by Ariana Wiseman ’24
After months of hard work, The Leffell School varsity teams finished their seasons near the top of their leagues.
Boys Varsity Soccer made it to the sectional semifinals, losing to Alexander Hamilton on October 27.
Girls Varsity Soccer tied for the league championship and made it to the sectional semifinals, losing to Yonkers Montessori Academy on October 28.
Varsity Cross Country won the league championship in which four TLS runners were named All-League. The team will be competing in the sectional championship on November 6. As this meet falls over Shabbat, athletes will stay in a nearby hotel for TLS’ first “Cross Country Shabbaton”.
Girls Varsity Tennis finished their season with a 9-1 record and tied for the league championship.
Sophomore cross country runner Mitchell Breakstone, who was named New York State Section 1 Class D League 3 winner, solidified friendships with several of his teammates this fall.
“It was a really fun season and we all grew as runners,” Breakstone said. “It was an amazing opportunity to make inter-grade connections with people that we may not get the chance to know otherwise.”
Although life from last year is completely different than this year, Breakstone said that some things have not changed on his team.
“From a team standpoint, we’re basically in the same position as we were last year, which is amazing,” Breakstone said. “But unlike last year, winning the league does not mark the end of our season.”
Girls Varsity Soccer captain senior Alex Jaeger loves playing the sport with her teammates and seeing her friends and family on the bleachers watching her play. However, as it is her last year at TLS, she wanted to focus on another aspect of her playing for the team.
“This year, I wanted to be more composed while I play while still lifting up team spirit,” Jaeger said. “I knew that this job would have big shoes to fill because last year’s senior captains carried the team so well.”
Jaeger finished her last TLS soccer season strong, and wanted to leave her younger teammates with some advice: always remember to have a good time playing the sport they enjoy.
Director of Athletics Scott D’Ottavio was also grateful to watch all of the teams grow this year. With spectators returning to watch games, D’Ottavio felt that having these fans watching students enhances the spirit of the games and the school.
“When you have someone that’s cheering for you, it just makes you feel good inside,” D’Ottavio said. “I think that the team just plays better and wants to play better because they want to hear more cheers.”
Although many TLS students, faculty and family members come out to watch TLS athletes, the crowd is often lean.
“It’s hard because we have kids that live all over so it’s hard for them to stick around and watch their friends play,” D’Ottavio said. “I think that definitely hurts with some school spirit. I know the athletes themselves do a really good job trying to promote the sports and their teams.”
After a full school year of COVID restricted practices, games and meets, D’Ottavio finally felt that things were starting to loosen up for the athletes.
“Last year there were no championships besides for soccer, so it wasn’t the same,” D’Ottavio said. “Whereas this year, we were back to the same format where we have a league championship and then once the postseason [came], the athletes competed for a sectional championship along with their peers.”
Breakstone was especially thankful for fewer COVID restrictions this year among his team.
“Last year was challenging because having to wear masks made running significantly more difficult,” Breakstone said. “However, this season, we were able to participate in a meet featuring over 20 schools, which would have never taken place if some of last year’s COVID guidelines were still in effect.”
As the fall sports season has ended, D’Ottavio looks forward to the Leffell Lions’ participation at the next level.
“I’m hoping that all the teams that are in the postseason will be victorious and do well,” D’Ottavio said. “Hopefully, we can get some support from our school and our fans too.”