Winter Sports Preview

Grace Doerfler '18, Editor-in-Chief

With the start of December comes the beginning of Oakland’s winter sport season, and six winter sports are now gearing up for competition: fencing, crew, cheerleading, basketball, swimming and diving, and indoor track.

The fencing team has begun training in the auxiliary gym twice a week, welcoming new members and working hard to develop the special drills and movements needed to fence successfully. Senior Smiley Qian says that the team regularly performs mock competitions, including putting on the special lamé fencing uniforms and masks. “We expect to have the first competition in January,” Smiley says.

Crew, although it practices and competes year-round, has a special competition reserved for the winter season: the biathlon. Senior Sophia Salvi explains that every year, the biathlon is held at the Three Rivers Rowing Association boathouse. The rigorous event involves erging (rowing on an indoor machine) for 7.5 kilometers—approximately 4.7 miles—then running 10 kilometers, about 6.2 miles. While many rowers bemoan the competition’s grueling nature, the crew team also knows that completing the event comes with an impressive cachet. Finishing the biathlon, although difficult, is an accomplishment that rowers can take pride in for years to come.

Cheerleading is also facing exciting events this winter. The cheerleading team typically participates in four competitions each year, then competes in the WPIAL championship and then in the national competition, held in Ohio. Senior Sydney Barlow says, “I think that the team will do well at our first competition because we have a lot of tumblers.” We wish the cheerleading team the best of luck in the coming season!

Basketball is off to a great start this season: over the weekend of December 8-10, the team finished runner-up in the Tip-Off Tournament, held at Oakland Catholic. OC’s team finished ahead of Villa Maria and Greensburg Central Catholic, but lost a well-played game to Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic in the final round. Ms. Bielich, Oakland’s athletic director, says she is confident that the team will play well in the remainder of the season; they’ve certainly had a promising beginning.

OC swimming and diving has had to get creative with its training schedule this year, balancing time in the water with dryland strength training. Two girls on the team deserve congratulations: Maggie Smith and Ellie Tiskus both achieved WPIAL qualifying times during the meet versus Mt. Lebanon, meaning that they are both already slated to compete in the WPIAL meet later this winter. The team hopes that these accomplishments will be followed by many additional impressive achievements over the course of the season.

Indoor track has not yet begun training for the season; practices will begin when students return from Christmas break, and meets begin in January. Junior Hannah Schupansky says that the winter season, unlike the spring track season, focuses heavily on strength training before shifting predominantly to running. She anticipates that the team will do well in competition this year, particularly OC’s relays. Her teammate Jayla Ellis, a hurdler, is another athlete to follow, given her impressive history of performing well in hurdling and jumping events. Hannah says she looks forward to the competition season: “It’s a lot of fun to spend time with the team at meets and run with my friends.”

Good luck to all the winter sports teams as they take on the competition in the coming months!