The winter sports season brings historic achievements


Zara Black '23

Winter captains remark on their seasons and their teams’ achievements on the court, rink, and swim deck.

Students crowded the basketball courts, ice hockey rink, swim deck, and squash courts to watch as the Sacred Heart Greenwich athletic teams left their mark this winter sports season.  The 2022-2023 season marked historical milestones as the swim and dive team ended with a Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) championship win and an undefeated season, and the ice hockey team completed its second season on the ice.  The school also scored new wins, records, and achievements from the basketball and squash teams.  As the captains of each team looked back upon their seasons, they remarked on special moments and consistent goals that helped them remain focused and driven to achieve success.

In early December 2022, the swim team began their season with a win against Canterbury School 96-40 and continued with honor, hustle, and heart to finish as regular season FAA champions.  Co-captains senior Laura O’Connor and junior Jane Cary led the swim team as they gained a notable victory over Greenwich Academy (GA) for the first time in 12 years, winning 54-45 to continue their undefeated streak.  Laura remarked on this meet and how their grit, passion, and drive contributed to the competitive environment and helped them gain a special win.

The swim team gathers around the pool to cheer on their fellow teammates during their swim meet.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Communications Dept.

“At the GA meet, we were all cheering for each other at both ends of the pool, which created a great environment and made everyone even more excited to compete,” Laura said.  “We all wanted that win, so to come out on top was amazing for us, especially with GA having such a strong team for the last few years.  It was so great to know the whole team was rooting for one another the whole time.”

Gliding through the water, Sacred Heart swimmers broke team records and brought back their first FAA tournament win to King Street February 11.  Senior Alexandra Bastone broke the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:52.20, and sophomore Victoria Mordaunt broke the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly with times of 24.47 and 58.96.  Laura recalled the importance of her last swim season at Sacred Heart and how she hopes their achievements will help them as they participate in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) tournament.

“This swim season has been really significant to me, especially because we have not only gone undefeated in the regular season, but we were able to win FAAs, which the swim and dive team has never done,” Laura said.  “After winning, I’m looking forward to what this group of girls is going to be able to accomplish at the New England Championship and hope that we are able to place really well.”

The dive team dove into their season with goals of perseverance and determination and came out with their first FAA championship win at Brunswick School February 10.  Co-captains seniors Molly Parker and Victoria Zacco embraced the close-knit environment their team provided and utilized this bond to compete as a stronger unit.  Molly reflected on the diving season and commented on how their constant motivation during practice, attitude on and off the board, and teamwork led to their win February 10.

“Some of our special moments were probably the teamwork we did in and out of practice,” Molly said.  “The environment is amazing.  We all love each other so much, and I think we’re just really happy to have people from every grade to really make the experience.  We share the common goals of obviously getting better and really helping make the team so inclusive and strong.  We are so close and comfortable with each other that it is so easy and honestly fun to try new things and new dives in the environment.”

Ice hockey captain senior Charlotte Gannon celebrates with her teammates after a goal.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Communications Dept.

Captain senior Charlotte Gannon led the ice hockey team in their second season as they faced new opponents and squared off against familiar schools.  They enjoyed a senior day win against GA February 1, leaving the rink with a score of 11-4, and a record of 3-3 to end their season.  Charlotte described the pride she has in how far the program has come since its inaugural season last year and how the special environment created on the ice during early morning practices, in the locker room during pre-game pep talks, and in the halls of Sacred Heart, has contributed to their success.  She believes that, although a key goal for the team was to have a victorious season, the creation of a program built upon a fun, encouraging, and inclusive atmosphere was also important to the legacy she hopes the team can leave.

“I think the hockey team has developed a lot since last year’s inaugural season,” Charlotte said.  “We got new coaches this year that pushed every player despite their skill level, which made practices much more engaging.  This helped the team, overall, improve on the ice as well as have the ability to compete at more competitive levels.  Our team became very close as a result, and it made me happy to see everyone come together off the ice.  I am sad to leave such an amazing program behind, but reflecting during those moments makes me realize how proud I was to have started this team and to see my dream become a true reality.”

Under the leadership of new coach Mr. Robert McDavid and co-captains seniors Sabrina and Madeline Schwarz, the squash team had a successful season with a record of 6-2.  After placing second in the FAA tournament, Sabrina commented that the team appreciated their close bond in pressurized situations.  As they prepare for the NEPSAC tournament and Division I High School Team Nationals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sabrina conveyed her hopes of instilling a sense of community within a sport that can seem as predominantly individual.

“The team is very supportive and motivating,” Sabrina said.  “Squash is an independent sport, so it is really nice to have teammates sitting outside the court encouraging you and lifting you up after a bad game.  We always come to coach each other in between games and give advice.  It helps a lot to have a constant source of encouragement because that is something that lacks in individual squash and we hope to carry this with us to Nationals.  There is always a high level of intensity and pressure to perform well at the tournament, so as captains, we try to calm people’s nerves and offer a steady hand of support.  The mindset we have going into Nationals is confident and hopeful as we finish off our season.”

The basketball team regroups after the third quarter of their game against The Masters School January 9.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Communications Dept.

Under the leadership of co-captains juniors Madison Hart and Payton Sfreddo, the basketball team scored 12 wins throughout the regular season, accompanied by a win against Miss Porter’s School February 8 that marked a historic moment for Payton and the rest of the basketball team.  During the game, Payton scored her 1,000th career point for Sacred Heart, becoming the second player to reach this milestone and surpass the number during her career on King Street.  Madison also reached the achievement of 100 assists, becoming the first athlete to do so in Sacred Heart history.  Payton commented on this moment and how it was one of many special moments she and the team shared during this past season.  She was grateful for the support she received and is proud of what the team has accomplished through their common goal of working for one another.

“Scoring my 1000th point was a super exciting moment for me,” Payton said.  “I seriously had always admired those who had reached the milestone, and I am incredibly grateful that I was given the opportunity to do it myself here at Sacred Heart.  I think that this achievement speaks more for my team, coaches, school and the incredible support they have all given me, more than anything else.  The community at Sacred Heart is so special and I think this team is very close and extremely supportive of one another.”

Featured Image by Zara Black ’23