CA Athletics tradition and community run deep

A multitude of Colorado Academy alumni, too many to highlight them all in this piece, have been involved in some way with the CA Athletic Department over the past few months and will surely have an impact on CA teams in the fall competitive season. I credit their continued link with CA to strong CA leaders like Field Hockey Coach Veronica Scott, Soccer Coach Gabe Bernstein, and Strength & Conditioning Coach Wes Kirk. All of these coaches have stayed in touch with their proteges and offered opportunities to stay connected to their alma mater, fine-tune their game, and become part of the CA coaching staff.

CA Lacrosse player Conner Brook ’19, who is having a strong career at Colgate University, was a regular on Slater Field this summer, along with recent graduate Jack Gerber ’22, who will also attend Colgate in the fall. Brooke was a leader during his time at CA and has forged a path for the likes of Gerber and fellow CA graduate Spencer Harvey ’21. Brook credits CA’s facilities and using them to practice his skills and drill with fellow Lacrosse players with his ability to thrive at the Division I level. “It’s great to have a home,” says Brook, “and I always feel welcome. I love training at CA.”

Maddie Goral ’12 is back on campus this fall assisting CA’s new Head of Volleyball, Alysa Heath, as an assistant JV Volleyball Coach. Goral was a star at CA and helped lead the Mustangs to the State Championship game her Senior year before matriculating at the University of Puget Sound, where she played and studied. Goral is eager to help the Mustangs return to the upper echelon of Colorado Volleyball and states, “I am so excited to return to CA to be part of the Volleyball program once again! We have an amazing group of athletes, and I’m thrilled to help them learn, improve, and WIN this season.”

Jonathan Rockford ’16 is slated to assist the Ultimate Frisbee program this fall. Jonathan was impactful during his time at CA and was always a positive presence on campus and on the Ultimate field. It will be great to have Jonathan back supporting the next batch of players and Coach Augustin.

Jillian Christensen ’15, who helped CA Field Hockey win three State Championships and has been with Coach Veronica Scott’s Field Hockey program for the past three years as an off-campus assistant, is now on campus full time as a Pre-K teacher and as a Field Hockey coach. Lower School Principal Angie Crabtree talks about Jillian and her teaching/coaching focus: “Jillian loves being an educator/coach. She is thoughtful about creating an environment that supports each child’s/athlete’s learning style.” This mindset plays well at the JV level, where Jillian coaches players with varied skill sets and backgrounds. Jillian played at Rhodes College and was a standout there, too. Jillian’s personality exudes positivity, and her coaching acumen is top notch. She will be counted on to prepare her JV charges for the rigors of Varsity competition.

Karlee Osman ’21, who played Volleyball, Basketball, and Lacrosse during her time at CA before going to the University of Arizona, was a regular with Wes Kirk in the Sports Performance facility this summer. Kirk organized current CA students and CA alumni through TeamBuilder, an app that allows athletes to work out at CA or remotely, using a variety of modalities, all while being tracked through TeamBuilder. Kirk says, “The work that the athletes put in over the summer is a game changer. It makes all those involved fitter, faster, more explosive, and less prone to injury.” The workouts that Kirk models are similar to those at the collegiate level and prepare CA athletes for the type of drills they will encounter at the next level.

Grace Fuselier ’20, who was a Field Hockey starter as a freshman last year for the Swarthmore College Garnet after starring for the Mustangs, was also a regular with Coach Kirk in the CA Sports Performance space. Fuselier, now a sophomore, is challenged by the rigors of a top academic school and a Swarthmore Field Hockey program that went to the NCAAs last year, but credits CA for a rock-solid foundation both inside and out of the classroom. “The experiences I had at CA were impactful for me,” she says, “and I’m happy I can return to CA and continue to work with our coaches in our facilities.”

Soccer player Luke Wharton ’21, who matriculated at Carleton College last fall, was a constant presence on campus this summer as he rehabilitated from an injury sustained last season at Carleton. Coach Bernstein comments, “Luke was able to train on Firman, where he worked on his technical skills and fitness in preparation for this fall.” Luke utilized Firman Field—one of the better grass Soccer fields in the state, thanks to Head of Grounds Bryan Ekdahl—along with CA Soccer alums Liam Hall 20, Jared Goldstein 21, and Nick Maffei ’21 to stay fit, reconnect with each other, and train with current CA players.

I’m thankful for all of our dynamic teachers and coaches at CA. They create a space where kids feel comfortable to take chances, fail, try again, succeed, and grow. CA athletes and graduates feel welcome and at home on the CA campus. It’s part of what makes CA special; it helps make CA a community. We are fortunate to have facilities that can support high-level training and competition. I’m happiest when kids are playing and our fields are full because I know the work our athletes are putting in under the supervision of some of the best coaches around leaves a lasting, indelible mark. Check the CA Athletics Calendar for upcoming games. I look forward to seeing you in the stands. Keep an eye out for Homecoming schedules for games slated between September 22 and 24.