It was an exciting fall athletics season for Pingree School, with both Varsity Field Hockey and Football bringing home championship wins.
Varsity Field Hockey ended their 24-2 season with an incredible showing in the Class C NEPSAC championship game against Ethel Walker School winning 6-0. The shut-out yielded the team its first NEPSAC championship since 2005.
According to Head Coach Jen Richardson, team chemistry and communication was a key factor in the team’s success. September’s MAX Field Hockey National High School Tournament in Philadelphia, during which the team came out 2–1 against nationally ranked teams, was highly motivating for the players. “That was one of the finest moments of our season,” Richardson said. “It was a major event that set us up for success during the season. Coming out 2–1 nationally made us excited for what we could do locally.”
At the beginning of the season, the team defined and posted in its locker room a broad range of goals, ranging from on-field aspirations like beating Exeter and winning EILs to team-building tactics like supporting one another, communicating positively, and rebounding quickly from adversity. Their commitment to each showed through in impressive showings on the field. With the exception of a game against Noble & Greenough School, which was decided by a single point, the team enjoyed an undefeated season, and they beat Exeter—a point of pride for the seniors on the team.
“Watching these players grow off-the-field was as impressive as on-the-field, Richardson said. “Whether these students play on or never play again, they have so many special moments to carry with them. They created something special, and I feel blessed to be a part of it.”
Pingree’s varsity football team, led by Coach Mike Flynn, rebounded from last year’s bowl game loss to St. Paul’s School to clinch the Ken Hollingsworth Bowl in an impressive showing against Proctor Academy. Their 32–12 victory marked their first NEPSAC championship win since 2010’s Norm Walker Bowl.
For Flynn, who inherited the team last year from its founding coach, this season was significant for a number of reasons. After last year’s undefeated regular season, he graduated several key contributing seniors. After winning their first game this season, an early loss to St. Paul’s made it clear that this year’s team needed a new approach. Working in collaboration with players, the coaching staff scrapped their old strategy in favor of building one from the ground up that supported the strengths and development of each team member.
“I loved coaching last year’s team, but I felt like it was set up for me,” Flynn said. “This year, it was really gratifying to see guys develop over the course of eight or ten games.”
Photo credit: Steven Conte