Recent Posts

News Archive
PackBackers Varsity Winter Sports 2017 Recap
Categories: General, Athletics
Posted: 3/9/2018

Varsity Swim and Dive
This year’s team placed higher at the state meet than any other swim/dive team in the history of Whitefield! They did so with only one diver, Avery Fassnacht (9th), one female swimmer, Emilie Grand’Pierre (11th), and one male swimmer, Brooks Merkle (12th) qualifying for the state meet.

The girls placed 16th out of 31 in the A-3A meet. Avery came in second place, and Emilie placed seventh in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 breast with a time of 1:08.94, breaking her sister Naomy’s school record!  

On the boys’ side, the team placed 19th. Brooks came in fourth-place in the 200 IM and first-place in the 100 breast with a time of 56.55, breaking his personal record and notching another first in Whitefield swimming history. Hardly anyone took notice of this small team, but they packed a punch.

This team has seen incredible growth over the last year, going from only having one boy to being able to field two relay teams. The swimmers themselves have also improved so much that the boys broke the record for the 200 free relay (Cole Peterson (10th), Jack Overstreet (10th), Devin Wade (10th) and Brooks Merkle), and the relay group of Brooks, Devin, Cole, and Jordan Johnson (11th) set the record for the 400 free relay!

For the first time in several years, we had a diver, Avery, who not only filled the void, but did it well by setting new records in the 6 and 11 dive categories. 

There is some great talent moving up from the Middle School that will provide both energy and depth to the program. They will have to work hard in the off season to compete with the precedent that has been set.

  • Katie Cella – Two-year swimmer. Katie had not thought about swimming again this year but stepped in to enable the team to have enough for a relay. However, she didn’t just step in the gap – she came in and gave it her best and worked hard. She dropped over two seconds in her 100 breast along the way. 
  • Brooks Merkle – Four-year swimmer. Brooks contributed enormously to the team, setting new records in every event he swam. Brooks is a year-round swimmer who works extremely hard both in the pool and in the classroom. He will continue his swimming career at Auburn University next fall.

JV Boys Basketball

JV boys basketball had its challenges this season with low numbers of players and only being able to play varsity players for five quarters per day, but it was by having to persevere through these challenges that this team matured. Coach James saw vast improvement in Chandler Huffman (9th), Spencer Wingate (9th), Myles Redding (9th) and Eric Little (9th). 

“The progress on the team as they committed to learning and applying Whitefield’s principles of basketball was incredible,” Coach James said. 

It takes a lot of self-discipline to apply the rules no matter who the opponent is – a team smaller and easier or bigger and better - but they learned. There was also a huge improvement through conditioning in their ability to maintain the intensity of the game for longer periods of time, which was needed with the little to no availability of subs. What was refreshing to see was the players’ commitment to work hard no matter if they were going to get to play varsity or not. 

Coach James is very proud of what they accomplished this season and the boys coming out and doing everything they could with what God has given them. The season was 8-4 this year and with this base in place, if the boys will continue to condition in the off season, Coach James sees even more success to come.

Varsity Basketball
As stated in the JV recap, this year's team was very young and inexperienced; therefore, the biggest challenge was overcoming their youth, injuries, and just growing up throughout the season. However, as the season progressed, Coach Brooks saw improvement in many areas, specifically in confidence and managing expectations to win.

For the first time in many years, the varsity team had no seniors, so everyone will be returning. With valuable game experience and the leading scorers and rebounders only being sophomores, the next season is set up for more success.

“We will be a year older, stronger, and hungrier for next season,” said Coach Brooks.

Varsity Girls Basketball

Coach Crosby could not be more proud of this group of young ladies who came in with little to no knowledge of the game but, because of their ability to be coached, grew tremendously. Even though they had few players on their roster and suffered numerous injuries, they came out each and every day ready to work hard and play hard with pride and grace.

“I never had to coach effort or heart, which is uncommon,” said Coach Crosby. “These ladies are the embodiment of student-athletes and are such godly young women. They are a joy to be around.”

Thank you, girls, for showing others what it is to honor Him! Congratulations on your season!

JV Wrestling
The major highlight of wrestling was getting the Upper School team back up and running with a healthy number and having a large number of eighth-graders participate in various JV matches.

The future of Whitefield wrestling looks healthy and sustainable. Joel McKinney (9th) and Ryan Washington (9th) are extremely tough competitors. They won many close matches not because they were necessarily more talented than the other wrestler, but because their grit and determination kept them in the match and gave them an opportunity to win.

The team had a few new wrestlers who were welcome additions to the team - Judge Swann (10th) and Zion O'Neal (9th). Jake Petersen (9th) continues to be a strong wrestler. He, along with Joel and Ryan, have a good chance to place in regions and qualify for the state tournament in the coming years according to Coach Young.

Matt LePage (9th), Connor Ladd (9th), and Hudson Weller (9th) all had good seasons and improved growth from last year as well. Most of the wrestlers are in their second season of wrestling and are growing in their development. 

The future of Whitefield wrestling looks bright. Next year, wrestling will return to have a varsity team and hopefully retain all eight wrestlers from this season. The team should also pick up current eighth-graders Juanes Henao, Grant Young, Collin Schuster, and Jake Moorer, who have wrestled and placed in the top three in the conference tournament the last two years.