There is no shortage of Mustang spirit in the Middle School this fall with 9 teams actively competing in the Metro 10 Division. MS Golf, MS Cross Country, MS Softball, 5/6 and 7/8 Football, 5/6 and 7/8 Cheer, and 5/6 and 7/8 Volleyball teams are deep with talent and drive.
This is the first year Middle School Golf has played in the Fall. Upper School Science teacher and Head Coach Josh Amerson says, “It’s been great seeing our players heat up just as the temperature outside is cooling down. Just yesterday, Tyler Covell, Class of 2028 made his first birdie of the year on #5 at River Pines Golf Course! Our team has a lot of young talent, Jacob Hunter, Class of 2030, and Caroline Brandenburg and Molly Parker, Class of 2029 have turned in some of the best scores so far. They’re being led and mentored by many of our Grade 8 students such as Jordan Wade, Caroline Parker, Will McInerney, and Luke Schaumburg, all Varsity Golf hopefuls for the seasons ahead. The most important thing, though, is that we’re growing in our love of the game. So even if there aren’t as many birdies as everyone would like, they’re plenty of smiles as we learn, develop, and play.”
Floating Upper School faculty and Assistant Coach Cole Asher is proud of the work his team has done this season, “Coaching Cross Country is interesting because it is such a self-driven sport. But, we try to incorporate as much of a team aspect as we can. It seems to be paying off because a couple of our newest runners are doing fantastic this year. Isabel Varano, Class of 2030, and Allie Parker, Class of 2027 have placed in the top 10 at both meets this season.”
Associate Admissions Director and Head 5/6 Football Coach Eric Cheek thinks athletics for students in Grades 5 and 6 are essential to development, “As Lower Schoolers, this is a great opportunity for Grade 5 students to dip their toe into what it feels like to be in Middle School. It’s also a great leadership opportunity for Grade 6 students.” Since most schools do not offer 5/6 sports, Mount Vernon is providing an early look into what it means to be on a team. Team sports can teach more than just how to play the game. Sure, I focus on coaching football basics and skills they can build off of if they choose to continue, but I mostly focus on what we, as people, can control: attitude, effort, and how we treat others.”
5/6 Cheer is made up of 17 skilled Grade 6 students coached by Shay Jones, Director of Lower Campus Arts. With Coach Jones’ guidance, many of these first-time cheerleaders have grown into their roles. This year, the team is focusing on perfecting their halftime routine. Coach Jones is impressed with every one of the girls. But, “Austyn Mackintosh and MaKenna Smith have shown so much improvement this season. They are leaders on the team and are always encouraging when we can’t get a cheer just right. Emma Bartlett and Louise Copeland have also been thoughtful, encouraging, and inspiring captains and leaders this season.”
Emma McKenzie, Grade 8 Blue Volleyball team member, is a perfect example of a student-athlete who has committed to showing a good attitude, effort, and kindness. For example, even though Emma is a rock star on the court, when she is on the sidelines she can be heard cheering and shouting words of encouragement. Just last week, Emma served 12 consecutive points during the Kings Ridge game. Those points led to a win for the team which contributed to their 10th win this regionally undefeated season. “They’re a hardworking, energetic, and incredible group of girls who I feel so lucky to coach. We have a lot of fun and work really hard.” Upper School Teacher, Innovation Diploma and Head Coach Emily Wilcox says, “I couldn’t be more proud of my Mustangs!”
Behind the scenes of all athletics is Middle School Sports Photographer Noah Erwin, Class of 2027. Noah is the eye behind the lens of some amazing photos this Fall. We want to recognize him for his hours, dedication, and commitment to his craft. You can see Noah on the field and the court capturing photos of athletes showing dedication, courage, and passion for their sport. Noah’s photos will be showcased on the Middle School athletics Instagram account, coming soon.