April 22nd, 2011

Elementary Excellence: Ascension

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

Elementary Excellence: Ascension
photo from Ascension Grade School

Athletic program thrives regardless of small numbers

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.

Although there is definite validity to the old saying, "there's power in numbers," Louisville's Ascension Elementary School has proven over the years that success is not about volume, it's about efficiency.

With approximately 230 students at Ascension, the Longhorns have continued to thrive athletically and can even boast a boys basketball team that has earned several CSAA championships over the past two years, and a 3rd/4th grade football team that went undefeated after joining forces with St. Martha.

Ascension's comprehensive athletic program is overseen by an athletic board, which is made up of three directors - Athletic Director Dink Horstman, Assistant Athletic Director Darla Radcliff, and Assistant Athletic Director Mark Steurer - and an array of coaches. The parish Pastor (Rev. Gary Padgett) appoints the athletic director and assistant athletic director. Up to a seven man and seven woman committee is selected from the parish-at-large.

This committee is the coordinating body for all sports and establishes the policies and direction of the entire sports program.

The principal at Ascension, Mary Jo Ellis, says the school and parish continue to be proud of the achievements of the student-athletes, and that the administration will continue to work had to create vast opportunities for children who want to stay active.

"Ascension offers a variety of year-round sports for students in grades K-8 giving all students a chance to participate in their areas of strength," said Ellis. "We collaborate with other schools to field teams, when necessary, so these opportunities remain available."

Ellis and Co. have certainly held up their end of the bargain, as the Longhorns currently offer 12 different sports, including football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, swimmimg, field hockey (girls), golf, track, cross country, tennis, soccer, and cheerleading (girls).

Next month, Ascension will also offer and host a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at the school for boys and girls in grades 3-12, which will also a chance for local high school students to get involved. There will be four players on a team and the entry fee is $80 per team.

"With all the emphasis and research to support the connection between physical activity and learning, Ascension School is incorporating more opportunities each school day next year to allow students chances to move, get fit, and develop coordination so the efforts transfer to athletics in extracurricular programs," said Ellis.

For more information on the aforementioned 3-on-3 basketball tournament at Ascension or for more information, call Robert Horstman at 479-9859.

To see Ascension student-athlete Michael Wheatley and other Catholic elementary "Rising Stars" from around town, click here.


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