On Thursday, students, coaches, faculty, and staff gathered in the Field House to celebrate six of our top student-athletes signing to play their sports at the college level. Col. Weiss began the ceremony by saying this was a great day for the kids and their families, as this doesn't just happen without much sacrifice. It was also a great day for CSN, showing how we blend academic and athletic excellence, a recipe for helping students get admitted to the college of their choice.
First up was Matt Molloy, state medalist, who will swim for D1 Dartmouth. Coach John King spoke of how Matt qualified for States every year he competed, improving his results each year. His swimming career shows how you can overcome adversity to be your best. Matt stepped to the mic to thank Coach King, as well as Coach Lisa Brice who had coached him since the 6th grade. He also took the opportunity to thank his teammates.
Next, Coach Kasye Beza spoke about Grace (a.k.a. Gusto) and Maria (Roosteria) O'Malley, the twin-track and cross country stars with a handful of state medals between them. Coach Beza recounted how the girls always put pressure on themselves, but with each year they also got better at handling it. They have a reputation as strong finishers and were essential components in earning CSN their first ever Cross Country District Championship. D1 FSU will be adding them to their roster next year. They took turns at the mic, thanking Coaches Jenna, Mel, and Beza, as well as their family and friends.
Ryker Vance holds the school record for blocked shots that Coach Donahue said will probably never be broken. He will now be playing basketball for D3 Amherst. Coach Donahue thanked Ryker's parents and grandmother for the opportunity to coach such a wonderful young man, who not only made his team look good, but was always there to inspire younger students in so many ways. Known as a "gentle giant," Ryker thanked God for blessing him with the opportunity to play the game he loves, and his coaches for teaching him life lessons and making him a better man. He also congratulated all the other signees.
Col. Weiss now had to play double duty, both as Master of Ceremonies and as the father of Olivia Weiss, as she signed to play with his own alma mater, D1 Air Force Academy. Coach Beza recounted Olivia's extensive career as a four-sport athlete, with 19 Varsity letters in golf, basketball, and softball as well as track and field. This year was the first year javelin was an FHSAA event for girls, and as no one in the state had coached the sport in over 60 years, Coach Beza had to rely on YouTube tutorials to help her out. Olivia made history by winning the bronze in the first-ever FHSAA States. According to Coach Beza, Olivia has always been a leader, steering her teams to the Regionals in basketball and softball. She thanked her brothers Cooper '17 and Parker '19 for pushing her to be her best.
Coach Donahue is happy to have gotten to know Lovenson Xavier, who will be playing basketball for D3 Marietta, both on and off the court. He is a "hooper," and has broken the school's scoring record for the most points in one season. Along with Ryker in the middle, he led CSN to a record of 56-5 over the past two seasons, winning two District Championships. Lovenson thanked his family, friends, supporters, and everyone else who joined him on his journey.
Finally, Col. Weiss asked Cooper Chur and Kathleen Donahue to come down from their seats to accept the Chris Hixson Exemplary Sportsmanship Awards for Class 3A and 4A at the State level. They have been defined as students who "exhibit for and generous behavior or treatment of others in a sports contest." It was named after Chris Hixson, Athletic Director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, where he perished in the mass shooting there. These two students distinguished themselves above all others with regard to the promotion of sportsmanship and the spirit of fair play.
CSN congratulates all these Super Seahawks!