Familiar faces take new athletic roles


Convent of the Sacred Heart varsity basketball coach, Ms. Jessica Spicer helps sophomore, Margot Butler, with her shooting technique. Grace Mather ’17

The winter athletic season at Convent of the Sacred Heart brings athletes a fresh perspective as new coaches take to the pool deck, basketball and squash courts. 
Middle School Theology teacher, Sixth Grade Advisor and Eighth and Tenth Grade Health teacher Ms. Maureen Kitson is the new coach for the Upper School swim team.

The new junior varsity and varsity swim coach, Ms. Maureen Kitson, instructs swimmers at practice to improve their technique. Jade Cohen ’17

Ms. Kitson started swimming competitively when she was five years old and was a member of the Sacred Heart swim team during her Middle and Upper School career. After two years of coaching the Middle School swim team at Sacred Heart, Ms. Kitson is ready to share her expertise with the junior varsity and varsity teams. 

“I am most looking forward to getting to work with students outside a classroom setting. Swimming is usually viewed as an individual sport, and it is in many ways, but I am looking forward to bringing the girls together as a team,” Ms. Kitson said.
Ms. Kitson’s goal is to help the swimmers achieve their personal best times and continue to increase the competitiveness of the program. Varsity swim team co-captains, seniors Grace Isford and Jordan Cohen, are eager to welcome Ms. Kitson. 
“I look forward to working with Ms. Kitson and having the team learn new techniques to improve our strokes. I think it will still be a lot of the same teachings as last year but with a new spin and approach,” Jordan said. 
Convent of the Sacred Heart varsity basketball coach, Ms. Jessica Spicer helps sophomore, Margot Butler, with her shooting technique. Grace Mather '17
Convent of the Sacred Heart varsity basketball coach, Ms. Jessica Spicer helps sophomore Margot Butler, with her shooting technique. Courtesy of Grace Mather ’17

On the basketball court, Ms. Jessica Spicer transitions from her prior position as assistant varsity basketball coach to head basketball coach. 
Ms. Spicer has been playing basketball since third grade. She earned a spot on the varsity team as a seventh grader and played at that level until her high school graduation. She then played Division I  basketball at Lafayette College where she was the starting point guard for three years and captain for two years.
Since her graduation from Lafayette, Ms. Spicer has coached for five years. She was the head junior varsity coach and assistant varsity coach for West Chester Henderson High School in West Chester, Pennsylvania for two years. She then moved to San Antonio, Texas where she trained players individually in preparation for their seasons. 
Ms. Spicer looks forward to sharing her basketball skills with the Sacred Heart athletes this winter season.
“I am looking forward to working with the girls again. I always learn so much from coaching them, and it is so amazing to see them evolve and grow as players and young ladies,” Ms. Spicer said.
Ms. Spicer’s main goal this year is for the team to reach the Fairchester Athletic League championship. She plans to accomplish this by focusing heavily on defense and employing the two core defensive principles of playing hard and playing together.
“I hope that teams are afraid to play us because our defense is so smothering,” Ms. Spicer said.
Varsity basketball captain senior Claire O’Neill is excited to begin the season with Ms. Spicer.
“We are probably going to run a lot more, but last year Coach Spicer was always there to help us, so I am looking forward to growing closer as a team with her leadership,” Claire said.
European squash player Ms. Celia Allamargot is coaching the varsity squash team this winter.

Ms. Celia Allamargot, the new varsity squash coach, talks to sophomore Haley Davis about her next match. Kendall Newman '17
Ms. Celia Allamargot, the new varsity squash coach, talks to sophomore Haley Davis about her next match. Courtesy of Kendall Newman ’17

Ms. Allamargot has played squash professionally since 2005 and currently holds the sixtieth ranking in the world. 
She played squash for five years while attending college in France and was a member of the junior, senior, and university teams. She won the French national university championships five years in a row, reached the finals with the French team in the world university championships, and won the French national championships, making her a top ranked player in Europe. In addition, Ms. Allamargot participated in two final competitions while on the Women’s Squash Association professional tour.
Ms. Allamargot has been coaching squash for five years in several locations including Marseille, France, Stamford, Connecticut Norwalk, Connecticut and Mt. Kisco, New York. She is ready to help Sacred Heart squash players succeed this winter.

“I am really excited about being the varsity head coach of CSH. It is my first time being in charge of a high school team. It is a new challenge for me and I can’t wait to work with the girls and share my experience as an athlete,” Ms. Allamargot said. “Being a woman coach, working with a girl’s school team, I am hoping to build a strong coach-athlete relationship so we can look in the same direction and bring the best out of each girls to get higher in the rankings.”
Ms. Allamargot’s primary goal for the season is to lead the team to the Division IV finals by working on technique, tactic, and fitness. She hopes to bring out the best in each individual in order to create a team with a good atmosphere and a fighting spirit. She believes a combination of strong preparation and team spirit are key.
“The most important thing for me is to see the girls try hard during practices and give their best when they play their matches. If they put a lot of efforts training, it will pay off,” Ms. Allamargot said.

Varsity squash team co-captain senior Mary Grace Henry expresses her hopes for the season with Ms. Allamargot. 

“I think that each coach has a different style and manner in which he or she chooses to direct the team. I think it will be nice to work in conjunction with the new coach to develop techniques that work for our team specifically,” Mary Grace said.
Mary Grace believes that although a new coach will be an adjustment, Ms. Allamargot will be a positive asset to the team.
“I’m really looking forward to trying something new and seeing how the season plays out. We had more people sign up then ever before for squash so it is going to be exciting to watch the team develop alongside our new coach,” Mary Grace said.
New coaches, new approaches and new techniques will bring new opportunities for winter athletes to grow as individual players and to succeed as teams this season.
– Jade Cohen, Staff Writer