February 23rd, 2012

Elementary Excellence: St. Michael

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Michael
photo courtesy of Gwen Crawford

Undefeated basketball team brings thrill to AD

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.

The young Knights of St. Michael continue to grow and improve their athletics.

And fifth year athletic director Dan Ryan says his seventh and eighth grade girls “B” team recently showcased a prime example of that improvement.

“They were the first undefeated team (15-0) we’ve had, and that’s a is a big deal to us. They won their city championship this year at Trinity. That team’s pretty special with their community service involvement, and we had a chance to teach them about basketball and life this season. It’s the highlight of the year, it really is.”

In addition to the seventh and eighth grade girls, Ryan said his fifth and sixth grade girls “B” team also won a city championship and provided much excitement around the school.

“It was the first time we had two teams win city in the same sport season,” said Ryan. “For some schools, it may not be a big deal, but for us it was a pretty huge deal.”

While the school is still growing with new students, Ryan says he takes each new step in stride.

“We are still a young school as we were established in 1997,” said Ryan. “We do have good participation, and our numbers have increased. For instance, we had seven basketball teams this year for boys grades three and four, where there used to be just three or four teams. We are adding classes to grades with about 540-550 students altogether.”

And with new victories through this year’s basketball season, Ryan said he likes to continue to impress the basics upon the student athletes.

“For our teams, leadership and team bonding are important so everybody knows their roles. In order to form a team, the kids need to have team spirit and buy into the team atmosphere,” said Ryan.

With a church renovation still in the works, Ryan said he continues to look forward hopefully to new athletic venue space including a new football, baseball and soccer facility built within the next five years. And with his goals for the teams looking well into the future, he said there are a few exciting elements just around the corner moving into this spring.

“We did win girls softball (grades seven and eight) in city last year, and we want to try to repeat that. As an addition, we didn’t have track last year, and we are excited to offer that this spring.”

And with new classes being added year-to-year to each grade, Ryan said he is always following the youngest student athletes.

And with an emphasis on learning the fundamentals while also sharing in the spirit of sportsmanship and community service, it’s very possible the younger kids are laying the groundwork to one day win city championships too.

Said Ryan: “For the younger grades (K-2), we offer soccer in the fall and spring and for grades (1-2) basketball and volleyball have done very well. It’s always good to get them in early. Our sports overall are really progressing now.”


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