In today’s youth sports it is easy to get caught up in an “us versus them” culture. St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart have come together to show there is another path, and one that can provide meaningful experiences and still be successful. For the second year in a row, St. Mary’s Middle School and Sacred Heart have joined forces on the middle school football team and the partnership is paying off in a number of ways.
This season, six Sacred Heart student athletes have joined the football team. They are: Stephen Seus, Heemir Patel, Nick Cramer, Matt VanDyck, Camillo Villagrana, and Gavin Bergen. In the sense of numbers this is a win-win situation. It has given the athletes from Sacred Heart an opportunity to continue to play football, develop their skills and be a part of a team, at the same time adding athletes to the St. Mary’s roster enabling the team to add depth and to continue to play 11-man football in the SOMSAC small schools league. Sacred Heart AD Matt Gerschefske sums it up when he says “Our partnership with St. Mary’s is something we very much value. We appreciate St. Mary’s helping us provide additional sports to our athletes that we would not otherwise have had the opportunity to compete in, and we believe our Sacred Heart athletes also bring many qualities to the combined team. The partnership has made for a very successful team and we are thankful that all of our athletes are having such a positive experience together.”
In addition to adding depth, the football team has enjoyed a good measure of success on the field as they are currently sitting at 4 wins and no losses with three games remaining. Yet, as many coaches and athletes will tell you success is measured by much more than wins and losses. Head Football Coach, Tam Vu says “These boys have been a tremendous as part of our team; all of whom have always given their best effort and have contributed in every way I have asked for building our team and program. Though attending different schools, the boys have formed a close knit team bond that is absolutely essential in having a successful team culture“. One of the most valuable experiences a young athlete can have is being part of a team and the bonds they form on and off the field.
Opportunities to play football and develop skills, a positive experience, the opportunity to be a part of a team, and success on the field have combined to show how schools can come together to create a path that supports student athletes in their pursuits and how that path paid dividends for St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart.