Category Archives: Sports

FC swimmer excels at state

By Devin Bloomfield
Last Saturday at the IUPUI Natatorium senior Drew Cato competed in the IHSAA state finals for swimming. He swam in the 200 individual medley, beating the FC school record and the winning state championship.

“I have been dreaming of being a state champion since I was 12 years old,” said Cato.

Cato also swam in the 100 backstroke and came in third with a time of 50.76. His time for the medley was 1:50.46.

Cato has been swimming since he was six years old, somewhat on accident, but it has led to him being a great athlete.

“When I was six I broke my arm and the doctor told me to start swimming for rehab,” said Cato.

Cato received a lot of motivation and encouragement from his older sister Katelyn, who is a 2010 FC graduate who also swam for FC.

“My older sister has always been there to push me in practice. I wouldn’t be the swimmer I am today without her,” he said.

Cato felt relieved after winning his race and achieving his long term goal of being a state champion.

“I prepared by doing a lot of breaststroke because I knew that was where my competition was going to gain on me. I was relieved to know that all of my hard work had paid off in the end.”

Cato said that hard work and dedication are the the keys to achieving dreams. He would tell anyone that is aspiring a life-long dream to never give up and stay motivated.

“Don’t get down on yourself when you feel like it is impossible and you aren’t good enough because that is when most people lose all of their motivation to achieve their goals,” he said.

Cato plans to continue his swimming career at the collegiate level at Western Kentucky University and keep working his hardest every day to achieve his hopes and dreams.

Dazzlers achieve 9-peat

by Eric Ordonez

On Feb. 5, the Dazzlers woke up knowing they would be competing for the most
prestigious prize in high school dancing: the national championship, held in Orlando, Florida.
The Dazzlers seem to never disappoint every year, at least for the last nine. And, no, that
is not a misprint; it has been the previous nine years the Dazzlers have taken their talents to the
national stage and won. And they excelled again on Feb. 5 to win their ninth consecuative
national championship.

Along the way, they have made memories, created friendships with competing dancers
across the country, and put together resumes for future potential colleges.

“To everybody we just say ‘everybody that hates just motivates’,” said junior Jenna Bain.
Bain said she believes that people can say what they want but after all the talk is done, the
Dazzlers can show people they have proved them wrong.

Team members say that their championship success has sometimes led critics and even
peers to use social media like Facebook to criticize the team. However, this has simply fueled the
dancers to grow as a team and work even harder. The harsh words have built tough skins on the
girls, and senior Caitlin Naugle turns the negativity into positivity in the best way possible.

“It just means we overcame what people said we couldn’t do over and over again,” said
Naugle. “We worked our butts off and now we can finally look back at every hater and say, ‘look
at us now’.”

Hard work, commitment, and the determination have taken the team to the point of
repeated championship success, and head coach Todd Sharp said the team is a model for other
teams.

“As far as the team goes, they are the hardest working team I’ve ever been a part of. This
is really a great team, a great honor to be a part of. I’ll have other dancers, even principals that
are at other schools call me at tell me how amazing our program is. They thank us for setting a
model of what a dance team should be and it’s really a great honor,” said Sharp.

Sharp has been a dance coach for 17 years and is very proud of the reputation his girls
create behind his name and the program’s. One thing most people may not know is that Sharp
combines the responsibilities of being the head coach of the Dazzlers and University of
Louisville’s dance team spirit leader. Nevertheless, he brings the same intensity and morale with
him and he thinks that sometimes with winning comes great determination and drive.

“He sees the potential in all of us. If we are not performing in practice he will tell us that
we aren’t doing our best or we could give a better effort and it really motivates us. Without the
push he gives us we wouldn’t all be as strong as we are,” said Bain.

Sharp said the Dazzlers exemplify hard work.

“Absolutely nobody works harder, nobody. Maybe because of the fact that the sport
doesn’t have a ball people don’t get it. They don’t get how much goes into the practices and hard
work in those gymnasiums. You can’t name another sport that works as much as we do. We do

12 months a year, five days a week,” said Sharp.

For the seniors, each class of every year goes through the same emotions. However many
there are, they are certainly comparable. Naugle agreed that the entire experience of being a
Dazzler has been a “really good experience.”

“It’s all been like a journey. We first learned our routine in April and ever since then
we’ve worked so hard to this point. It’s basically just been a lot of repetition. When you’re
performing you can’t and don’t think about anything else. It’s just something that gets instilled in
your mind,” said Naugle.

The final year of the senior Dazzlers’ high school career will be extremely emotional.
Naugle joked and said, “I think at the end the whole world is just going to come to an end and
stop.”

Bain said that being on the Dazzlers’ dance team gives provides advantages beyond high school.

“I know that at Hawaii University they give a lot of full ride dance scholarships. So if
they see you were on the Dazzlers team they will probably consider you heavily to coming to
their school. It’s a great thing to be on this team; it gives us a lot of opportunities after we’re
done with high school.”

The Dazzlers have built a reputation for excellence and attract new talent every year. The
continuing cycle of graduating seniors means they must keep mentoring new members to ensure
continued success and future championships.

Coaching ethics epidemic

 Ty Elliot

Sports Co-Editor

As a sports fan, there is nothing better than watching your favorite team beat up on the opposing team, especially if that opponent is a heated rival.  I love watching the team I root for win by a lop-sided 30-point dominating performance.  But with recent complaints and bad coaching ethics shown lately across numerous sports, it begs the question; when is enough, enough?
For most coaches, the thing they least worry about is when they should take out their star players if they were winning by a large margin.  But maybe coaches should worry more about this growing epidemic in sports.  In the old days, old fashion beat-downs were taken with a grain of salt, and were looked at as the better team won.  But today in sports, teams take it a sign of disrespect when teams run up the score when winning by a large margin.  Fans that pay the money to watch these events certainly want to see the best players play until the end.  With the economy affecting sports in numerous ways, should coaching ethics really be a main concern?
I have also seen some recent behavior by coaches that has me concerned.  In Connecticut, during a high school football game, Manchester High School had wristbands that contained the name and signal of offensive plays.  After a play, one player came up out of a pile and signaled to the sideline that he had lost his wristband.  It turns out that Southington High School, the opposing team, took the wristband and used it throughout the rest of the game to steal the other team’s plays.  Why play the game if you know what the opposing team is going to do?
In Texas, Covenent High School played Dallas Academy in a varsity girls basketball game.  Dallas Academy has eight varsity players and about 20 girls in the high school.   Dallas Academy is winless in its past four seasons.  Covenant had a 59-0 lead at halftime.  Covenant went on to defeat Dallas 100-0.  Dallas Academy felft as though Covenant was running up the score and was still shooting three point shots late in the fourth quarter. Covenant’s head coach was later fired.
So when is enough, enough?  Personally I want to see my team give the opposing team a beat-down.  Therefore I have no problem with teams leaving their best players in until the game is over.  There is no rule that says you have to take your star players out when you’re dominating the opponent.  And if one of those star players in the end gets injured as a result of continuing to play, then the coach made a critical mistake that could cost his or her team.  That is the risk coaches take and why coaches should take this problem more seriously because despite the fact that they want to play until the game is over, it can cost your team in the long run with a devastating injury in garbage time.  The only exception is the Covenant and Dallas Academy game.  If your team is winning that much, and your team hasn’t given the opponent a single point, then the coaches should take the responsibility to do the right thing and end the game.  It may look like a joke in the end, but coaches have to worry about the well being of their own players.  They are already embarrassed by the margin; you don’t want them to lose confidence.
Then the subject falls to cheating.  The stealing of the opponents’ playbook or anything that contains their plays is unacceptable.  Not only is it absurd, but it makes your team looks like a group of cheaters.  If your team has to cheat to win, then the coach obviously thinks his team isn’t good enough to win a clean and fair game.
With Lindsay Lohan in and out of rehab, why not have a coaching ethics seminar and rehab center?  At the seminar, coaches instead of learning how to quit their addiction to drugs and alcohol, they can learn how to show sportsmanship.

Hardcourt tip-off

Ty Elliot,

Co-sports editor

With football season now over, players start to take the basketball court as the new season is underway.  As the basketballs bounce high so do the upcoming hopes and goals for the Highlanders this season.  With the success of last year, this year’s team looks to build on and try to continue the winning tradition.

            Last year the Highlanders finished with a record of 15-8.  Losing key players like Cody Banet, Brandon Codey, and Jeffery Thompson detracts from the overall experience of the team, this year’s team appears to be just as experienced with six seniors and six juniors on this year’s squad.  Filling the void left behind by those seniors will not be easy, but returning a core group of players will help ease the role. 

The Highlanders will have an easier task because they have now gone through one more year of head coach Randy Gianfagna’s system. Based upon last year’s results, it seems to be working.  Gianfagna has had great success as a head coach with a 161-134 overall record.  His 33-53 record as head coach of the Highlanders though does not accurately represent his overall success.   Despite the record as Highlanders coach, Gianfagna’s Highlanders had a lot of success last season.  His players have continued to grow and gain valuable experience playing in his system. 

            “We played in tournaments at Purdue, Salem, and in Louisville.  We have really worked on our skill work and our weight training,” said Gianfagna.

This year’s squad appears to have a significant athleticism and overall depth advantage compared to other teams in the past.  Juniors Jordan Thompson and Nick Bombersbach are two athletically gifted players on the team.  Adding multi-talented players like senior Jeremy Jefferies and junior Tanner Wortham will add more depth to the bench. 

“Our overall depth is good.  I think 1-19 Junior Varsity through Varsity is the deepest we have ever been.  With our depth, it makes our practices more competitive,” said Gianfagna.

            Last year the Highlanders made strides in big games, but when they played tough competition they struggled.  When the Highlanders played their heated rival the New Albany Bulldogs last season at FC, the Bulldogs brought their A game.  The Bulldogs and their dynamic duo with Donnie Hale and Chris Whitehead defeated the Highlanders.  This season New Albany and Jeffersonville seem to be two of the better teams the Highlanders will play this year. 

            “We have to cut down on the turnovers.  We also need to rebound the basketball better,” said Gianfagna.

            The Highlanders will have to plug in a lot of new players into key roles.  The team has to replace 67% of their scoring, rebounding, and assists from this past season.  The team lost their top three leading scorers, top four assists leaders, and their leading rebounder from last year’s squad.  Gianfagna said he believes that two players in particular will ease into those roles.

            “I think Barret will step up a lot.  He’s a three year part time starter and we hope he will average a double-double.  Connor will help in scoring, and a lot of other guys will surprise people,” said Gianfagna.

            Gianfagna said that junior Connor Schellenberg will help this team with his scoring ability.    Schellenberg indeed has a great ability to score, and he said he has worked a lot in the off-season on his game.

            “I have done a lot of personal workouts with my AAU coach, and I shoot for a couple hours almost everyday,” said Schellenberg.

            The team has its eyes set for a sectional championship.  Because they will have to play a lot of great teams, their goals are set high.  Junior Jordan Thompson said he and his teammates have high hopes and expectations for this season.

            “We want to win sectionals, beat our rivals, and become better basketball players,” said Thompson.

Debating college football’s post season bowl games

By Ty Elliot

Co sports editor

“Playoffs?!”

The month of December is arguably the best month of the year. There is Christmas break, Christmas day, and college football bowl games. Yes, there is nothing better then watching bowl games. Well, except for the NFL playoffs, and the NBA playoffs and the college basketball tournament. There are better sports’ post seasons better than the college football bowl system. But, if the NCAA were to adopt a college football playoff it would be much more intriguing.

College football’s post season is much different than other sports. In 2010, 35 bowl games will be played represented by 70 teams, the most important game being the Bowl Championship Series National Championship. The championship game features the number one and number two ranked teams in the nation. Despite the simplicity of the BCS system, every season seems to bring drama as to which two teams deserve to play in the title game where there are usually more than two teams that are worthy of those two positions. There is also criticism of how the teams are chosen due to the “BCS formula.” All of the six BCS conferences (Big East, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, PAC 10, and the Big 12) are allowed to have one team represent them in the BCS bowl games, which is awarded to the conference champions. The formula is made of three components, 1/3 is the Harris Poll which is compiled by Harris Interactive, which is a market research company in which specializes in internet research; 1/3 is the Coaches Poll which is voted on by the coaches; and the other 1/3 is the computer rankings. The computer rankings have brought the most criticism. Allowing computers to choose a team to play in a game is ridiculous. A computer for one can not physically watch or see a team play football. A computer has no knowledge of football.

This formula has brought many unfair situations to teams that are not in those BCS conferences. In past years, teams like Utah, Boise State, and TCU have been given harsh criticism from the BCS formula. All of those teams are not in the “BCS qualifyingconferences.” They are looked down upon because they do not play a tougher schedule of games as those in the BCS conferences. But, in fact, in recent years those teams have proven they can hold their own while playing tough teams.

In 2004, an undefeated (11-0) Utah team played Pittsburgh (8-3) in the Fiesta Bowl. Utah was lead by the eventual number one pick in the NFL draft in 2005: Alex Smith. Utah showed to be the better team as they won in dominating fashion 35-7. Utah also played in the Sugar Bowl in 2008 against Alabama. Utah defeated Alabama 31-17 which opened the door for question. Should Utah have played in the title game?

In 2006, undefeated Boise State (12-0) played Oklahoma (11-2) in the Fiesta Bowl. In one of the most exciting games of all time, Boise State won in overtime 43-42, but earned little respect from the rest of the nation.

 What is a better solution for the NCAA? The NCAA should adopt a 16 team single elimination playoff. There are a total of 11 college football conferences. All 11 conference champions should receive an automatic berth into the playoff. Then, the top five ranked teams who did not win their conference will receive a wild card berth. The NCAA can seed the teams based on their BCS rankings with the number one team playing the number sixteen team. With this playoff system, the teams that are in small conferences can have a chance at winning the prestigious national title. Teams like Boise State and Utah will get that chance that they have never gotten in the past, which is to win the title.

 Come on NCAA, change this system to a playoff before the guys on capitol hill do. Do you really want Barack Obama to determine the fate of the college football post season?