St. Paul’s School is trying to answer that question with the success of their winter sports teams, showing the cold never bothered them anyway. The Powerlifting, Basketball, Wrestling and Soccer teams are all wrapping up phenomenal seasons.
“I’m extremely impressed with the quality, from junior high through varsity, of our winter sports,” Athletic Director Craig Ketelsen said. “I think all sports at all levels are competing as some of the top teams in the state, and obviously tops in the district. We’re very excited about finishing the season strong, (as well as) the future.”
Let’s break down the teams individually.
Powerlifting: Raising the Bar
The Powerlifting team, led by Head Coach Jesse Kellum and Assistant Coaches Joe Dickens, Ty Timphony ’11, and Lee Pierre, has been a talented team this season. Ranked in the top three in Louisiana, the Powerlifting Wolves are currently preparing for their regional meet on Feb. 28. The top three in regionals will proceed to the State Championship meet on Mar. 21, where Dickens expects to finish strong.
“The teams that are really going to be competing for the State Championship (include) Covington, who won it last year. They’re stacked again. We’ll be right there,” Dickens said. “Alexandria has a really good team this year as well, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some version of that goes one, two, three (in the final meet).”
Dickens credits the team’s balance as its key to success.
“We have a couple of returning state champs from last year, and we have a nice mix of younger kids and seniors,” Dickens said. “We’re a hard-working group that no one knows much about, and it’s been a very successful program. Over the last four years, we’ve been state champs twice and runner-ups twice. We expect to make a run at it again this year.”
Wrestling: Submitting a Championship Season
The wrestling team is putting together another impressive season this year, ranking fifth in Louisiana and coming off of solid performances in the St. Paul’s Invitational as well as a 67-team tournament in Lafayette. The team finished second in its home tournament, which featured 15 teams, including the top five teams in the state. The team then finished third in Lafayette. Led by Ketelsen, the team is preparing for the State Championship meet on Feb. 21. He described the team as “enthusiastic, dedicated, and talented.”
Ketelsen cites the team spirit, in particular, as a key component of the squad.
“They’re almost more excited to see their teammates succeed than they are to succeed themselves,” Ketelsen said.
He describes new coach Matt Pinero as a “great addition who is especially good with the lightweights.”
Basketball: Bouncing Into First Place
While the Basketball Wolves suffered a loss at Northshore on Tuesday, the team is still tied for first place in district, with only two losses in district play. The team, led by Phil Williams, is currently 19-8 overall.
“The team is very cohesive,” senior player Stephen Hammond said. “We all accepted the goals we set out to achieve and are working to do just that.”
Recent losses have not deterred the team.
“We’ve fallen behind a bit, but we’re working hard in practice to get back on track and develop our focus,” Hammond says.
Soccer: Netting a National Powerhouse
The Soccer Wolves, led by fearsome history teacher and Head Coach Sean Moser, are having a phenomenal season, sporting a top-two team in the country. Ranked first in the state, they face Baton Rouge today in playoff contention.
Senior Forward Davis Neitzchmann praises the team’s unselfishness.
“We try to get the ball to a lot of different people,” Neitzschmann said. “It’s something we almost do too much to try to get the better shot.”
For an in-depth interview with Neitzschmann, watch this past week’s episode of “Walkin’ With Fitz” in the Guerrilla Wolf News broadcast below.