By Henry O’Brien ’20 and John Xu ’22 Sports Editors
The winter season is well underway and many of the Mercersburg Academy winter sports teams are experiencing great success. As in the fall, with new faculty come new coaches. Some of these teams include boys varsity basketball, indoor track and field, and the newly restructured squash program.
The evolution of the Blue Storm squash teams into the Mercersburg squash program is overseen by Ryan Tyree. Tyree is a member of the English faculty and is now the first ever director of squash. He comes from Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where he was the head coach of the boys varsity squash team for seven years. At Willistown, Tyree coached the Wildcats to the U.S. Squash Division 6 National Championship. At Mercersburg, Tyree is looking for something greater, saying, “The squash program is a great chance to use my background to see what I can achieve here, so we can attract talent to a place that values squash, which is why I coach the boys and girls.” With his new vision, Tyree brings out the best out in his players. Ali Nurkhaidarov ‘20 said, “No matter what day it is, he is always positive and always brings his fire to practice and matches”.
The boys varsity basketball team, which is having one of its best seasons in recent memory, remains still under the leadership of head coach Sean Crocker. However, coach Crocker’s new assistant coach, Rudy Wise, is a key contributor in creating the team’s success. “[Wise] brings a lot of experience and intensity to the team, so it is nice for the guys have a different voice and perspective,” said Crocker. Wise is an associate director of admissions and arrives at Mercersburg from Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, where he was an assistant for the Rosemont Ravens men’s basketball team. Before that, Wise served as an assistant for the men’s basketball teams of Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania. Now with the Blue Storm, Wise is using his experience to make this season one of the best in school history. “With my experience, I feel like I’m able to provide insight to our players, especially for our seniors, who will be playing in college and beyond, so they can succeed at the next level,” said Wise. So far, Wise’s players have nothing but praise for him. Evan Howley ‘22 said, “Coach Wise brings a lot of helpful knowledge and experience to the team.”
Indoor track and field gains and loses coaches every year. However, their newest addition, Dr. Christian Bancroft is bringing his passion for running, so Mercersburg’s finest runners can dominate the competition. A faculty member of the English department, Bancroft is coming from Temple University as an English instructor. Bancroft has run his whole life, dominating high school competitions. Bancroft did not pursue track in college, but this did not stop him from coaching while he taught in Houston. With his many years of running under his belt, Bancroft is now bringing the best out of Mercersburg track and field athletes. Clara Getty ‘21 said that Bancroft has helped her in many different ways. “He’s emphasized the importance of warming up and cooling down before and after workouts and meets.” Bancroft brings an intensity at meets and practice that unmatched when compared to other coaches. “It comes from the athletes, I love seeing them succeed, just like I love seeing my students succeed in the classroom,” Bancroft said, “It is what my coaches would do when I was in high school and that’s where I get it from.”
This intensity and passion from not just Bancroft, but from Tyree and Wise ensures that in the winter, Blue Storm sports teams will be a force to be reckoned with.