A second season of firsts
Pope John Paul the Great athletes compete at the varsity level for the first time.
Pope John Paul the Great High School in Dumfries completed its second fall athletic season last month — finishing the first season of varsity competition. The newest Arlington diocesan high school built in more than 20 years, Pope John Paul the Great posted solid team results and earned a variety of individual awards.
To the athletes and staff, the second season looked much like the first. Schedules were developed, fields were groomed and aspiring athletes tackled summer training with vigor. Once team rosters were set, the real challenge loomed: competing in varsity sports for the first time and with no senior class. Pope John Paul the Great competed in six varsity sports this fall: girls’ cross-country, field hockey and volleyball; and boys’ cross-country, football and soccer.
With first-class facilities, committed coaches, a loyal fan base and a new school mascot, the Wolves took to the field with pride but also with some trepidation knowing they faced varsity athletes.
Athletic Director Mark St. Germain commended the student-athletes’ attitude. “Where they lacked depth, they worked harder,” he said. “Where they lacked experience, they prepared and practiced more. Dedication and heart were evident on every team and were essential elements to each team’s success. I’m proud of what they achieved,” said St. Germain.
As members of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA), all of the varsity girls’ teams competed in Division 1. The field hockey team finished their season 8-9 and with a No. 9 statewide ranking. Several players earned recognition for their achievements during the season. Kelly Donovan was named All-Area Player of the Year. First team selects included Taylor Baron and Alex Grasso. Second team honorees included Amanda Ulmer and Emily Foster with honorable mention going to Teresa Morris.
Boys’ varsity football, soccer and cross-country competed in VISAA Division 2. The football team ended the season 6-4, finishing No. 5 in the state. All-Star honorees included: Mario Genova, offensive line, All-Area first team; Peter Subacz, lineman, All-Area second team; Aidan McNulty, linebacker, All-Area honorable mention and Division 2 team performer; Tyler Peroots, running back, Division 2 recognition; and Logan Sullivan, quarterback, All -Area and Division 2 honorable mention.
The Division 2 boys’ soccer team ended the season 4-6, with one tie.
The school is fielding five varsity squads this winter, including boys’ basketball and wrestling, girls’ basketball and cheerleading, and a coed swim team. With a growing population, the school’s first senior class and a year of varsity experience, the prospects for next year are bright.