Guest Post: Coach Scott Henderson:
As we said goodbye to summer and ushered in the start of a new school year we also welcomed a fresh beginning of another active season with regards to athletics and participation in SSAF. A new year means new student athletes and brand new school teams, new opportunities, exciting times for all involved. We have been a proud member of SSAF for a number of teams and although the travel is extensive and the tournament days long, the organization of the events and the level of competition make it more than worthwhile. As the coach of these teams I am very proud in the manner our athletes have represented ourselves in SSAF events over the years. We have garnered a lot of respect from other schools and conveners. GAA is widely recognized as an opponent to be respected as a worthy opponent. Glenn Arbour Academy has had a tremendous amount of success competing in events over the years and 2017-2018 was no different.
We started the year off on Sept 27 with Ultimate Frisbee, a relatively new sport at GAA that was introduced a few years back. It has really caught on with our older kids and has become a popular fall sport. The team played a very high level of Frisbee all day long, dropping their first game
of the day and then going undefeated thru the rest of the round robin play and playoffs. This effort allowed the team to find themselves in the championship game, and a chance at revenge as they were playing the same RHMS team that had beat them to start the day. It was a very exciting final that saw GAA drive for the winning score in overtime only to turn the disc over inches from RHMS’s goal line and then have the opposition drive down the field for the winning score. What a great way to start the year off by winning a silver medal. Afterwards the convener hunted the team and I down, and she congratulated them on being the most rounded and balanced team in the entire tournament, and a pleasure to watch.
There was a lot of confusion in the beginning of the school year with SSAF as to whether there would be a cross-country event this year. The host school was no longer an SSAF member and nobody was stepping up to take the event over. Cross Country has a very long and storied past at GAA. We wanted to keep the sport alive so we looked for other options. We found out about the Withrow Cup hosted by Rosedale School and decided to enter the event. It was a very impressive event, with a challenging cross-country course with a number of hills, and a lot of stiff competition from the large number of schools attending. Every runner’s time was recorded and they were able to know exactly how they fared. Once again GAA provided another amazing day in the sport of cross-country. We had numerous top 10 finishers and medalists including FJ earning silver, and EG bronze in the u10 boys race, AD, bronze in u8 girls and HN a bronze in u14 girls. Every GAA runner finished and the results were so impressive that when all the races were accounted for, GAA had earned the highest total of points and were awarded the 2017 WIthrow Cup. What a great day for every runner to experience and contribute to a team championship. We will definitely be going back to defend our championship next year.
U 12 Indoor Soccer Tier 1
Indoor soccer season started with the U12 coed tier 1 team. This is a fun age group and is the highest level of coed play. Mixing boys and girls on the same team is a pleasure to watch. The team played exceptionally well in the round robin and finished second in a very competitive pool. This finish allowed the team to move on to playoffs where they lost to the eventual silver medalists MGOS, 1-0 on a very controversial penalty call with no time left. The team showed great sportsmanship under very trying circumstances and played high caliber soccer all day long, in a tournament loaded with very competitive teams.
U14 Boys Indoor Soccer
U 14 boys were up next and because of age and experience, the soccer at this level is very competitive and the level of play, very impressive. The indoor game in confined space is extremely fast. We played really impressive soccer the entire day and were a formidable opponent for whomever we played. The boys went undefeated and won their division and marched thru the quarterfinals and semi finals. This included knocking out SSAF rival, UMS who have sent us home many times in the past. In the championship game we took on another SSAF giant, in Tall Pines and although the boys were exhausted they put up a very courageous battle and came up just a little short in the championship game. The boys should be very proud of the silver medal they earned. We have the outdoor soccer date circled on our calendar.
U 10 Indoor Soccer Tier 1
This is the youngest group of athletes to represent GAA, and is always a fun and wildly exciting day because of their age. This year’s team was young in age, as the majority of the team can return at this age group next year. All members played with a great deal of determination and skill. They had a very impressive record in their round robin pool play posting 3 wins against only 1 setback. They qualified then for the playoffs. In the quarterfinals they lost a very close 1-0 game. It was a game they could have easily won and went back and forth with regards to scoring chances. The team gained invaluable experience and these young athletes should be very proud of their accomplishments.
U14 Girls Indoor Soccer
Last but not the least of our indoor soccer teams is our U 14 girls team. I didn’t know what to expect from this team of girls. This was a team that when it was put together, I knew would have a lot of character and heart, but we were short on players with the rep experience which was something the other teams would have. The old saying, Will beats out Skill rang true. The girls really gelled and played for each other. Girls stepped up and played multiple positions and did anything they were asked with a tremendous amount of grit and determination. When the dust cleared and the day was over the girls had gone undefeated and were crowned U14 girls champions. For some members of this team this result was a long time coming and I couldn’t be happier for them.
The winter season saw us venture into our very first basketball tournament. The coed team we took was totally inexperienced but eager to learn. The team worked very hard on developing basketball skills in preparing themselves for this experience. We tied our first ever basketball game in a very low scoring game with UMS a game in which we could have easily won. The game presented an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and the lesson to be learned was to trust each other. The rest of the day saw a very different team. We became a squad that saw every player contributing and everyone playing a team game. The team went on a great roll that saw them put up high scores and very comfortable margins of victory. At the end of the day the team had gone through the day undefeated and were very proud of themselves for representing their school so well
Spring is almost upon us and is our busiest season with a lot of opportunities for student athletes to represent GAA once again with a high degree of skill and sportsmanship. Buckle up, can’t wait.