Against a backdrop of pandemic restrictions and limited play through March 2021, GDS Hopper Athletics rose to achieve some of its most stellar results in the School’s history. I’m so proud of the extraordinary character and commitment our student-athletes demonstrated throughout the year. Once DC Health permitted competitive play, they delivered championship-level performances.
Below, I’m excited to share some highlights from outstanding performances, student-athletes’ resilience, leadership from older athletes, full teams, upcoming young stars, and commitments to college teams (13 athletes!). Join us in celebrating GDS #HopperStrong Athletics!
Kick it off with Women’s Soccer
Due to the timing of lifted restrictions, each fall team had one game. The women’s soccer team, who is the current ISL Upper Division champion, didn’t squander their game play, beating St Andrews 8-1! The team celebrates three members heading to play college soccer: Marleigh Ausbrooks ’21, Danielle Burke ’21 (D1), and Ayana Curto ’21.
Setting up Volleyball for a Dominant 2021-22
GDS appears to have the strongest volleyball team in recent memory, led by an amazing junior class of players, all of whom will be returning to pursue the ISL Upper Division championship banner next fall.
Cross-Country Runs Good
We have three runners committed to college teams next year: Annie Roseman ’21, Ella Gillespie ’21, and Ruby Kaplan ’21. Ella and Ruby also hold GDS cross-country records.
Step up to the plate with Varsity Baseball
The 2021 Varsity Baseball team’s strength rivals their best league season finish (in 2019) and despite COVID, there are clear indicators that this team is one of the strongest in recent memory. The team’s record-setting four college committed athletes—Alex Gulino ’21, Jeremy Jensen ’21, Felix Passman ’21, and Kyle White ’21—led the team to beat Flint Hill for the first time in 13 years. The team also made a strong entrance into the DCSAA State Tournament with a no-hitter home game win.
Serving Up Big Wins in Men’s Tennis
Our tennis team is doing unbelievably well. They beat St. James 7-0, beat St. Andrews 7-0, and beat Maret 6-1. Also, #3 seed Haidyn Green ’22 finished 3rd in the DC State Tennis Tournament. Haidyn and Nick Penniman ’22 will continue to lead a strong team next spring.
Netting a Big Win with Women’s Lacrosse
The Women’s Varsity Lacrosse team had an outstanding season culminating in a senior game win over Sidwell Friends 13-9, not to mention wins over St. James and St. Andrews. See a highlight reel from this season.
Sprinting to the Finish with Track and Field
Turning it over now to Coach Anthony Belber for a report on Track and Field…
Despite limited practice opportunities, especially early in the season, our men’s and women’s track and field athletes pulled together a terrific season. We competed at a series of dual meets with the strongest teams in our conferences and finished off that series with a victory by our men’s program over rival Sidwell Friends. The women were led by top performances from the senior captains Camilla Salwen, Ella Gillespie, and Ruby Kaplan. Sophomore Pilar Holder came into prominence with great performances in the short sprints, and junior Nadia Fairfax filled big shoes as the most experienced sprinter on the women’s team. Ninth grader Ellie Kessler wowed her teammates and the competition in every event she tried, from high jump to hurdles to the mile.
On the men’s side, the program showed fabulous depth with eight men running under five minutes in the mile, and numerous 9th and 10th graders playing key roles in the DC State meet when upperclassmen left early to attend prom. The sprinters overcame the loss of seniors Matthew Mintzer and Nino Imbroscio to injury and were led on the track by two of the captains, Jalen Friday and Carlton Marshall. All in all, the statement was made loud and clear that if there had been a league championship contested this year, the boys would have been in a great position to bring home a banner.
Our track and field athletes will be competing yet again in the DC State Championships at the end of this week.
Strong Rising Sophomores
We are particularly excited with our rising sophomore class, who as 9th graders were one of the most impactful groups I think we’ve had. These young stars bolstered our program—two of our top four men’s tennis players, our top women’s tennis player, three of the top six golfers, very experienced and strong men’s and women’s soccer goalies, an elite level volleyball player, a very high-level distance runner who won Middle School DC States last year, an experienced high-level wrestler, one of the leading scorers on the varsity women’s lacrosse team, and several great men’s and women’s basketball players. Following this year of training and competition play, I’m sure there will be many more team leaders to name by the start of the 2021–22 athletics seasons.
Our seniors have had a lasting impact on GDS athletics with dozens of four-year award recipients; each has left their mark on GDS sports. Our student-athletes will represent GDS alumni at a diverse set of schools and will compete in 11 different conferences, including NESCAC, ECAC, and Ivy League.
Among our senior athletes, we are also celebrating our elite “category 1” cyclist, Jonah Killy, who has begun reaching the podium in adult professional races, rides for the top professional racing team in the country, and is ranked among the top cyclists in the U.S. He competes with the Kelly Benefits Strategies Junior Elite, Elite, and Under-23 teams with riders from across the country.
Jonah was selected as one of eight junior riders in the country for USA Cycling’s Olympic Development Academy, which was unfortunately canceled due to COVID. Undeterred, Jonah won the overall men’s (not junior) race at the Johnson City Stage Race in August 2020 (9th in the road race, 3rd in the time trial, 1st in the criterium, and 1st overall). He delivered top finishes in the men’s category in the Tour of St. Louis Pro race (10th in the time trial, 2nd in the circuit race, 5th in the criterium, and 3rd in the overall final standings), Swamp Classic Pro Cycling race in Florida (3rd in the pro time trial and 15th in the overall standings), and took 5th in the Maverick Classic in Colorado. This past weekend, Jonah raced at Chasing the Wild Boar in Virginia, where he finished 5th in the junior time trial and 11th in the Pro criterium—the Pro criterium race was won by GDS alum Sam Boardman ’14. At the end of the month, Jonah will compete in USA Cycling’s National Road Race Championships followed by the National Track Championships in mid-July. Later this summer, he will travel to Belgium for several UCI Juniors races before returning to race track and road for Colorado Mesa University (CMU) in the fall. CMU was the number one Division I cycling program in the country last year and consistently ranks in the top three national programs.
We are grateful to all our student-athletes, coaches, and families for their patience as we all waited for DC Health to reopen competitive play. Stay safe and strong over the summer! We look forward to welcoming everyone back for pre-season training.