By Ben Dugan ’11, Athletic and Student Life Assistant
With just five girls and seven boys, the cross country team improved every day. Led by senior captain Josie DeFreese and 2017 Semi-State qualifier Jacob Sitzman ’21 (right), the runners pushed themselves daily throughout the summer in the 90-plus-degree heat.
At the City meet on Sept. 29, Sitzman earned All-City Honors. A few days later the Crusaders traveled to Blue River Valley Park to compete in the Indiana Crossroads Conference meet. DeFreese and Sitzman both earned All-Conference honors.
At the New Palestine Sectional, Sitzman, DeFreese, Abby Page ’20 and Liam Rolfson ’21 qualified for the Regional round. In the Regionals DeFreese and Sitzman qualified for Semi-State, where Sitzman finished 124th out of 178 with a time of 17:41.8 seconds (2:37.4 off the lead) and DeFreese finished 152nd with a time of 22:18.8 (4:47.2 off the lead).
The 2018 soccer season began with much optimism. The team had lost a number of key contributors from the 2017 Regional qualifying team, but senior Jonathan Tinoco was returning with a chance to break the school’s all-time goals record.
Tinoco and fellow senior captains JR Fulmore and Nate Bowman led the Crusaders into the opening game against ICC foe Lutheran. For much of the game, the season opener looked in doubt until Tinoco made a goal from well outside the box. After the scoreless overtime period the game went to penalty kicks and sophomore goalkeeper Garrett Nolan, in his first varsity start, made several tremendous saves as the Crusaders escaped with the win. The boys then won four of their next five games.
During the fifth game, against Monrovia, the Crusaders were celebrating past Crusader teams. A week later, in a match against Park Tudor, Tinoco scored his 87th career goal, becoming the new all-time scoring leader. Tinoco finished his Scecina career with 100 goals.
Midway through the year, the Crusaders traveled to Hamilton Heights to participate in their Invite. In the first game Scecina handled Tipton with ease 5-0. In the championship Scecina faced the host Huskies. The Crusaders won 3-1 to bring home the trophy (left).
In the first round of Sectionals, Scecina faced Indianapolis Washington. After a hard-fought overtime in a 1-1 tie, the game went to penalty kicks. With another great performance by Nolan, the Crusaders outshot Washington and advanced. In the Sectional Semi-Final against Christel House Academy, the Crusaders found themselves back in penalty kicks after playing to a 3-3 tie. Unfortunately, the ball bounced the other way and the Golden Eagles won.
The boys finished the season 11-6 (3-3 ICC). Tinoco earned All-City and All-ICC honors and was named to the NSCA All-District Team. Junior William Curiel also earned All-ICC Honors.
Led by senior captains Mac Ayres, Matthew Funk, and Patrick Lyons, the Crusaders set out to defend their back-to-back Indiana Crossroads Conference Championships and make a run in the state tournament. The Crusaders began the year with wins over Shenandoah 28-26, Speedway 41-6, Park Tudor 37-6, and Beech Grove 21-12.
The Crusaders then traveled to the Southside for a showdown with the Roncalli Rebels. On the first series of the game the Rebels were faced with a 4th-and-1, where they handed the ball off to their running back, City Athlete of the Year. The Crusaders’ TyiShaun Woods ’20 burst through the Rebel line and dropped their man for a three-yard loss. On the second play after a turnover on downs, City Offensive Player of the Year Mac Ayres hit Armahn Hillman ’21 for a 51-yard touchdown pass that sent a message throughout the southside, “This is not the normal CYO beat down of Scecina, The Crusaders are here to play.” The game continued back and forth until the Rebels took a 38-21 lead with 5:48 left in the game. The Crusaders continued to fight and scored to make the final out come 38-28.
The Crusaders bounced back from the Roncalli defeat to win their remaining games against Lutheran 50-7, Triton Central 20-0, Ritter 54-25, and Monrovia, 35-21. The Crusaders finished the regular season 8-1 and undefeated in the conference for their third straight ICC championship.
The boys won their first Sectional game, beating Centerville coach and Scecina graduate Kyle Padgett ’01 and his Bulldogs, 42-2. In the second round the Crusaders handled Heritage Christian with ease 47-26 behind the running attack of Tavon Middlebrook and two special teams scores. The Sectional championship was a rematch of the regular-season clash with Triton Central. The rematch involved one of the most memorable drives in Scecina football history. Scecina, trailing 27-30, got the ball back with 2:05 remaining. On 4th and 10 with the Crusaders’ season on the line Ayres found fellow senior Andrew Payne for a 26-yard gain and the biggest first down of the season. Ayres then completed back-to-back - yard passes before hitting All-City and All-Conference receiver David Baker for a 30-yard touchdown with 1:01 left. The Tigers then marched down the field and were faced with one final play from the Crusader 20. Baker broke on the ball and knocked it away, giving the Crusaders a 34-30 win and another Sectional championship (picture, above right).
The Regional championship game was a rematch of the 2017 game against Western Boone. The game was a stalemate until midway through the second quarter when Ayres found Hillman for a touchdown. On the ensuing Stars possession, senior DB Jake Rebein forced a fumble and junior DB Ahmir Lloyd recovered. Unfortunately, time ran out on the Crusader drive and the score remained 7-0 at the half. In the second half, WeBo jumped out to a 13-7 lead on the Crusaders. With the weather worsening, the Crusaders’ offense began to sputter. Western Boone defeated Scecina 19-7 and claimed the Regional crown.
The 2018 girls soccer season began with a change Scecina math teacher Mark Manganaro taking over as the head coach. The season got off to a rough start as the Crusaders lost their first six games. ">
After beating Indianapolis Washington 7-1 for their first win on the season, the girls dropped their next matchup to Covenant Christian. The girls then traveled to ICC foe Triton Central. Throughout recent history the Tigers have been a tough opponent. Coach Manganaro made a drastic switch, moving some key offensive players to defense and utilizing freshman phenom Madelynn Martin on the offensive attack. The switch was key in the girls’ 3-2 upset of Triton. The Crusaders then won three of their remaining four regular season games to end the regular season 5-8.
In postseason play the girls took on fellow ICC member Lutheran in the first round. The girls fought their way to a 7-0 Sectional win. In the Sectional semi-finals the girls ran into host school Park Tudor. The Panthers were too much to handle. The girls finished the season 6-9, but had a winning record of 4-3 in the Indiana Crossroads Conference.
The 2018 tennis season was a rebuilding year for the Crusaders. The team returned only two players with varsity experience, senior captains Brendan Schreiber and James Hentz. With the lack of experience, the Crusaders dropped their first four matches before beating ICC rival Lutheran. The Crusaders next went 1-2 in in the Speedway-Beech Grove-Ritter Invitational.
The Crusaders drew Decatur Central in the Sectional semi-finals. The Crusaders battled all the way to the end and came up just short, losing 2-3. Crusaders No. 1 player, Schreiber, advanced to the individual Sectional. Schreiber was the first Crusader to advance to the Individual portion of Sectionals in years.
Expectations for the 2018 volleyball season were high with only two players graduating from the 2017 ICC championship team. The girls entered the season relying on the leadership and experience of the 10 returning seniors.
Following the leadership of senior co-captains Lily Aebly, Hannah Burck, Julia Johnston, and Audrey Maue, the Crusaders entered the City tournament on a five-game winning streak that included first place in the Speedway Invitational. In the first two rounds of the City tournament, the Crusaders did not drop a set, beating both Manual and Ritter 3-0. This set up a City Semi-Final matchup against Cathedral. The girls fell short to the Irish 0-3. Maue and junior Madi Beriault earned spots on the All-City Tournament Team.
After a favorable draw and a win over the Shortridge Blue Devils in three sets, the Crusaders entered the Sectional Championship. In the championship game vs. Heritage Christian, a rematch of last year’s championship game against Heritage Christian, the Crusaders fell 3-0 in a hard-fought loss.
The girls finished with a 19-13 record and second place in the ICC at 6-1. Aebly and Maue earned All-City and All-ICC Honors. Beriault earned All-ICC Honors.