May 17th, 2012

Elementary Excellence: Youngsters Aim High

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: Youngsters Aim High
photo for St. Leonard

St. Leonard Wolverines grow the K-2 Program

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

In his first school year as Athletic Director, Mike Gandolfo has seen his Wolverines grow in a multitude of ways.

“This was the first year we added flag football, volleyball and basketball opportunities for grades K-2,” said Gandolfo. “We already had soccer, but now with different sports, we offer building blocks for the future in different activities. We want the kids to have skill sets at a young age to take with them as they get older.”

With success and great participation at the younger levels, according to Gandolfo, he says the school offers non-traditional activities as well that are taking off with flying targets.

“Archery and Judo have been offered at St. Leonard as well as other traditional sports, but now we want to incorporate them more under our athletic umbrella,” said Gandolfo. “We want to grow the participation in those sports in the next year.”

Archery, started by a St. Leonard Science Teacher, Angela Sizemore, has become a staple at the school.

“We want to start having tournaments for archery at St. Leonard,” said Gandolfo.

While roughly 15-20 students find their way with archery currently at St. Leonard, four students take part in the Wakaisha Judo Club that Gandolfo hopes to have 15 children participate in by next year.

“Errol Cheatham lead the Judo club at St. Leonard,” said Gandolfo. “My children participate in it, and we hope to bring in more St. Leonard’s kids to it.”

With less than 200 students enrolled at St. Leonard, Gandolfo says that roughly 75%-80% participate in athletics.

“Our kids really enjoy the programs, and we have success in different age levels and sports,” said Gandolfo. “Our seventh and eighth grade boys’ football went to the Toy Bowl this year (with Lourdes), and right now our fifth and sixth grade soccer team is looking really strong. Tori Sachtleben and Brett Sadler are those soccer coaches, and they're doing a great job. In addition to football and soccer, our track team came in third this year.”

Along with great sports teams and a “smoothe year with good coordinators”, he says the fundraising within athletics is a highlight of his year.

“Tim Ising and the athletic committee really worked this year to have five really strong fish fries for the school,” said Gandolfo. “Those fish fries impact the entire community, and our kids at the school volunteered during them. We had two of our strongest fish fry dates ever this year.”

As Gandolfo gets ready for the 2012-2013 school year, he says he excited for the younger Wolverines to keep stepping up to the plate for a bright future.

Said Gandolfo: “Our grades K-2 are very athletic, and they set the tone for the future of what our athletic program will be. I’m excited for the options in athletics we can provide for the younger ones.”


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