FHC Athletics Enjoys One Of Its Best Seasons To Date


As the beginning of the school year rolls around time and time again, fall sports teams prepare for another season at the grind. Each hopes for success, but the road to the top is long and grueling; and, due to many reasons, most teams do not make it there. However, this fall FHC has watched in awe as its teams have dominated everywhere from the tennis courts to the field hockey fields to the soccer turfs. We have witnessed these teams make it to places few before them have and, along with other teams displaying fall greatness, experienced a surreal amount of success through our athletics.

“There is a structure in place,” said athletic director Clark Udell. “There are expectations in place, and we ask our athletes to really invest emotionally, which I think is the root of the success with all of our athletes because we have so many who are willing to invest themselves.”

Between the notable successes of the Girls’ Swim and Dive, Girls’ Cross Country, and Girls’ Volleyball programs and the state runs by the Boys’ Tennis, Boys’ Soccer, and Girls’ Field Hockey teams, FHC’s 2015 fall sports program has achieved athletic levels of greatness unheard of for a single season. Udell contributes this to the outstanding work ethic of this year’s students.

“We all work hard and try to create an environment with our athletes where we show them we really care,” Udell said. “So many people are all about becoming better athletes even during their offseasons. It’s great to be in a place where so many people are so invested in their sports and can be successful because of that work.”

As the fall kicked off, the first season to finish its run was Boys’ Tennis, and they started off the season well. For them, one state championship just wasn’t enough as they brought home to FHC their second state championship in a row. The team is one of tradition and excellence; and, according to captain Cooper James, the predominantly young team was hoping to overcome a lack of experience in order to have a memorable season and live up to high expectations.

“The road that our team took to get where it ended up was extremely tough,” James said. “We started out the season very slow and a lot of our new players that came up from JV weren’t prepared for the varsity level during the first couple of weeks. But I think as we moved forward and all the guys became more comfortable with their partners and playing tough competition every week, the team started to come together and we knew we had a chance to do something special.”

After they got their momentum going, the team succeeded in doing just that. By following up strong wins at numerous tournaments, the tennis boys made school history with back-to-back state championships. Living up to the hype of the program as a whole, the boys were able to enjoy their road to the championship together and have fun while playing well.

I think what was most special about this year’s tennis team was our camaraderie,” James said. “We were a team that had fun, but we also did it together, which made the season better and allowed us to play better in my opinion. It was also very special for all the seniors to go out as state champs and for everyone who won individual state championships.”

For Girls’ Field Hockey, the season ended with a loss in the state semifinal game. Historically a strong team, they were the 2012 division champs. In 2013, they lost in the state championship and in 2014 they lost in the state quarterfinals. However, the season was one which enjoyed success on a large scale as well, making it further than the previous year and beating two Division One teams along the way for a final record of 13-1-3, living up to their high standards despite a rocky beginning.

“The road our team traveled to get to the end of this season started the day after losing in the quarterfinals last year,” said captain Hannah Gavle. “It was pretty rough at times. There were a few key positions that needed to be filled and we also tried out a new offense which was a big adjustment that we ended up not sticking with. Thankfully, we overcame those challenges and we were able to have a great season!”

Although their season ended falling just short of a title, the Field Hockey girls enjoyed a fun season with a unique team. Comprised of girls from three separate schools, the separation one would expect was, according to Gavle, nowhere to be seen.

“This year’s team is special because we have amazing chemistry,” Gavle said. “Everyone was really close with everyone on and off the field. Drama was nonexistent. We also had an incredible amount of talent that distributed pretty well throughout the team.”

This chemistry allowed them to both work and play hard, and end their season making FHC proud with a solid run at the state level.

Another team to make FHC proud is its Boys’ Soccer team. With an undefeated season (22-0-3) in progress and only the state championship game left to play, the boys have high hopes for their dominant program. Ranked number #1 in the state, #3 in the region and #8 in the country, this boys team is not one to mess with.

According to captain Anthony Bowie, Boys’ Soccer has always been a big time program with great tradition at Central. They have won over 20 conference titles and many district and regional titles, along with one state title, at the Division Two level before their recent move up to Division One. Their regional win was FHC’s first Division One regional soccer title, and winning states on Saturday would be the same for a Division One state title.

Hard work, togetherness, leadership, and a refuse to lose attitude have gotten us to where we are now,” Bowie said. “Our goal from the start of the season, and our goal now, has been to win a state title while going undefeated.”

Although each team to go through FHC’s Boys’ Soccer program has been strong in the past, this team has something special in terms of leadership which allows it to continue to be successful and selfless on the field.

“The amount of seniors (12) and the leadership everyone plays within the team makes this team special. We have a very talented team and everyone works hard and for the team and will continue to do so until the end,” Bowie said.

With all of the excellence displayed in this year’s fall season, one has to wonder what the secret to success for many of our greatest teams has been. According to Udell, however, it all comes with being a Ranger.

“Our athletic culture has grown stronger recently around the team,” Udell said. “And not only a team of one particular sport, but I’m seeing athletes supporting other athletes and sports supporting other sports, and we become less focused as individuals on our own success and even as a team focused on success and become a school focused on athletic success and feeding off of each other. We are becoming more of Rangers than any sort of player and focus on unity which has been something that will continue to allow us to build on this success and be successful all of the time, fall winter or spring.”