By Paige Jaenicke, Staff Writer
After what was quite possibly been the longest “off-season” for spring athletes, the Monarchs of Trinity Hall lacrosse, spring track and field, golf, sailing, crew and softball came back stronger than the setback of COVID-19.
This long-awaited season posed challenges on an unprecedented scale. Barely one week into the season of 2020, the pandemic set into motion a global shutdown that would place spring sports on a temporary hold and ultimately end the season entirely. Even the spring 2021 season began later than usual due to the shifting of some fall sports to a late winter season, but on the first of April, the varsity spring athletes at Trinity Hall were prepared to replace their forgotten season with a season to remember.
“I think that the mindset of being so grateful to play-during practice and in games-has framed the Trinity Hall community’s appreciation for playing in general,” Athletic Director Alison Levine Pugsley said. “Last year’s virtual workshops helped and motivated this season’s teams to accept this attitude of gratefulness to be at this point. They have learned how to walk into competition with a sense of humility and confidence that has given them a special meaning for an excellent and highly successful spring season.”
With an undefeated season (12-0) in the A Central Division, including victories against Wall, Saint John Vianney and Rumson-Fair Haven, the golf team made Monarch history. In addition to being division champions, in April, the golfers achieved the team titles of Shore Conference and Monmouth County Champions, and during the Tournament of Champions in May, Trinity Hall placed sixth with a combined score of 393.
“I knew we were going to do good things because I knew the caliber of golfers we had,” head coach Cindy Sobieski said. “During the virtual preseason, we talked about the mental side of golf. We set expectations for ourselves as a team and how we wanted to treat each other. Playing on the boys golf team myself, I knew exactly what I had in mind for this team to look like based on my own personal lack of relationships. We work as a family.”
In addition to their historic victory against Rumson-Fair Haven to end a nine-year win streak against any Shore Conference opponent, the Monarch lacrosse team dominated the field for the 2021 season. They went undefeated during regular season play, going 6-0 in the A Central Division of the Shore Conference with a final record of 19-2. They advanced to the finals of the conference tournament for the first time in school history and brought home the NJISAA Prep B State Championships and the NJSIAA Non-Public B State Championship, defeating Morristown-Beard in both finals. Because of their accomplishments, the Monarchs earned the No. 5 seed for the prestigious Tournament of Champions, where they faced their local rivals RFH for the third time in the season. Although the Monarchs came up short in that game, losing 17-10 on June 15, they are proud of their successes this season, which were especially important after missing out on the chance to fulfill the high expectations of the 2020 season.
“Last year, it was disappointing for us to hear that our lacrosse season would be cancelled,” said junior captain Haven Dora, the team’s leading goal-scorer and key midfielder. “We were a strong team with a lot of potential, and we would have competed with the best teams in the shore and even in the state. We used this as fuel this year. We came into the season playing for the seniors who missed their season last year, and we wanted to make a name for ourselves…Given the success we have had this year, people have finally given us the respect we deserve.”
Track & Field
The spring track and field team performed exceptionally as well this season, with dozens of individual and team records broken. Junior Madeline Barber broke the school record for the 3200 meter race en route to becoming the Shore Conference Champion. At the Monmouth County Relays, the 4×400 meter team of junior Camryn Keane, senior Cecilia Peters, junior Grace Child and senior Ally Lawson placed third with a total time of 4:15.49. The team even welcomed an entirely new field event this year-pole vaulting-with the coaching expertise of athletic trainer Miranda DeRobertis.
The Monarchs finished the season strong, placing second overall at the NJSIAA Non-Public B Championship meet at Neptune High School on June 11-12. Senior Charlotte Walsh claimed the title of state champion in the 100m hurdles and the long jump, and the 4x800m relay team of Child and seniors Isabel Garcia, Lawson and Peters also earned the championship title. Other top five finishes included junior Madeline Barber (second in 3200m, fourth in 1600m), Child (third in 800m), Keane (fourth place in 400m), the 4x400m relay team of sophomore Sophia Almeida, Child, Lawson and Peters (second place), and the 4x100m relay team of Almeida, senior Jordan Codispoti, Garcia and Walsh (third place). All three relays teams, Walsh and Barber advanced to represent Trinity Hall at the Meet of Champions in Somerset on June 19.
“The team was able to grow mentally throughout the past few months, as the absence of the last spring track season set back a lot of team and individual goals and times,” said senior captain Lawson. “The grit and dedication of each and every athlete during this track season is admirable, and I am so proud of how successful we have all been. Between the many wickedly hot days on the track to attempting new events like the pole vault, the team has grown closer and has consistently practiced Trinity Hall’s core values both on and off the track. I’m so glad to have been one of the captains, along with Jordan, Anna and Charlotte, during this amazing season, and I am so excited to see what the future has in store for our team.”
The varsity softball team finished 6-4 in the B-Central Division with an overall record of 8-8, which earned them a bid made to the South Jersey Non-Public B NJSIAA Tournament. The team welcomed several new incoming freshmen and sophomores in addition to some key returning players as well. Senior captain Madison Kelly, who will attend DeSales University next fall where she will play softball at the collegiate level, was nominated by the Asbury Park Press as a top player in the Shore Conference and was also recognized by the NJSIAA as Trinity Hall’s recipient for the National Girls and Women in Sports Day Award.
Sailing & Crew
The sailing team placed 12th in the league championship, eighth in the district championship, and 10th in the state championship. Overall, the Monarch sailors cruised through a total of 11 regattas in the highly competitive MASSA district.
Although unable to compete in any regattas this spring, between the land and water practices, the crew team built up strength and endurance to steer through a successful 2021 spring season in preparation for a strong showing next year.