Soccer and the Outing Club are Back. Boys Hockey to Field Two Teams.

Students arriving at Northwood School in the fall of 2017 will once again be able to play competitive soccer. Other changes to the school’s athletic program include turning the rock climbing program into the Northwood Outing Club and the elimination of one hockey team; the school will field two boys hockey team and one girls team.

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The return of soccer has been met with excitement by many students. Soccer will be open to everybody, even hockey players.  Hockey players will play soccer 3-4 days a week, and play hockey the other 3.  Students who do not play hockey will play soccer all week long.  Both boys and girls teams will be playing about 8-10 games.  The coaches are still to be assigned.

One of the main reasons for the return of soccer, according to Athletic Director Mr. Gino Riffle, will be to have better student interaction.  What he noticed this year was that with the extended hockey season (September to mid-March), the “hockey players” were in the same friend group for most of the year, and associated mainly with each other.  Mr. Riffle thinks that having a soccer season will give the hockey players a better chance to interact with different kids, which is always a good thing.

The administration also plans to move to a trimester schedule next year.  With the semester schedule, some sports ran late.  For example, the crew team still had to row a week after the first quarter ended this year.  Using a trimester schedule will better align the academic and athletic schedules.

barrier3The rock climbing program led by Mr. Mellor will also undergo much change.  It will become more of a “Northwood Outing Club,” according to Mr. Riffle.  Next year, it will include more trips and more of an Adirondack experience than just a few hours of rock climbing each day.  The final steps of this program are still being worked out with Mr. Mellor in charge. Mr. Riffle is optimistic about the changes. “We always look at ways to add programs that we should have that we currently don’t and enhance the ones we do have but have not been as successful as they could be,” he said. The Northwood Outing Club existed in the past and focused on hiking and camping expeditions. Mr. Mellor was a member when he was a Northwood student.

The hockey program will also change for the boys. The girls program will remain the way it is: one team.  The boys however, will be going from three teams to two teams.  Neither team will be age restricted. Next year will be something like a Varsity A and Varsity B, but the names of the teams have yet to be settled.

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An obvious question comes to mind when learning that more than twenty boys hockey roster slots will disappear next year: Will some students who want to play hockey be denied that opportunity?  Mr. Riffle says no.  He and the Admission team have very carefully taken note of the number of hockey players graduating or leaving the school, and admitted the appropriate amount of hockey players next year to fill only 2 rosters.  The numbers work out so that next year we will have approximately 25 fewer male hockey players, and 25 new students with other interests such as music, arts, or other sports, etc.

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