April 1st, 2011

Elementary Excellence: St. Margaret Mary

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Margaret Mary
photo from www.smmaa.info

New gym floor serves as showcase for the Mustangs

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

Across from the hustle and bustle of St. Matthews Mall on Shelbyville Road, St. Margaret Mary is home to the Mustangs, known to be one of the largest Catholic grade schools in the Louisville area, with approximately 750 students.

“St. Margaret Mary had an expansion years back, and we went from two to three classes in each grade,” said Athletic Director Cres Bride.

Along with those growing numbers of students in the classroom, there came a large number of participation on the fields and courts in athletic play.

“It seems we now have about 99 percent of participation in athletics at St. Margaret Mary,” said Bride. “Almost every kid participates in at least one sport.”

Bride, in his fourth year as AD at SMM, along with Co-Athletic Director Rick Boeckmann, also in his fourth year, work diligently to make sure the young athletes have the opportunity to play any sport they desire to learn.

“We have participation in every sport,” said Bride. “This year, we are working toward putting together a lacrosse team for 2011-2012 season.”

SMM has enjoyed winning seasons in a multitude of sports over the years, but both athletic directors credit the great coaches and volunteers behind the athletes for making each team successful.

“The people running the sports and teaching the kids make this program successful,” said Boeckmann. “We wouldn’t be anything without them.”

Along with two athletic directors and athletic board, St. Margaret Mary has a slew of parents and volunteers reaching out to help athletes learn specific sports.

As far as success goes for the Mustangs, SMM won eight basketball city championships in 2009-10, as well as three more in 2010-2011. In addition, the school has shown strength consistently in volleyball and football. Boeckmann says he’s excited about some of success from additional sports that are have improved and continue to make their way onto the scene.

“We see a lot of our sports getting better and better,” said Boeckmann. “Leslie Bender has done a great job with the golf team, for instance. We want to make sure to continue to promote sports such as lacrosse, cross-country and field hockey.”

 Kindergarten through eighth grade students are welcome to get involved in sports ranging from swimming to cheerleading. Thus, Bride says there are “lots of opportunities” to get kids started in athletics. 

And with so many kids involved in sports, St. Margaret Mary continues to upgrade their facilities to give updated, well-reputable competition space.

“The school has two gyms, a football field and baseball field on the grounds used for multiple purposes,” said Bride. “We put in a new wood gym floor this past summer, and that’s been great for everyone.”

Boeckmann added the new floor, funded by the athletic department and school together, is safer for the kids and adults that play in leagues at the school. In addition, he says the new floor is appeasing from an aesthetic point-of-view.

“Everybody wants to play on it,” said Boeckmann. “We pushed for a wood floor, and the look is what everyone loves. It’s convenient too because we can have three practices going on at the same time.”

While St. Margaret Mary sees victories on the court, both Bride and Boeckmann agree that first and foremost, they want the kids to have fun.

“The goal for all of the kids is to have fun, learn the game, improve and realize it’s okay to make mistakes,” said Bride. “I want them to be the best athletes they can be.”

Boeckmann added that he also wants the kids to have fun, while learning skills in different sports. He says the success of the SMM program will continue as the school builds further with more great people behind the scenes.

Said Boeckmann: “We really are a community, and we do it together. In order to keep building the program, we need to continue adding on volunteers and coaches to help the kids learn. We are a total athletic program offering all sports, and we want to give the kids the tools to play any sport in high school they want to play.”


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