Avid sports fans may be feeling a void in their life right now. The period between the end of football with the Superbowl in early February, and the start of March Madness in late March can be rough. This void is felt on Goucher’s campus, too. Swim competed in their conference championships February 17-19, and indoor track did the same a week later. There are some exceptions – mid-distance runner Tanise Thornton-Fillyaw qualified for the National Indoor Track Championships, being held in Birmingham, AL on March 17-18. But as a whole, March sees the end of the winter sports season.
However, For those on campus missing sports already, fear not: the spring season is here, therefore beginning spring sports’ seasons. Following winter break, there was an uptick in activity out on Gopher Stadium’s field as the lacrosse teams started getting ready for the season. Tennis and golf have also come into session, and the equestrian team continues their year-round competitions. Competitions kick off this week, with tennis hosting home games on Tuesday and Friday. For the other sports, the first competition of the 2023 season will be held over spring break.
This season is a fresh start for several teams, even more than usual. Men’s lacrosse announced the return of esteemed coach Kyle Hannon last summer, and Katie Russo was announced as the new head coach for the women’s lacrosse team in October. More recently, E.A. Jackson was named head coach of the field hockey team on December 22, after the team saw a difficult fall season laced with tough losses. A change in leadership staff for these teams has a lot of potential; all three teams have struggled in past years with issues such as recruitment, and have had subpar results in the field. With the recent success of the men’s soccer team and their historic playoff run in the fall, and the women’s track breaking multiple school records broken this winter, these changes give hope that the spring will bring stellar accomplishments of its own.
For those wondering what to expect from their favorite Gopher athletes this season, we’ve got a breakdown right here.
There’s big buzz in the Decker Sports and Recreation Center about the return of legendary head lacrosse coach Kyle Hannon. Hannon was previously the men’s lacrosse coach at Goucher for twelve seasons, from 2001-2012. His reign saw incredible success. Hannon was part of the Landmark coaching staff of the year in 2010, and is widely regarded as the best lacrosse coach Goucher has ever had. Fans should also keep an eye out for goalie Justin Lugo. Lugo is a fifth year senior, having lost a year to Covid and gaining an extra year of NCAA eligibility. He’s started all 35 games he has appeared in, and recently crossed the 500-save career mark. He was named Landmark Conference Defensive Athlete of the Week on February 21, an exciting harbinger to start the season.
The women’s lacrosse team has new faces of its own. After some tension on the team last year, the team brought in a new head coach, with hopes of better results this season. Katie Russo is in her first season here at Goucher, and her fifth season coaching overall, after helping start a women’s lacrosse team at Eastern Mennonite. Along with her are seven freshmen, making up nearly half of the team’s roster. This young team has faced its share of growing pains starting the season with six losses and one win. As the season develops, spectators will see whether the team is able to gel and shake off these early losses.
The track team is looking for a continuation of the success seen in their recent indoor season, as they move into outdoor competition. The women’s team saw particular success, with several athletes stepping into big roles. Freshman Tanise Thornton-Fillyaw, senior Tahira Bakare, and junior Dorian Cheney broke school records during the indoor season, and are hoping to improve further during outdoor track. The women’s team also placed higher during the indoor conference championships this year than they have in recent years, a positive sign for the new season. The men’s team faces the issue of low numbers, making it difficult to score points. However, several newcomers to the team are poised to make high end debuts this spring. Keep an eye on first-year Zyad Yousof and junior Trey Symonanis as the season develops.
The equestrian team sees perennial success again and again, and this year is no different. At their showing on March 04, the team took high point team honors for the seventh straight IHSA regular season show. They also wrapped up their 11th straight IHSA regional title and 15th overall. As the equestrian team goes to upcoming shows, focus on senior Cole Jackson. In the March 04 competition, he earned first place in Open Flat and Open Fences, and was High Point Rider for the meet. On April 01, he will represent Region 1 in the Cacchione Cup competition at the Zone Championship hosted by Goucher.
The tennis teams have seen mixed results in the early matches of the season. While both the men and women have seen success on an individual level, with several players winning singles and doubles matches, the teams have been edged into losses on a team level. As the season starts to heat up, we recommend keeping an eye on freshman Natalia Navarro, who was named Landmark Conference Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week on March 07. The women’s team have only played one match this spring, but Navarro had promising showings in the fall. Highlights include her winning a match to break a tie and propel the Goucher women’s team to victory in September.
Both the men’s and women’s golf teams opened their season last week at the Spring Break Challenge, held at the Longleaf Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina. In the fall portion of their season, the men’s team saw relative success, placing as high as third in several events.
Notable performances came from first-year Iselin Schenk, who recorded four top-10 finishes in five events in the fall.