Ben Pickman, ’15
In Remember the Titans, Denzel Washington portrays Herman Boone, the coach of a high school football team in Virginia. During the movie, Boone utters the following to his team: “According to Greek mythology, the Titans were greater even than the gods. They ruled their universe with absolute power! Well, that football field out there tonight, that’s our universe. Let’s rule it like Titans!”
Now, though BHSEC does not have a football team, this quote captivates the attitude of many of BHSEC’s student-athletes, who combine sports competitiveness and academics — and as in the case above, knowledge of Greek mythology.
This fall BHSEC sports teams were very successful, whether competing on the pitch or in the gym. In the toughest division in Manhattan, the BHSEC boys’ soccer team finished third overall, showing great strides from the previous two seasons. Led by Y2s Gus Saltonstall and Eli Shirk, two of the better soccer players in the entire city, the Raptors finished in the Manhattan A division with a 7-4-1 record. The Manhattan A division is also home to the city champion Martin Luther King Jr. and runner-up Beacon High School. The BHSEC Raptors also advanced to the second round of playoffs after failing to make the postseason last year.
Eli Shirk, NYC Mayor’s Cup participant, finished the season with 10 goals and 11 assists. His 10 goals were good enough for fourth in the entire Manhattan A division, and his 11 assists were good enough for second in the division. Thanks to consistent play from seniors Sam Gilbert, Jonathan Correa, and Gus Saltonstall, as well as a productive junior season from Peter Freitag, the Raptors proved themselves to be about more than just academics.
Co-captain Gus Saltonstall said, “Our success this season came from our ability to come together as a unit and play for a collective goal. We had a lot of younger players step into bigger roles and contribute in meaningful ways.” Look for the Raptors led by current Y1 midfielder Peter Freitag to build on their successful 2013 campaign and be even better next season.
In an equally difficult division, the girls’ soccer team was incredibly successful as well. Led by Y2 Safiyah Riddle and Y1 Katie Safter, the Lady Raptors finished their season with an 11-5 record, which was good enough for third in their division. After an up-and-down start to their season, the Lady Raptors closed with six consecutives wins en route to the playoffs. Katie Safter, one of the key offensive cogs in the Lady Raptors machine, finished fifth in their division with 14 goals, but tallied an equally important 14 assists, which led the Manhattan/Bronx AI division. After a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Susan Wagner in the first round of the playoffs, the Lady Raptors stayed positive, recognizing just how far they had come. “The team has continued to grow over the years and we have continued to get better. I feel this season was very successful. The team chemistry on and off the field was great,” Safter said. The Lady Raptors are losing nine seniors as they go on to college next fall; some will continue to play soccer after BHSEC. Congratulations to Safiyah Riddle for going on to Haverford to play soccer there next fall.
BHSEC’s girls’ volleyball team also performed well this fall, finishing the season with a 7-5 record. The girls made the playoffs for the team’s fourth consecutive year. It is especially impressive that a team that lacks a home gym is able to perform to such a high degree. The Lady Raptors are only losing two of their fifteen players come next season, so look for the volleyball team to build on its successes this year and become even better next year.
As fall has turned to winter, both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are looking good so far. The girls’ team has jumped out to a 4-0 record and look to continue their success throughout the entire year. The Boys’ team has been plagued by injuries early, missing their best two players for more time then they would have liked. Shooting guard Jonathan Correa injured his ankle in the first game of the season, but looks to be alright for the rest of the winter. The Raptors’ leading scorer, Gus Saltonstall, fractured a bone in his arm and will miss the entire regular season, a setback that could plague the already undersized Raptors squad.
Also this winter, there is the debut of Bard Baseball club, which is looking for both boys and girls interested in playing the great game of baseball. The club will ideally become the schools’ next sports team, and will be meeting after school twice a week in the winter and spring.