As Thanksgiving approaches and fall winds to a close, the winter sports season at Asheville School is officially underway. Blues wrestling and the boys and girls basketball teams have all competed in their first games or scrimmages, and swimming will face off against Asheville High School on November 17.
There is a lot to look forward to this season, according to Asheville School's winter coaches.
The boys basketball team has eight returning players and a number of newcomers who will increase the speed and skill of the team, according to Head Coach Carl Boland. "We are pleased to welcome Major Eason and Kris Castro to our team, as well as Adonis Guo and Darden Smith from last year's junior varsity squad," Boland said. "Major is a true point guard with the skill to run our offense and shoot the ball from deep. Kris is a natural talent with cat-like quickness and has the potential to be a real spark for us off the bench. We will rely on senior returners Ahmad Galimore and Evan Mellon to play big minutes and make big plays for us on the offensive and defensive ends of the court."
The boys basketball schedule has expanded this year, and the Blues will play more games against a wider range of teams across four states.
Boland is also looking forward to the Asheville School Alumni Game, when the varsity team will face a squad of returning alumni including their coach, as Boland himself graduated from Asheville School in 1999. "We are very happy to bring back the Alumni Game," he said. "This is a great opportunity for our athletes to compete against and get to know alumni who have been in their shoes. It's an important support network for our players, and I look forward to the event this Saturday."
Girls varsity basketball has 10 returning players, seven of whom are seniors, who will bring experience to the squad.
Head Coach Tyler Ortiz is looking forward to the season and says he is excited about the improvement that the team has shown thus far. "Nicole Alleyne will be a player to watch," Ortiz said. "She recorded a double-double--11 points and 11 rebounds--in our first game. Raven Walters and Counti McCutchen are both four-year varsity players, and we will rely on them for their leadership both on and off the court."
This year's team plays with defensive intensity and will look to play an exciting brand of basketball this season, Ortiz says.
Blues wrestling hosts a small but determined group, according to Head Coach Lecky Haller. "The Fearsome Five is a tenacious crew composed of four freshmen: John Barwick, John McCurry, Jose Salazar, and Will Chouinard," Haller said. "They are led by senior Bennett Zimmerman."
While the team may be young, Haller says they are ready to jump in. "We are looking to improve individually and learn a bit about one of the oldest and toughest sports," he said.
Blues swimming is looking to have an excellent season. Assistant Coach Cali Girard joins Head Coaches Frank Kriegler and Laura Lawrence, and Kriegler says Girard's experience and knowledge will be a great asset for the team.
With a robust roster of returning swimmers—including three state champions and nine athletes who scored at the state level last year—combined with a slate of strong new students, swimming promises to have an exciting season.
Last year, the swim team had a stellar year with swimmers breaking multiple school records. The girls and boys teams took third place in the NCISAA 3A State Championship meet, and returning swimmers Nathan Alleyne, Abby Kriegler and Alec Sands all earned podium finishes in individual events.
Frank Kriegler says that he expects several new freshmen—Connor Smith, Crow Thorsen, Gordon Boggan, Michael Chang, Patrick Zhou, and Lacy Westle—to all make significant contributions to this year's team.
Their first test will come on November 17, when the Blues will swim against Asheville High School at home in the Ambler Pool. Be sure to follow Asheville School Athletics on Twitter for updates on this meet and on all the games in the winter season! Go Blues!