The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


Spring sports skyrocket

Oakville athletics undergo significant growth
Spring sports skyrocket
Sarah Guenther

Spring has indeed sprung, and so has students’ participation in spring sports. This year, there has been a surge of students going out for various spring sports.

At the end of February each year, Oakville’s athletic community explodes with anticipation of the upcoming sports seasons. Tryouts and practices in girls soccer, girls lacrosse, boys baseball, boys volleyball, boys tennis, boys golf, track and field and water polo jump into play around Oakville’s campus. While most of these teams usually have successful turnouts, a few specific sports saw remarkable increases, juxtaposing those of previous years. 

“We definitely saw an increase in numbers at tryouts this year, but we are carrying a similar number of players,” boys volleyball coach Jessica Betz said. “However, the number of freshmen is high. We have 20 freshmen out of 32 players in the program.”

But, the rise in participation isn’t only in boys sports; girls sports saw a synonymous trend. In fact, girls lacrosse saw their largest turnout ever of 69 athletes as well as girls soccer steadily breaking attendance records. 

“This has been one of the top years for girls soccer. Last year, there was a bit more of a turnout, but in the last five years we’ve had the most attendance to our tryouts than ever in the history of the school,” girls soccer coach Sarah Guenther said. 

While tryout sports such as soccer and volleyball can only take a certain number of prospective athletes, non-tryout sports have a differing approach. Track and field, for example, can allow as many members on the team as athletes who came out, henceforth increasing the size of the entire team. 

“It [athlete roster] is much bigger to look at when filling out our rosters…we have so many people on both the girls and the boys sides. It makes competition better for those spots. I think it makes the team a lot more willing to work to try to earn those spots,” distance track and field coach Michaela Keence said.

This sudden growth is marvelous to see in our community, but one can’t help but wonder what the causes are. 

“I think we’re finally coming out of this COVID era….with all of those restrictions, we couldn’t have so many people,” Keence said. “I think that discouraged a lot of people from trying to join extracurricular activities. Now that that’s more in the rear view, more kids are wanting to come out, try something new and be around each other comfortably again.” 

Many students may have been eager to jump back into their activities that may have been restricted by CDC guidelines. Other growth factors include how the sport is perceived by the community as well as contributions made by past coaches.

“Coach Robben [previous Oakville girls soccer coach] made a legacy here, for all those years in soccer, and people want to be a part of it,” Guenther said. “…I have really tried to keep that going…I feel like there’s a real pride for soccer here.”

As for the effects, students have open access to the benefits of a larger, more cohesive, and more competitive team. 

“…it can be a really powerful thing and the more people you have, the more you’re pushing each other to be better. Oakville is going to have a more competitive team and see more success,” Keence said. 

Additionally, taking part in any sport can increase the overall quality of the high school experience. OHS activities director Becky Czuppon highlights benefits to students well-being.

“Participation in any sport helps kids feel more connected to school,” Czuppon said, “Typically involved students have a higher GPA and less discipline issues than students not involved.  I would assume that standard would continue.”

In hopes of prolonging these benefits, coaches have a common goal of gaining momentum and passion for their sports. Many coaches, such as Guenther, utilize social media for promotional purposes. 

“One thing I’ve really taken on in the past few years has been exploring how to network in social media and use it as a tool to get the word out about things that you want people to be aware of,” Guenther said. 

Ideally, these methods will promote continuous growth. Since high school sports teams are ever-changing, most coaches want to create a noticeable positive reputation for their teams and coaching styles are a way to do so. 

“My philosophy is that we try to make that experience as a member of the track and field team a positive one. Encouragement is very important…” Keence said. “…you don’t have to win every race. You don’t even have to place in the race, but you can do it. We’re celebrating you being the best version of yourself and feeling good about the work that you’re doing.” 

Overall, it is evident that enthusiasm for sports has shot up among the student body this school year. The efforts made by coaches and strong desires to be a part of the supportive environment are just a couple reasons for this sudden growth. Seeing how beneficial sports are to students well-being, coaches are determined and hopeful to perpetuate sports growth in the community.

“I love that students want to be involved,” Czuppon said. “Sports and Activities are a part of the high school experience.  The more kids experience ups and downs in high school the more prepared they are for the next steps in their journey.  Being a part of that is great!”


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About the Contributor
Lucy Caira
Lucy Caira, Reporter
Hey! My name is Lucy Caira, and I am a senior at Oakville. Besides newspaper, I am involved in cross country, FBLA, STUCO, Spanish Club and more at school. I enjoy watching movies, reading books, sewing and listening to music. This is my first year on newspaper staff at OHS, and I am beyond excited to contribute to this school publication! :)

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