April 27th, 2012

Elementary Excellence: St. Mary Academy

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Mary Academy
photo from Theresa Whalen

Medley reviews Monarchs 2011-2012 season

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.

In his first year as Athletic Director at St. Mary Academy, Jeff Medley says he is excited about the participation levels in Monarch athletics found around the Norton Commons area grade school.

“This year we’ve seen almost every kid play something,” said Medley. “The participation is around 90%.”

With a background in youth sports and a current career as a police officer, Medley says he is proud of his role with the Monarchs.

“I was an assistant athletic director last year, and I’ve coached everything under the sun. When you’re asked to serve within the parish, you really should step up if your kids are involved,” said Medley. “Our parents and volunteers are great, and the kids here love to compete. I noticed how much our coordinators stepped up this year. They are driving the bus, and I’m proud of them.”

According to Medley, many of his parents and volunteers come to coach the Monarchs with exceptional athletic backgrounds themselves, including coach Dean Wells. Wells grew up in Catholic athletics and went onto play football for the Seattle Seahawks.

“We are proud of the athletic experience the coordinators and coaches have,” said Medley. “As we look to have more teams and host more games, we know we need more people involved. We are already planning for a pre-season basketball jamboree and Christmas tournament next year.”

With goals looking into next season, Medley says he looks back on this school year with pride.

“We are in our spring sports season, and it’s been very exciting. Daron Teague is our soccer coordinator, and he’s done an awesome job generating interest. We have had a large amount of signups point to where we could have all girl and all boy teams at multiple levels. In addition, our track coordinator, Theresa Whalen, started the program last year with about 30 kids. We have doubled that this year with more than 60 kids running track.”

In addition to soccer and track, Medley says sports like tennis, field hockey and swimming are flourishing as well.

“We doubled participation in swimming from last year to this year,” said Medley. “Dan Letterle headed up that effort, and the kids placed at high levels. That was very exciting this past year.”

With success previously known on the football and basketball fields, Medley said the school that founded in 2008 is still young, but busting at the seams with young students wanting to get involved in all sports.

“We see a great amount of participation with grades K-2 that seems to be growing in sports such as volleyball, soccer and flag football,” said Medley.

As far as facilities go, St. Mary Academy recently refurnished their outdoor field space. While Medley said the school has enjoyed the renovation, the athletic program will continue to look for field space and further practice opportunities for the student athletes.

“Our church is still being completed,” said Medley. “It’s a challenge to find enough field time for our teams and we want to host more games in the future. We will work on coordinating field space for next year.”

With changes and growing opportunities for Medley and his Monarchs, Medley says one of his favorite memories of this past year sums up his first year experience perfectly. He says he hopes to see the Monarchs continue to expand with the right philosophy grounded in faith.

Said Medley: “I’m really proud of this past year’s basketball city championship. I watched how our kids competed, the class they displayed, and the Christian spirit they displayed. After the game, when it was tough to lose, they handled themselves with good sportsmanship. These kids just have a heart to compete.”


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