November 2015

MacLaren Athletic Update
Girls Basketball
Peter Gvazdauskas couldn’t stop watching the opposing team. He had coached his girls well for victory on the court, and they were clobbering the MacLaren girls--but somehow the MacLaren team was the one that impressed him.

“These girls never gave up,” Coach Vaz says. “Even when they were down by a considerable margin they were hustling, encouraging each other as well as our team, and wanting to learn.”

The sheer effort of the MacLaren girls, their love of the game and of each other, their composure and integrity in the face of a loss--all these things made a mark. “This was a special team,” Coach Vaz recollects. “I thought to myself, they have something… that I want to be part of.”

Just a few months later, he is. Peter Gvazdauskas is now the MacLaren varsity girls basketball coach, and he continues to see the same qualities that drew him to this program.

“I knew the MacLaren School expected academic excellence, so the players are very smart and hardworking, but their willingness to work hard even against insurmountable odds convinced me that I wanted to be part of this. Even now that I have worked with some of these players for over five months... they continually amaze me with their resilience and work ethic.”

This year has seen a real blossoming in MacLaren athletics, marked by a great many firsts. Our days of Parks and Rec teams are almost over, now that we have joined the Central Colorado Athletic League and are continuing to work towards membership in CHSAA, the statewide governing body for Colorado athletics.

Our students are excited to have so many options, and they are signing up in droves. In the fall season alone we fielded seven sports teams: five soccer teams and, for the first time, middle and high school cross country squads. These programs “were definitely a success,” says Mr. Swanson, our director of athletics. Soccer

We fielded our first-ever high school boys soccer team. “This was a very young team with no seniors and only one junior,” Mr. Swanson notes. “They played a lot of teams who were all at different levels.”

“We did very well,” adds Coach Hlavin, mentioning some big wins—10-0, 6-4, 9-1—over much bigger and more established soccer programs: Widefield JV, Rampart JV, and Mesa Ridge JV, respectively.

He was pleased to acknowledge a significant factor in those victories: MacLaren sophomore Jack Harrell. “Jack Harrell scores goals,” Coach Hlavin says emphatically—29 of them for the season, in fact.

The team did well enough to be invited to the Fountain Valley School JV Invitation, where they lost 2-1 in a very close match against CSCS.

In another first, Mr. Swanson notes that “We had 28 kids come out this year for the middle school cross country team, and one boy finished in the top five at three of his five races.”

At the fall sports assembly, Coach Triplett praised the runners for their great spirit: pushing each other to improve, sticking together, and growing strong friendships across grades and genders. Many of the runners were new to the sport, and both Coaches Triplett and Ortiz were astonished at their growth. The future of cross country looks strong for MacLaren!

As we look ahead to the winter season, there are yet more firsts to come. This will mark our inaugural year of being able to put two high school girls’ teams—both a varsity and a JV squad—on the basketball court.

MacLaren basketball is still “a very young program, mostly filled with freshmen and sophomores,” Mr. Swanson says, and “we are looking forward to another year of fundamentals and building skills together in the team setting.”

Keep an eye on upcoming MacLaren games posted on our website, and we’ll see you on the court. Go Highlanders!
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