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North’s athletic teams persevere through ongoing teacher strike

Senior+Maggie+Scanlon%2C+sophomores+Nina+Bakal+and+Allie+Danis%2C+and+freshman+Makenna+Kelley+scrimmage+at+the+Wells+Ave+YMCA%2C+Monday%2C+Jan.29.+
Gabe Kolodner
Senior Maggie Scanlon, sophomores Nina Bakal and Allie Danis, and freshman Makenna Kelley scrimmage at the Wells Ave YMCA, Monday, Jan.29.

As the Newton Teachers Association (NTA) strike reaches its eleventh day today Monday, Jan. 29, North athletic teams face the challenge of modifying their practices and schedules. 

Below is an update on how each team is tackling the ongoing strike. 

Alpine Skiing

The strike has not impacted the Alpine ski team’s schedule according to senior Finn Benedict, a captain along with seniors Maxwell Haueisen, Noah Kesselman, and Maya Sinay. 

“Our team hasn’t really been affected at all because our coach doesn’t work at North,” said Benedict. 

The team has attended regular meets at both Blue Hills Reservation and Ski Ward. “The only real difference,” Benedict added, “is that three girls on the team have parents who are teachers, so they aren’t going to practices”. 

Basketball

“Not being able to practice on a private court has changed the way we practice,” said senior Eva Mescher, a girls’ basketball team captain along with seniors Maggie Scanlon and Helen Ruane, as well as junior Devon Burke. 

According to Mescher, the team has been practicing at the YMCA but has experienced constraints due to the limited space available. “We usually only get half of a court,” said Mescher, “so we have been doing a lot of shooting drills instead of full-court practice.” 

The boys’ team is practicing at the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club, according to junior Teagan Swint, a captain along with senior Dillon Taylor. 

Swint added that some team members have faced the issue of not having YMCA memberships, requiring them to use their funds for day passes or memberships to access the YMCA for practice.

Both teams have had games tentatively postponed, one being the girls’ team’s Senior Night, originally scheduled for Friday, Jan. 26. 

Hockey

According to senior Danielle Morrill, a girls’ hockey captain alongside assistant captains, seniors Maggie Buckton, Callie Saris, and junior Savannah Bond, the team has lost some motivation after over a week without a game.

After a difficult start to the season, the girls’ hockey team was gaining momentum on the ice. “We are ending on a winning streak, but it will be hard to keep that up when we go back,” said Morrill. 

Morrill added that the team has been fortunate to be practicing daily at John A. Ryan Arena. “We couldn’t practice at Cleveland Circle or Fessenden like we usually do because we need to have a coach there,” Morrill said. 

The boys’ team captains have experienced difficulty filling the roles of their coaches during captain’s practices, according to senior Hayden Willen, a captain along with senior Aidan Umina.

“Not having coaches made some of the guys think that they can slack off a little bit more,” said Willen. 

Boys’ Swim and Dive

According to senior Andrew Luu, a captain along with junior Cody Wong, their team is dependent on the North pool and has been unable to secure an alternative space to practice in its absence. 

Luu added that many team members are part of private swim teams in addition to the North team, so some students are still able to practice despite the challenges. 

“The captains have been hosting dryland practices every other day to just get some form of exercise in,” said Luu. 

Indoor Track

According to senior Ayanna James-Ghachem, a captain of girls’ track along with seniors Jadyn Grant and Adrianna Spinelli, both the girls’ and boys’ track teams are continuing practice as usual despite the lack of a coach presence. 

Both track teams are currently utilizing practice spaces offered by various college athletic track centers, according to  James-Ghachem. The teams also, fortunately, received volunteer coaches to ensure safety throughout practice.

The boys’ track team leadership has faced challenges facilitating practices, according to senior Theo Tezsler, a captain along with seniors Reeve Derby, DJ Harvey, and Jonas Helman. “At the end of the day, I am a captain and won’t get the same respect that Coach Wallace would,” said Teszler. 

Dance

The dance team, according to sophomore Anya Gopal, has struggled to prepare for next week’s nationals as the strike continues. 

“We haven’t been able to perform at basketball games, which is difficult for us because we really want extra practice for nationals,” said Gopal. 

The Universal Dance Association (UDA) is hosting its National Dance Team Championship from Friday, Feb. 2 through Sunday, Feb. 4 at Walt Disney World Resort. 

Gymnastics

The gymnastics team has been unable to hold practices since the strike began, according to senior Eva Riesenburger, a captain along with seniors Deanna Tartaglia, Spike Michel, and Daniella Clark, 

“We are trying to get a practice at my gymnastics club,” said Riesenburger, “but we aren’t sure they will let us.”

According to Riesenburger, the team has continued to hold team dinners which have helped members stay connected and bond throughout the strike. 

Nordic Skiing

For the Nordic ski team, the strike has helped to create bonds between members, according to senior Isabelle Sloan, a captain along with seniors Scott Abbott and Zach Galdston. 

“We have seen people coming together even more than before,” said Sloan. Team members participated in a team lunch and attended rallies in support of their teachers. 

The team has worked with the Nordic ski team at Newton South to find ways to participate in meets. Not having league meets, Sloan said, “would have been very detrimental to the team.”

Wrestling

According to sophomore Sam Danis, team members have been given the option to practice at a gym in Natick for free. This alternative has failed to motivate the team, Danis added.

“The thirty to forty-minute drive to Natick has made the already unhappy team not want to practice,” said Danis.

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Gabe Kolodner, Photo manager
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