The St. Mary’s High School golf team won the MIAA Div. 3 state championship on Oct. 29, marking the 12th consecutive year that the school has captured at least one state title, but there will no resting on their laurels on Tremont Street.
Aware that scholastic sports are every bit as much about participation as championships, St. Mary’s Athletic Director Jeff Newhall announced that the school will be offering field hockey, co-ed crew and girls rugby starting with the 2019-20 school year. The teams will participate at the club level next year with an intention of moving up to sub-varsity and varsity in subsequent years, based on participation and interest.
St. Mary’s currently fields teams in 19 MIAA-recognized sports plus cheerleading.
“We’re excited to be able to introduce these new sports at St. Mary’s,” Newhall said. “We are very proud of the legacy of success of our teams, as well as the important role athletics plays as a co-curricular activity at the school.”
One of the primary reasons for adding the sports, Newhall said, is to increase the opportunities St. Mary’s student-athletes will have to play at the collegiate level. With that in mind, the new sports were chosen strategically.
Field hockey is the second-most played sport in the world (after soccer). Crew is one of the fastest-growing women’s sports with a 63 percent increase in participation since its inception as an NCAA sport in 1997. There are a disproportionate number of scholarships available in crew, Newhall said, adding that St. Mary’s will be partnering with Endicott College and area crew clubs to get the program off the ground. The school has already received donated boats from generous benefactors.
Rugby is the fastest-growing women’s sport in the country. In 2017-18, there were 10 colleges offering rugby with a total of 478 female players vying for 24 scholarships (Div. 1 and 2), worth an average of $8,815, according to scholarshipstats.com.
“Adding these sports not only sets up our students for the chance to play at the next level, it also provides expanded opportunities for them to compete in high school,” Newhall said. “We emphasize the student in student-athlete and the results show. We have a high percentage of student-athletes in the National Honor Society, and students who play at least one sport perform better academically than those who do not participate.”
St. Mary’s recently announced a new scholarship program – Garrity Scholars, named for former pastor Msgr. Paul V. Garrity — available to students entering ninth grade. Garrity Scholars is a $1 million scholarship program that will provide 10 full scholarships (tuition and fees) per year. Garrity Scholars is a competitive merit-based award program that will recognize the best and brightest students interested in a transformative, Catholic and STEM-focused education offered at St. Mary’s. Applications for the scholarships are due Dec. 15.