Category Archives: Sports

Coach Profile: Aaron Smith

by Halle Wynn/Staff Writer

As the flag drops and the gun fires off to signal the start, Coach Aaron Smith becomes anxious about his team winning the race. At Yorktown’s Jim Leffler Invitational, Smith watched Parker Niemeier, 12, finish third and give GC a second place finish in the invite. Smith coaches the men’s varsity cross country team and teaches in the math department.

As a coach, Smith has developed close bonds with those on his team. Conner Kinnaman, 11, is a cross country team captain. Kinnaman said, “We’re like a family; we even call Coach our dad sometimes just because it makes him uneasy.”

Team captain, Parker Niemeier, 12, has been involved in cross country for four years now and does not look forward to saying goodbye at the end of the year.  Niemeier said, “Smith always has a hard time saying goodbye to the seniors, and before every single race he shakes every runner’s hand and wishes them good luck which for me personally means a lot.”

Honesty and empathy are two key factors in coaching.  Tyler Osborn, 10, said Smith, “is honest with you telling you what he thinks that you did that can be improved.”

Over the years, Smith has found that coaching requires dedication and focus. Kinnaman added, “Coach is the reason I am the runner I am. He dedicates himself to the betterment of his runners. He keeps us in check, but also has fun with us along the way. He’s the best coach you could ask for.”

Although Smith likes to have fun, he always works hard and attempts to find new runners. Niemeier said, “He always makes an effort to get the whole team to go over to junior high and recruit 8th graders for next years season and during summer conditioning he really focuses on each runner’s individual abilities and focuses on them and basically makes the most out of what he has.”

When not occupied with teaching, Smith can be found attending sporting events, spending time with his family or exploring the wonders of nature. “I have three friends that I met at a Bible study, and we like to go to sporting events, national parks, and we have all played on the same slow pitch softball team.”

Smith and his friends may have played softball together, but the cross country will always remain as his favorite sport. Smith’s team has started the season out with a great ordeal of success. The team has placed fifth twice and seventh place once so far in the year.

“Live life to the fullest” is a very popular quote, but Smith sees things differently. “I recently came up with my own quote, ‘A man is made in the mundane.’ With teaching math and coaching cross country, I do two things most people don’t like: math and running. Most people live for just the exciting parts of life which are very few and far between. Most of our life is spent in the mundane. If we work hard and enjoy those times, we will be much better off.”

Boys’s soccer off to successful start

by Destiney Wray/Staff Writer

The boys’ soccer team just started their season, and they already have a record of 6-2. They lost several seniors last year, but they aren’t suffering by any means.

Varsity scored 11-0 against Delta recently.  Goalkeeper Abe Buescher, 10, was able to block every shot Delta took. Captain Zach Bell, 12, was able to get 3 goals and 2 assists. The season’s shutout accumulation right now is 4.

 Bell has been one of the captains all of this year, and was named captain halfway through the season last year. “(The title is) cool but means I have a lot more responsibility and so I always have to be doing my best on everything I do, especially with the little things,” Bell said.

Jacob Blevens, 10,  is a swing player for varsity and JV. He thinks this soccer season is different because of the freshman class. They have to help guide the freshman like the upperclassmen did with the 9th graders last year.  Bell and Blevens have said the same thing, that they don’t just chant that they’re family. “We are all like brothers,” Blevins said.

Bell said the team has improved a lot. “We lost a lot of people last year so that was a huge change for us so the best thing we did was work together and get used to each other. Even though we lost a lot of people I still believe we may be even better than last year”. The boys’ soccer team has about 4 games so far this season where they have

It’s important to try to get in a positive mood before games. Jason Scrivner, 9, said, “I listen to music to get in a positive mood and try to think about things that motivate me.” In a sport, you will usually do better if everyone works together.  Bell said, “I think we work very well. We always chant that we’re brothers, so we always have each other’s back.”

Cougar girls soccer on track to avenge sectional loss

by Abigail Hurst/Staff Writer 

Photo taken by Lizan Brand.

The GC girls’ soccer team has won five games out of six this season and are on track to avenge their close sectional loss from last year.

Morgan Murdoch, 10, said the girls’ work ethic is strong. “We never give up. We work for what we want.”

Kelsi McLaughlin, 9,  said the girls have improved a lot so far this season. “We pass a lot better, we move off the ball, and we talk to each other.” Murdoch also said, “I think that we have improved on looking up and knowing where we are going to pass.”

Macy Huber, 10, mentioned the team’s versatility.  “We are all bonded really well and we have so many players that can play multiple positions really well.”

Murdoch said, “We are doing awesome this year.” Huber also said, “This season I feel like we have really been working together a lot more.”

The girls’ soccer team prepares through their drills. They work diligently on shooting, scrimmaging, and on ball touches. Huber said, “Brazilians [are my favorite drill] because they really help me with my first touches on the ball.” Murdoch also said, “My favorite drill or part of practice is probably when we work on shooting and when we scrimmage.”

The soccer team’s most substantial rival is a neighboring school. Huber said, “Our biggest rival definitely has to be Mt. Vernon. They are our rival because they are another Hancock County School and we just work really had to beat them every year.”

Several members of the team said they are looking forward to playing New Palestine this year. “We are looking forward to the New Palestine game the most I feel like because they have some really good players. They can play multiple positions just like some of the girls on our team,” Huber said.

Murdoch complimented the coach, Erin Clark.  Murdoch said, “ I like that she doesn’t give up on us. She pushes us because she know we can do it and she does so much for our team.”

Huber said,  “I really like her because she pushes us to our maximum potential.”

  Emily Davidson, 11, also had admiration for her coach. “She invests a lot into the team and our season, and she cares about us all individually.” Lucy Brand, 12, also said, “I love her because she is not only a really good coach, but I can talk to her on a personal level about whatever I might need.”

Huber talked about the team and their camaraderie. She said, “I love being on this team because we all work really good together, and we all work for each other so the team as a whole can succeed. I feel like we are all forming a bond that is helping us be a whole when we get on the game field.”

Brand shared her opinion about the team and their conviviality. “My favorite part about being part of the team is the friendships that have been made throughout it. I’m really happy I could end my senior season on a good note.”

Murdoch also talked about the team and their fellowship. “I like being on the team because of having the support of the girls and just having a fun season together.”  Schuyler Slunaker, 10, also said,Soccer season is my favorite season just because I feel comfortable with the team. It’s like a family with all of the players.”

 

 

Cross country team runs toward success

By Kaitlyn Koehler/ Staff Writer

Photo by Gracie Blake/Catamount Staff

Whether it’s pacing themselves or sprinting, the cross country team makes themselves known. With runners like Conner Kinnaman, 11, William Wickham, 12, Sarah Muckerheide, 12, and Audrey Brinkruff, 10, there is a lot of experience on the team. New PR’s (personal records) are being met every meet, along with new accomplishments.

So far this season, boys varsity and girls varsity have accomplished quite a bit. Boys varsity first started the season with an overall 5th place finish at Hamilton Hokum Karem. The meet consisted of two runners becoming one team. Each had to run three miles, eventually making up a full six miles. Parker Niemeier, 12 and Kinnaman missed 5th place by just a hair. Among the other teams running were Luke Muckerheide, 10 and Matt Wickham, 9 who finished in 17th, Caleb Short, 10 and Jonah Fletcher, 10 who finished in 22nd place, and William Wickham and Gage Guinen, 10 finishing in 24th place.

Every runner wishes to accomplish great things. Boys varsity has already finished in 5th place with the Cougarpalooza, 7th at Columbus North, and 5th at the Pendleton Heights Arabian Roundup. Girls Varsity has finished 3rd in the Cougarpalooza, 12th at Columbus North, 6th at the Triton Central Early Bird Invitational.

Sarah Muckerheide has several notable goals for herself. “My hope for the season is to run a good enough time to get my name on our school’s cross country Top 10 board. I also hope to qualify for the semi-state competition,” said Muckerheide.

With this season so far, there is no surprise when it comes to teamwork. “I am greatly enjoying the season so far. The team is looking very strong and I am excited to see what the team can do,” William Wickham, 12, said of the cross country season. For Wickham, it’s all about bettering the team and himself. “I plan on working really hard to get my times faster so I can better help the team. My hopes, as team captain and a senior on the team, is to impact the team in a positive way.” 

Every season is different and has its own perks. “This season has been really fun, just like all of the others. The freshmen have proven to be a very important factor to our team. I look forward to the betterment of next year as they settle into the swing of things,” said Kinnaman, 11.

Kinnaman commented on the relationship of the team. “As a team, we need to work on keeping our tempers with each other. We all get along relatively well, but whenever a dispute arises we are pretty quick to start yelling at each other. It’s just a unique form of “brotherly love,” if you will. We’re all like siblings to each other,” Kinnaman  said.

Photo by Gracie Blake/Catamount staff

 

Senior athletes head to college

by Ella Hunsinger/Staff Writer

As graduation approaches, many seniors are preparing to go off to college and pursue their hobby, or future career of sports. Their stories and past experiences have shaped the players and people they are today. Not only are they going to college to continue their sports, but they are also continuing their education. Their commitments to sports have paved the way for their bright and promising futures.   

Sydney Williams, a senior softball player, has signed to Indiana Tech,  to continue her softball career. Sydney stated, “I have always loved the game of softball, and my passion is what keeps me playing.” Sydney began playing baseball at the age of five, then switched to softball at the age of seven. When asked if this was more of a hobby or career, Sydney stated, “I would consider this both a hobby and career. This is a hobby because it is voluntary and I love doing it, but it is also a career because of the work that is put into it, and the money I am receiving in scholarships.” There is little doubt that Sydney is dedicated to her sport, as well as passionate about it.

Ethan Kile, a senior on the swim team, is signed to Wheaton College to expand his swimming career. He stated, “I am excited to be a part of a team that has the same love and passion for swimming as I do.” Ethan also explained that he wants to “swim at nationals, even if it it’s just a relay.” His favorite aspect of being a part of the swim team has been the bonds and friendships he has made.

Will O’Connor is a senior basketball player, who has signed to Indiana University South Bend, to continue his passion for the sport. Will has been playing basketball for ten years, and he started the sport when he was eight years old. He stated, “I was always really good at basketball, and I love the competitive nature.” While at college, Will wants to find a major and get a degree, as well as have a successful basketball career.

Brandon Murphy is a senior soccer player, who will be attending Trine University to further his soccer career. Murphy said he is “looking forward to having fun and improving his athletic abilities.” While attending college, Murphy wants to pick his major, as well as become a starter for the soccer team. While looking back on his time in high school, he stated that his favorite memory was “winning sectionals last year- we were the underdogs and winning felt so good.”

 

Track, baseball start season

By Gavin Hudson/Staff Writer

Photo: Adam Lee, 11, pole vaults during a recent track meet.

What’s that delicious smell? Ah, the smell of hot dogs and nachos from the baseball and track meets, of course! With the upcoming seasons for the GC track team and baseball team are ready! Starting with the baseball team, Adam Hutchison, 10, who you can find in left field or pitching, said, “I feel like this season will be a pretty good season. We lost a couple of people, but I feel like some of the freshmen that have come in will help a lot.”

         As far as GC’s rivals are concerned, Hutchison said, “I feel that the biggest competition will be New Pal this year. We split them last year in conference, and they have also lost a few players.”

The track team is also excited about their season. Adam Lee, 11, who runs the 200m and is also a pole vaulter, said, “I believe this track season will come around short for the boys as usual. However, I do expect us to place higher in county and conference this year.”

Lee considered several teams as rivals for the Cougars. “As a full team (our competition) will be Mt. Vernon, New Pal, Shelbyville, and Pendleton.”

Lee mentioned that his personal rival was a pole vaulter from Shelbyville, Jae Eull, 11.

 

Boys Basketball team Prepares for Sectionals

By Mariam Elassal/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Basketball cougars are on the defense

With only 5 games left in their season and an overall record score of 4-13-1, the boys basketball team and coach are practicing hard to end their season on a high note. With their main goal to make a run in and win sectionals- the team is practicing different drills and creating game plans to increase skill level and their chance of winning.

The boys basketball practices generally consist of breaking down a game plan, scrimmaging, as well as various shooting drills and free throws all led by coach, Lukas Haworth.

During a game, it all comes down to how the athletes play on the court, but behind that needs to be a close team featuring a tight bond. Brian Long, 12, states “The way we get to where we want to go as a team is by staying locked into what we’re doing, believing in ourselves and one another, as well as competing every time we take the floor.” Long also states he has a strong bond with everyone on his team and he has created friendships that will last a lifetime.

Matt Turner, 12, says “My team is family, being a senior, I feel like I know everyone on the team and are very close with them, including all the trainers and managers; we are all one big family and I love em all.”

Will O’Connor, 12, also has a special bond with his team, “We are all really good friends. Us 5 seniors have been playing together for a long time, we even hang outside of school. The team chemistry is really good and we are really close.”

Prior to a game, Turner prefers to keep to himself and to try not to do too much physical activity. Long likes to listen to music to block out noise and distractions. O’Connor, 12 likes to go over the game plan and focus on how they will play.

“The Mt. Vernon game has stuck in my mind because that was a four-overtime game. It was cool because I hit the pull up shot to send into over time.” O’Connor states and also mentions senior night, “Senior night was a lot of fun, we won by a lot and I got to play with my brother who is a freshman, it was really cool.”

With the end of the season approaching, the boys basketball team is practicing hard to ensure a win in sectionals and achieve that season-long goal.

Boys’ swim continues to smash records

by Reilly Hodnett/Staff Writer

So far in this season, the men’s swimming and diving team has won all their dual meets and broken numerous records.

Zach Cook, 12, swims the 100 butterfly and the 100 back. Not only does he swim individual events but he also competes in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. This season he broke his own 500 Freestyle school record on Dec. 18 with a 4:49.43.

At the Hamilton Southeastern invitational, the boys broke three meet records for the invitational: the 100 fly event by Cook, the 200 Free Relay of Chris Joven, 12, Travis Black, 9, Ethan Kile, 12, and Cook, and the 400 Free Relay team of Joven, Sam Jennings, 10, Kile and Cook. The relay team of Joven, Black, Kile and Cook also broke a 6-year-old school record in the 200 Free Relay.  Cook set the pool record in the 100 fly and the 400 Free Relay team set a pool record while at Hamilton Southeastern.

Additionally, Ben Rader broke the school record for 6 dives on Dec. 7 at Pendleton Heights.

Sam Jennings, 10, started swimming in fifth grade. For high school swim he swims the 200 and 500 freestyle. He also swims the 400 and 200 freestyle relays. Jennings enjoys the team-building aspects of swimming. “We do a team cheer at the beginning and usually a cheer in the middle of the meet after diving. It gets us pumped up,” he said.

Not only does the swim team have a close team, but they also have great success in the pool, winning 8 sectional titles in a row. They also have great success in the classroom. The overall GPA for the boys’ team last year was 3.5. The overall team goals are to win sectionals and score as high as possible.

 

Wrestlers start season strong

by Alexis Sisson/Staff Writer

Photo by Taylor Gibson- Hunter Gulden, 11, takes on his opponent.

The boy’s wrestling team here at GC is off to a great start and feeling positive about the rest of the season. Their season record so far is 3-1. They recently finished with a second place at the New Pal 6-Way Tournament. 

Hunter Gulden, 11, has been on the wrestling team for 5 years now. He is happy with the direction the season is taking. “The season is going very well and we are running through other teams. I’m doing the best I’ve ever done so far,” he said.

Micah Ballenger, 12, has been on the wrestling team for 4 years. He said he likes that the wrestling team works really hard. He also said that a hard-working team not only makes you a better wrestler but makes you a better person. “The biggest obstacle I have faced so far and am still facing is the ankle fracture I had a couple months ago. It has affected my season but i am hoping to get back to wrestling soon to help the team during sectionals.”

Gulden also spoke about the team being close and helping each other. “I like how we’re all family. There’s not a stronger bond than we have.”

Coach Josh Holden thinks that the season is good so far. He said the boys are working very hard and getting better. “I’m always proud of my boys unless they don’t give effort.  I can take losing.  I can’t tolerate giving less than your best effort.  One of the things I love the most about wrestling is that you don’t have to be big or fast or a great athlete.  If you work your tail off and are coachable you usually do pretty well, and that’s something to be proud of.”  Some team goals are to get better every day, be great teammates and win conference and sectionals.

Some of Gulden’s future goals are to make state and hopefully win. “Our team goals are to send at least 6 to state and win our first sectional title under Coach Holden,” Gulden said.

Ballenger’s objectives were along the same lines.  “The only goal I am shooting for the future is to be a state champion,” Ballenger said.

With all the hard-working boys and coaches the boys’ wrestling team is off to a good start. On Nov. 30 they won 59-16 against Franklin Central. Since that event the boys have worked even harder to be better and to win their next event.

 

Girls basketball season underway

by Alexis Sisson/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Jessica Farrell, 12, brings the ball down for a layup. 

The girls’ basketball team is five games into their new season and feeling positive about how things are progressing.

Jessica Farrell, 12, sees the season going well. “We got a new coach this year, but we are all adjusting well to his coaching style,” she said.

Hannah Farrell, 10, said she was also happy with the way practice is going. “I feel like we are getting better and we have a lot of fun while doing it. I think we are going to surprise people.”

Jessica said she likes how positive the new coach, Joshua Means, is.  Hannah said Coach Means brings energy to the court.

Hannah said some goals the team has are to slow down the pace of the game and to have minimum turnovers. Jessica said another team goal is winning their conference. “As a team we are definitely getting better and we are creating a great team dynamic,” Jessica said.

One of Jessica’s goals is to get better after an injury last season. She said,  “My goal for this year is to remain healthy all season, to get better each day and always give (my) personal best effort.  I am looking forward to being out on the floor and playing this year after being forced to sit out all last season from an injury.”

For team-building outside of practice, they plan to have dinner before every conference games, and decorate their lockers. “Inside of practice we try to really be positive and give high-fives. We always break on center court after practice and end with giving everyone high-fives,” Jessica said.

Both Jessica and Hannah think HSE will be among the hardest competitors. Hannah said, “They are very skilled overall and have a great program.”

Jared Manning, athletic director, said that Coach Means brings both playing and coaching experiences to the team. Manning looks forward to seeing the positive growth of the team and the entire program under Means’ leadership.