intended to be a cross country runner. She had her sights set on track, but Maplewood doesn’t offer that sport, so cross country seemed like the logical alternative.
I interviewed McClellan after Lexie to get his insight on Lexie’s future and states potential. McClellan wants to keep the pressure off her and not get states into her head, but he’s always thought Lexie had the potential. Since he started coaching her in seventh grade, he knew Lexie was something special. When asked to describe Lexie he compared her to Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. He said, “She’s a ball of energy, you never know what she’s gonna do.” After hearing this description, his goals for Lexie made sense. He wants to keep her healthy, which is a hard task with Lexie. She hasn’t been as clumsy as in past years, but she’s struggling with a new injury.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition affecting many girls on the team this year. Lexie happens to be one of them. Taking this into consideration, Lexie isn’t even at her full potential and must overcome this hurdle to make her states dream come true. McClellan also mentioned the task of Lexie learning how to race like it’s a practice day, which is a struggle for a lot of runners who deal with race stress. Lexie also is grappling with the newness of running a 5k compared to her junior high years of running a lot less mileage.
McClellan thinks with proper training, dedication, and commitment Lexie is on the right path to states. This is a big deal for MHS. In Maplewood history a female cross country runner has never medaled at states. If Lexie is already on the path to qualifying for states as a freshman, medaling sometime over the course of her high school career isn’t out of the picture. Maybe this could even be her year to shine.
- Featured Writer -
FORT LEBOUEF FAILS IN FIVE
Maplewood Girls Volleyball secured another victory for the season, in a five set match against the Ft. LeBoeuf Bison on Thursday, in Region 3 action at the Woodshed.
The Tigers were struggling and Ft. LeBoeuf was taking full advantage; the first set was too close for the Tiger’s comfort, but Maplewood dug deep and won 25-19.
In the second set, momentum was on the Bison’s side, as they started the set with a five point streak. At one point in the set, the Tigers were falling to the Bison 6-18. While the Tigers made a slight comeback, it wasn’t enough to save the set; Ft. LeBoeuf took control and won the second set 25-18.
The third set was looking better for the Tigers, but it still wasn’t pretty. Fundamental errors and mental game was hurting them, and the Bison seemed to be taking it all in. For most of the set, it was a back and forth battle, however, the Bison remained calm and collected, winning the third set 25-18. “In two games, we gave up two huge streaks of points, and we just can’t do that. It comes back to the passing game. We just have to pass the ball better,”said Maplewood head coach Sheila Bancroft.
A new set is a clean slate, and while the Tigers seemed to struggle at the beginning of the set, being behind 9-17, a sudden change in momentum was huge as they started to battle back. “In the middle game of four, we said we were here a week ago in the same situation when we played CASH. Your backs are to the wall; you can’t give up,” said Bancroft. The Tigers didn’t give up and ended with a victory in the fourth set, 25-23.
It was clear that the energy was on Maplewood’s side in the fifth set. The fans were yelling and the team was getting excited. Isabelle Snyder served a five point streak to start the Tigers off right; the Bison fought back but fell short, allowing the Tigers to win the set 15-6 and become 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the region.
Freshman, Isabella Eimer, proved she could play with the big girls tonight, as she filled in at middle for injured player, Maggie Thomas, who recently tore her ACL. Eimer said that she feels she, “is always in the way, but did pretty good,” and she was also excited about her varsity block tonight. “She’s very athletic, we’re asking her to do some very big things in the middle,” said Bancroft, “Every match it could be someone different, but right now, she’s filling that position and she’s doing her job.”
Sophie Varndell lead the Tigers with 23 kills. Bancroft highlighted Erin Kelly, saying she, “did great at the net offensively” earning 11 kills. Sophomore, Kaysea Thomas, also did a nice job, contributing seven kills and 12 digs. Amber Burchard tallied 21 digs, and Danielle Richardson had 12. Snyder also ran the offense nicely, earning 38 assists. The girls did well, but all in all, it was an obvious team effort. “We gave other people opportunities. We don’t feel that anyone is head and shoulders above everyone else. We gave some people some chances, and the players off the bench did a nice job,” said Bancroft.
The Tigers will travel to Oil City for their next match up on October 2nd for Region 3 action. C’mon out and support our girls!
- Contributing Writer -
TIGERS MAKE JUICE
The Maplewood Tigers girls volleyball team is now 2-0 in Region 2 action after a sweeping victory against the North East Grape Pickers at The Woodshed, Thursday.
The Tigers had momentum on their side before the game even started after a JV victory and a crowd full of super fans. Maplewood won its first set with ease, 25-16, and the gym only got louder after that.
“[The fan section] is wonderful,” Maplewood coach Sheila Bancroft said. “When they get fired up, it fires the girls up.”
A metaphorical fire was definitely started for the Tigers, who won the second set 25-10. Sophie Varndell also had “hot hands,” contributing to her career high of 20 kills in a single match.
Good volleyball was seen from both teams in the third set.
“North East played some great defense,” Bancroft said. “They didn’t let the ball hit the floor and we had a hard time finding the floor. We had to hit smarter and start finding the floor.”
North East was giving it all that they had, but still couldn’t pull the win out of the Tigers, losing the set 25-23.
Along with Varndell’s career night, Danielle Richardson had five service aces and six digs, while Erin Kelly tallied four kills. Isabelle Snyder contributed 3 kills and 10 digs, while Amber Burchard added 10 digs.
The Tigers (2-0 overall, 2-0 Region 2) will move forward on Tuesday, as they travel to Corry for a Region 2 match, at 7 p.m.
“Corry has a phenomenal volleyball program going on, and they’re a good team,” Bancroft said. “It’s going to be tough to go to their floor and beat them, but I’m hoping we can be competitive.”
- Contributing Writer -
MAPLEWOOD'S 2018 GOLF TEAM
This years golf team is very new to the sport. The roster currently includes only two returning players Issac Hiem and Sean Wheelock along with seven newcomers: Weiss Hiem, Abigail Crago, Chase Halsaver, Matthew Bernoski, Joslyn Engel, Breanna Bach, and Lucas Groger. Mr. Young and Marty Bennet are the main coaches for the golf team this year. In a match against Conneaut Lake (9/13), Maplewood lost 169 to 226. Issac Hiem had the best run during this match, carding a 51. Our golf team isn’t always recognized for all the work they do. Their matches last seven hours, and some days, these players have to deal with less than ideal weather. Few people want to watch their matches because of how long they are, but if you’re interested in golf, come down to their match next monday the 27th at ten o’clock.
- Featured Writer -
Cheerleading takes a lot of hard work and dedication, yet they’re treated like a sideshow to the football players they support. So why do high school girls cheerlead? I interviewed four Maplewood cheerleaders, one from each grade, to find out why they joined, how much time they’ve dedicated, their favorite part about the sport, and what they would say to convince other girls to join.
For my freshman cheerleader I interviewed Hannah Kight. Hannah told me she’s actually a first year cheerleader with no past experience, so I was definitely interested in why she joined. Turns out that she’s a dancer and wanted to be more involved in school, so all arrows pointed towards cheerleading as her solution. When I asked her what her favorite part is she easily answered all the new friends she’s making. She’d like fellow girls to know that they should join cheerleading for the friendships and the experience of going to games.
For my sophomore cheerleader I interviewed Gabrielle Duke. She’s been cheerleading for six years total, but only two of those are high school years. She does wrestling and football cheer, so she dedicates a lot of her time to the sport. She decided to cheerlead because of being a dancer, just like Hannah. She also loves glitter bows, and being a part of a team, which cheerleading had to offer. When asked her favorite part she answered game days and the sense of pride when her teammates nail a stunt they’ve put so much time and effort into. When asked what she would say to convince a hesitant person to cheerlead she highlighted the fact of how much hard work it is, but also how that hard work pays off. As a closing remark, she’d liked people to know that’s she’s made the best memories being a part of the cheerleading team.
For my junior cheerleader I interviewed Abby Bakus. She has a lot of cheerleading experience under her belt with doing camps to raise money for breast cancer foundations, doing basketball cheerleading since seventh grade, and doing football cheerleading since ninth. Her story about why she decided to join cheerleading was also inspirational. She used to attend her older brother’s basketball games when she was younger and watch the cheerleaders. She liked the idea of being a flyer, so that’s what motivated her. Flying is also her favorite part of cheerleading, along with the team aspect. Abby’s advice to someone wanting to join cheerleading was perfectly worded. “Cheerleading is a constant thrill, from the band dances, to the stunting, to cheering the team into victory.”
For my senior cheerleader I interviewed Brianna Phillips. She’s been cheerleading since fifth grade and hasn’t stopped since. She even goes as far as to do both basketball and football cheerleading. Her story about why she joined cheerleading was also interesting. The cheer team only had three cheerleaders at the time and Brianna used to run track, but was looking for a new fall sport to replace it. Cheerleading seemed like the solution. Her favorite part about cheerleading is team bonding, too. When asked why she thinks girls should join cheerleading she mentioned how great any sport looks on college applications and how it keeps you in shape, but what she said next was even more meaningful. “It shows you how to truly be confident in yourself.” When it comes to being a part of a cheerleading squad every teammate matters whether they’re jv or varsity.
Cheerleading might not be the most popular sport at Maplewood, but these girls put forth a lot of time and energy and they deserve more recognition for that. Cheerleading is very team oriented and the girls make memories they’ll cherish for years to come. I think we all should think more highly of cheerleading from now on.
- Featured Writer -
JR. HIGH FOOTBALL
Jr. high football doesn’t get enough recognition for how vital it is to the varsity football program. Without the foundation the jr. high lays by instilling life skills and the foundations of the game, the high school level sport wouldn’t be the same. Key players of a varsity team are often freshmen and their training is thanks to the jr. high program.
Unfortunately, when I interviewed the jr. high football coach, Jason McPherson, about the team, he said they were down on numbers this year. They are a whole ten players short. This makes scrimmaging against themselves or having a second string not possible like in previous years. This can definitely affect the team and what they’re capable of, but that’s not stopping them from meeting their goals.
The team is also different this year with new, younger boys becoming quarterbacks. They are quickly learning the position and stepping up to the challenge.
When interviewing a jr. high team, I wasn’t sure what the differences between it and a high school level team would be. I realized pretty early that they’re both shockingly similar. Both have rivals such as the other Penncrest schools and Cochranton. Both select team captains, but instead of one team captain all season, the jr. high coaches strive to select a different captain each week based on who shows the most initiative. The goal is for every boy to be captain by the end of season, which I think is very inclusive and builds a better team atmosphere.
When asked what their biggest strength is McPherson said, “We believe in the man standing next to us and will do anything to protect him.” Their ability to fight as one, reinforcing the idea of team mentality, is a strength that is hard to come by even at the high school level.
The jr. high football team often lives in the shadow of the varsity team, but that doesn’t stop the team from being the best they can be. One shouldn’t be valued over the other because they are essential to each other. Like McPherson said, “Maplewood football is building a tradition of being a force to take notice of."
- Featured Writer -
FOOTBALL ABOUT TO KICK OFF
Prepare for an exciting football season. Our team is currently 2-0 with wins against Lakeview (57-7) and Cochranton (35-28). Maplewood is currently ranked 3rd in our division. Unfortunately, this year’s schedule allowed us to play nine main-season games instead of ten. Last week’s game against Cochranton began with JD McFadden’s (#23) throw to his brother Jesse McFadden (#34) for a touchdown to break Maplewood’s career passing record, and ended with a close call when Cochranton recovered an onside kick with only two seconds left on the clock.
JD responds to his record by saying, “It’s nice to have a good team behind me to make it happen, but wins and losses are what’s important.” Head coach Borkovich comments on the season by mentioning that our team graduated thirteen seniors, but has a lot of talent and potential. “We can be as great as we want to be,” said the coach. His goals for the season are to win the region, win a playoff game, and compete with every team we face.
Next week’s game against Cambridge will settle another big rivalry and will help decide who gets the region title. Look forward to the homecoming game on October 12th against Eisenhower and the start of playoffs on October 26th.
- Featured Writer -