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New year, new season: fall sports teams kick of season, set goals, build bonds

Captain Deneil Betfarhard ’24 prepares for their game on Oct. 14. at Hopkins. Contributed by Deneil Betfarhad ‘24

The month of September is an important transition period of the year. It ushers in the return to school life in addition to the autumn season.The air grows crisper and the warm, golden sun fades away into the dark haze of night earlier. Along with these changes, staff and students alike can also look forward to the return of another exciting staple of this season: fall sports.

Staples’ fall sports teams have experienced successes and challenges so far this year. Regardless, many teams have clear goals and aspirations that will accompany them as they embark on the new season. While growth and improvement in skill is a key focus, many are also making sure to put in an effort to connect and bond through the ups and downs of the season.

The boys’ water polo team has kicked off their season with a team filled with a strong lineup of both returning and new players. Deneil Betfarhad ’24, one of the captains, pointed to the team’s bond as one of their major strengths.

“Our team chemistry is pretty strong,” he said. “Nothing’s going to break that.” 

As the season progresses, the team has aimed to continue to grow and experience success. 

“A big goal is to just work better as a team,” Betfarhad said. “Last year we relied on individuals and this year we’re trying to work as a team to score and also just have a winning season and publicize the sport to get some fans.”

While early on in their season, the girls’ volleyball team lost a game to Fairfield Warde, they were able to quickly bounce back with a win against Weston.

“It was a great game, we played really well, it’s great competition,” captain Siobhan Jebb ’24 said. “So, we’ve had challenges but we’ve also overcome them.”

Stepping into her role as captain, Jebb has made an effort to make sure the team has many opportunities to further develop their connections with each other. 

“We are organizing pasta dinners and team activities to get some bonding, coming together and just the girls getting to know each other better,” she said, “so we can gel better on the court.“

Despite coming off a tough season and facing weather related challenges, Captain Santiago Alfageme ’24 is adamant that the boys’ soccer team is on the brink of a great season. 

“The weather hasn’t been great, [and] last season was hard on everybody. So we learned a lot from that,” he said. “We’ve all been getting ready together, and I think we should have a good team right now [that] knows our goal.”

As co-captain of the soccer team, he’s determined to take the team to FCIACS and even states. He believes this will be achieved through communication and hard work.

“It’s important to bring energy and intensity to every practice,” he said, “and make sure that everybody’s working hard.”

Although the season is still early, the girls’ swim and dive team is hard at work training, with specific goals at mind.

“[Our] goal for this year is […] being the best version of [our]selves,” Captain Libby Turner ’24 said. “Swim as fast as we can, as smart as we can and dive as well as we can. And have fun doing it.”

[Our] goal for this year is […] being the best version of [our]selves. Swim as fast as we can, as smart as we can and dive as well as we can. And have fun doing it.

— Captain Libby Turner ’24

The swim and dive team is determined to be the best version of themselves.

“We always have challenges,” they said. “The most important thing is that we’re working hard, and we’re trying to perform our best every day.”

Turner highlighted the swim and dive community as a key advantage of the team.

“At swim meets we’re all up on our feet cheering for each other,” they said, “and I think that cultivates a great environment.”

Boys’ cross country is starting out their season motivated and determined. As he leads the team into its fall season, captain Michael Bernier ’24 stressed how important providing motivation is.

“I think, especially in running, motivation is really important,” he said. “So whenever you can help try to motivate your team to do better, whether that’s in practice by getting them to push themselves a little more, or during races by yelling at them to go faster to push or keep going, it’s really important.”

This season the team has prioritized improvement and overcoming any obstacles that may come about. 

“We just want to keep continually getting better. Even when we have injuries or challenges, we continue to try to push past it,” Bernier said. “We try to get better, so we’re never trying to stagnate and plateau, we’re trying to always get just that little better, get a little faster, get a little stronger so we can hopefully do better in FCIACs and state championships and meets.

Girls’ cross country captain Elizabeth Murray ’24 is both excited for the season and feeling great about her team.

“The team community has just been so much stronger than ever before,” she said. “And just from the moment pre-season started, I knew this was a great group of girls and going to be a great season, just by seeing their faces and like, they do want to be a part of this team and they’re motivated.“

The team is not only hoping for success in important competitions, but also success in everyday activities involving the sport. 

“We definitely want to make it to state champs, and really just for everybody to take part in the program every day,” Murray said. “No matter where we make it when competing, it matters that we keep building on our team community. Because practice is so important. I think practice is the most important part and when people finally realize how important this community is.”

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Lily Hultgren ’25
Lily Hultgren ’25, Paper Features Editor
For Paper Features Editor Lily Hultgren ’25, joining Inklings was an opportunity to improve her interpersonal skills and do something she loves in the meantime.  ““I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and interview people I don’t know, which is something I get nervous about,” Hultgren said.  As a junior, a veteran now, in Inklings, she thinks that the organization has helped her push beyond these fears. She has definitely seen her own improvement.  “Having to constantly talk to new people for articles and for broadcasts has really helped me learn more about myself and other people.”
Ayaan Olasewere '25
Ayaan Olasewere '25, Web Features Editor
Web Features Editor Ayaan Olasewere ’25 knows how to commit to a passion, whether it be journalism or sports.  “I swim competitively” Olasewere said, doing “mostly sprint events like 50 free or 100 free,” and she first learned to swim at only 18 months old. Perhaps journalism might be a passion she commits to as well, as she wishes to bring to light “a lot of the interesting things and events and issues happening in our community,” she said.   She also feels that many are “not as known or not as public, so I wanted to bring that to attention.”

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