I hope everyone is pushing through the crazy Cincinnati weather. In my first report, I introduced the theme #OneTeamOneCommunity. It is a joy to observe our students' growth as they progress from the Lower School until they receive their CCDS diplomas at graduation. Throughout their time, there are teaching moments every day, whether in the classroom, the hallways, or on the athletic fields. Lessons are present in every sport, but to me, basketball brings them into sharp relief. Studies suggest that basketball's intensity results from having only five players, the fans' proximity to the action, and contact play and speed, which make calls and coaching decisions open to question during practically every play. As I watch our youth and middle school teams compete, teaching the fundamentals—passing, high free throw percentage, rebounding, aggressive defense—is essential. Offensive play ability and execution of a half-court offense will develop as the players reach the varsity level.
As we cheer for our teams, it is important we role model respect for the officials. There is a growing shortage of officials, somewhat driven by the behavior of coaches and parents. Without officials, there are no games and student-athletes pay the price. I'm proud of our Country Day community, but I'd be remiss if I didn't remind everyone to respect the officials and the game as we cheer our student-athletes. Last week, the National Federation of State High School Associations and OHSAA asked the we distribute the following letter:
A Message to Parents of Ohio High School Athletes
Dear Mom and Dad: COOL IT
By Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and Jerry Snodgrass, Executive Director of the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
If you are the mother or father of a high school athlete in Ohio, this message is primarily for you.
When you attend an athletic event that involves your son or daughter, cheer to your heart's content, enjoy the camaraderie that high school sports offer and have fun. But when it comes to verbally criticizing game officials or coaches, cool it.
Make no mistake about it. Your passion is admired, and your support of the home team is needed. But so is your self-control. Yelling, screaming, and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child's school, and is the primary reason Ohio has an alarming shortage of high school officials.
It's true. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Sports Officials, more than 75% of all high school officials say "adult behavior" is the primary reason they quit. And 80% of all young officials hang up their stripes after just two years of whistleblowing. Why? They don't need your abuse.
Plus, there's a ripple effect. There are more officials over 60 than under 30 in many areas. And as older, experienced officials retire, there aren't enough younger ones to replace them. If there are no officials, there are no games. The shortage of licensed high school officials is severe enough in some areas that athletic events are being postponed or cancelled—especially at the freshman and junior varsity levels.
Research confirms that participation in high school sports and activities instills a sense of pride in school and community, teaches lifelong lessons like the value of teamwork and self-discipline and facilitates the physical and emotional development of those who participate. So, if the games go away because there aren't enough men and women to officiate them, the loss will be infinitely greater than just an "L" on the scoreboard. It will be putting a dent in your community's future.
If you would like to be a part of the solution to the shortage of high school officials, you can sign up to become a licensed official at HighSchoolOfficials.com. Otherwise, adult role models at high school athletic events in Ohio are always welcome.
Athletic Director Search
I want to update you on the AD search. While I have enjoyed the position for many years, I am quite happy leading the Middle School. Rob Baker, Brittany Woods, and Chuck McGivern are co-chairing the committee. Other committee members are Michelle Newman, Steve Conner, Heather Recker, Tony Waite, Nico Rumboll, and Pat Dunn. The application deadline was yesterday, and the committee reported there has been strong interest in the position. The committee will work through vetting the applicants and scheduling interviews with the goal of naming our next AD around spring break.
Celebrate Girls Soccer State Championship Team—Feb. 2
On Saturday, Feb. 2, we will recognize the team at halftime of the varsity girls basketball game versus Norwood. It will be an important game as the team looks to win an MVC championship. Tip-off is 12:00 p.m. in the north gym with team recognition at halftime. Last Sunday, the team celebrated the season. CCDS parent Joe Virzi created a fabulous highlight video. Check it out here!
Parent Wellness in Leonard Family Athletic Center
We are excited to announce new opportunities for adult members of the CCDS community: open swim in the Levinson Pool, morning work-outs in the new weight room, and fitness classes with Coach Shah. Click here for details as we continue to offer more ways to stay fit by using our state-of-the-art new facility.
mCORE (Mobile Cardiac Overview and Risk Evaluation)—we have 20 spots remaining! (flyer attached)
On March 1, CCDS athletics will partner with mCORE (Mobile Cardiac Overview and Risk Evaluation) to screen students for cardiac conditions and abnormalities that may put them at risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Students must be 12 years old at the time of registration. Check out the attachment for all the details, or simply click here and choose Cincinnati Country Day School.
Varsity Sports Updates:
Wrestling: Varsity wrestling competed at the Valley View Invitational and Sycamore Invitational during January. Freshman Bailey Edmonson and junior Keane Warner placed sixth at Valley View in the 106 lbs. weight class and 170 lbs. weight classes, respectively. Junior Noah Wise placed fourth at the Sycamore Invitational. Grapplers also traveled to Roger Bacon High School for a tri-meet with the Spartans and East Central of Indiana. Junior Noah Wise pinning both his opponents to improve his record at the time to 11-1 was a highlight of the match.
CCDS wrestling is reaching out to alumni to share how this sport influenced their lives. Any Country Day graduate is invited to complete a Wrestler for Life survey that will help build the history of wrestling at CCDS and inspire current athletes. Anecdotes from alumni are shared with current team members during "breakfast bites," a new initiative that brings middle school and upper school wrestlers together once a week during the season to talk about wrestling before school.
January was also the start of an eight-session youth wrestling clinic. Varsity wrestlers volunteer to help coaches as we teach wrestling fundamentals using a games-approach to athletes from grades 1-6. Lower school students have enthusiastically enjoyed the first two sessions.
Boys Basketball: It's a big week for the CCDS Boys Basketball team as they vie in three games (Clark, MVCA, Riverview East) toward returning to a winning track. Coach Ross's goal is to improve each day and finish strong in the remaining nine games before the sectional tournament in late February.
Girls Basketball:The womens varsity basketball team is looking to achieve its first goal (MVC Conference Champions) and bounce back from its only league loss to Clark Montessori. The team has worked hard on shooting skills and offensive plays, which paid off as they beat Seven Hills 57-23, improving their record to 9-4. Sophomores Alexa Bailey, Sabrina DelBello, and Marley Cox led the Indians with a combination of 32 points. The girls play CCS tonight and will return to action on Saturday, January 26 when they travel to Summit.
Gymnastics: The gymnastics team continued to improve on its team score on Thursday night, as they tallied 117.5 points and placed third. Miamisburg and Turpin went one and two, while Seven Hills finished fourth. Jasmine Gonzales continued to impress, scoring 32.15 on all-around and finishing in the top ten in all events. Catherine Collett scored 29.05 in all-around and was ninth on bars. Mia Masterson also scored well with a 27.7 all-around score.
Swimming: The swim team is in the heart of its season. The boys celebrated victories at both the CCDS and Norwood Invitationals, and the girls 200 free and medley relay teams seem unbeatable. At this weekend's Coaches Classic (in which CCDS competed against D1 schools), sophomore Grace Ramirez placed in the top five in her two individual events, and sophomore Sam Pettengill clocked a 22.72 in the 50 freestyle, a time which puts him in serious contention in the upcoming state tournament. We have two remaining home meets: an invitational against Seven Hills and Summit on Jan. 24 at 4:30, and the League Championship on Feb. 2 at 4:00. Come support the team!
Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Noah Allen MD '01
Sports: Basketball, Baseball, Golf, Cross Country
Colleges attended and degrees: Williams College, BA in economics and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, MD
Memory: Pitching in the state championship game in baseball and winning Surf 'N Slam basketball tournament in San Diego.
Advice: Some of the best teaching at CCDS occurs on the athletic fields. Use the skills you gain in sports in whatever field you choose, and you will succeed. Hard work always pays off in one way or another.
(The picture of Dr. Allen was from the cover of a 2001 edition of Connections.)
Varsity Spotlight: Tommy Scheer '21
Tell me a little bit about yourself: I'm currently a sophomore in the high school and part of the high school swim team. I've been at CCDS my whole academic life and wouldn't think about leaving it.
What is your favorite class and teacher or teachers at CCDS? Currently, I have a number of teachers and classes that I enjoy immensely and would have trouble picking among them. I do particularly enjoy AP Biology taught by Mr. Dunn, Honors 10th grade English taught by Mrs. Dunn, and Honors Modern Europe and World History taught by Mr. Black, as all these classes are especially good at stimulating interesting lines of thought.
How long have you participated in swimming? Any memories from your earlier years? I've been swimming for quite a while now. I first learned to swim when I was four, just after moving to Cincinnati from San Francisco. Around age eight or nine, I began swimming for my swim club's summer team, and, at age 11, I began swimming year-round. Last year, my academic and extracurricular activity load became too heavy for me to continue year-round swimming, but I still swim for the high school team. One memory from my earlier swimming years is of a practice that I had with an especially grueling main set. I was about mid-way through the set and feeling so exhausted and crushed that I missed the cycle, sitting in the water panting. My coach came over, and when I told him I wanted to move to the slower-paced group, he said, "if you think that's the right choice, Tommy, go ahead, but I think you're strong enough to make this cycle." This might not seem extraordinary, but the fact that my coach said I was strong enough, instead of fast enough, stuck with me, especially after finishing the rest of the set in the harder group. It was an epiphany he bestowed on me, that I could sometimes achieve more with grit than one might with sole talent.
Tell me about this year's team: This year, our team is very mixed. We have people in skill levels all the way from Sam and Grace, who both swim at the highest level possible for high schoolers, to complete newcomers to the sport such as Victor and James, and everywhere in between. This makes for an atmosphere of growth and improvement, everyone pushing everyone else to be better and better. It's a great group to train with!
Tell me about your most influential coach:I'm going to have to say that I've been most influenced by the coach with whom I spent the highest number of training seasons with, my coach Kevin. Over my time with him, he instilled in me a belief in the power of grit and determination, as demonstrated in the earlier quote from him.
What would your message be to younger CCDS student-athletes about playing sports in high school? If I had to give one message to upcoming high schoolers at CCDS about high school athletics, it would be to make the most of the relationships that can be formed with your teammates and coaches. It's a great pleasure and privilege to have the chance to bond with a group of peers and mentors over sports and competition. Take advantage of this opportunity.
During the winter athletic season, the Middle School FAST program allows athletes to strengthen their overall athletic abilities without committing to a schedule of afterschool competition. This year's 23 members have braved the wintry weather to run and play outdoor games, have spent hours in the weight room developing their strength and agility, and have competed in various games to improve their athletic IQ and performance level. Their daily training and skill-building will benefit them in their other athletic endeavors as they move forward as athletes in our programs. Many thanks to Coaches Corwin and Blum for designing and running the FAST program this winter.
This winter, the 14 members of the MS gymnastics team have focused on improving their routines on the balance beam, vault, uneven bars, and floor. During competitions, the girls may compete as individuals, but fully understand how their roles and effort also contribute to the team's success. Coach Conner has pushed the girls out of their comfort zones to expand their abilities in the four events. At the Seven Hills Invitational last week, seventh-grader Alison Ramage led the team with a score of 37.7 out of 40, to win the all-around title along with a second-place finish in vault and first place finishes in beam, bars, and floor. More impressively, the team came in fourth with great finishes by multiple members of the team.
Fourth grade basketball has seen tremendous growth in the program with two boys teams and one girls team. The girls worked diligently to find the numbers to field a team this year, and under Coach Gerke's watch, they have improved each week. With many of the players new to the sport, the competition has been tough, but each week they improve as a team. On Jan. 6 versus Milford, they had one of their best showings. With effective team play, they lost a nail-biter 15-16, but the improvement that lead them to this point only foreshadows greater promise for the rest of the season. Keep up the excellent work girls!
The fourth-grade boys teams are blazing a new path by forming both a recreational and athletic team this year. The Blue Team coached by Ken Raterman and Tony Peters has progressed tremendously as the players learn new roles and how to compete as a team. Before holiday break, the team defeated a Sands Montessori team 18-15 in an exciting back and forth game that demonstrated how well the players have pulled together as a team. Their efforts and hard work make them a team to watch as they enter the second half of the season.
The fourth-grade White Team, coached by Mike DiSanto and Kevin Kallmeyer, have committed themselves to a challenging schedule with a 20-game season. The boys have learned that team play will always be more successful than individual play. They have improved with every opponent and practice, and their dedication is paying off on the court. This past weekend, the boys picked up two big wins over Harrison and Oak Hills. We wish them luck during the second half of the season as they continue to grow and gel as a team.
CCDS families are invited to a night of basketball on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at Northern Kentucky University. Kyle Higgason, fifth-grade youth coach, has worked with NKU to organize an evening for CCDS families and players at the NKU Norse vs. Oakland Golden Grizzlies game. CCDS students will shoot on the court and meet the team. This is an excellent event for all ages. If you are interested in attending, please see the attached flyer for information on purchasing tickets. Thanks again to Coach Higgason for making this possible.
Thought of the Week: (While this is lengthy, it has a powerful message.)
Some helpful suggestions learned over the years for those starting or early in their careers:
1.) Meet and Remember. You can develop your people network by introducing yourself to others and remembering their names. If you treat everyone with courtesy and respect and try to be helpful, they will also remember you.
2.) Listen and Learn. Treat everyone as your teacher. You can always learn more, you can never learn less. Take a genuine interest in each person you meet. You will learn something and also build a relationship.
3.) Be on Time. Be respectful of others. Show up on time physically and mentally.
4.) Understand How Others Think. Understanding is a two-way street. You need to consider things from the other person's point of view.
5.) It's All in the Presentation. You must communicate in the language of the listener. You can have great ideas, but if you cannot convey them to the listener, you cannot put them into action.
6.) Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Good plans shape good decisions; plan your day and work your plan. Prepare your daily to-do list and use it. Never mistake activity for achievement. Ask yourself, "Am I spending my time wisely?"
7.) Make Yourself More Useful. It's not how valuable you think you are, it is how valuable others think you are. Always make yourself more helpful and give people more than they expect.
8.) Life Rewards Results. Provide solutions, not just answers. The best jobs go to the person who can deliver results without coming back with excuses. Do better work than others and keep on doing it.
9.) Only You Are Responsible for You. Do not make the mistake of thinking you are working for someone else. It's YOUR job and YOUR career. YOUR success is based on YOUR commitment to be the best YOU can be.
10.) Most Importantly, Play Fair. All you have in life is your reputation and your integrity - always do what's right.