Athletic Excellence at FHS
By Emily M.
There is an indescribable feeling that happens in an athlete’s life that only takes the time of a blink. A fraction of a second in which a competitor, an athlete becomes a champion. It’s a hard feeling to describe unless you’ve experienced, but for those of you who have you know exactly what I am talking about. It’s a feeling like nothing else in the world matters aside from what’s going on right there on the court, or the field or in the pool or the rink or on the track. You feel like jumping, screaming, crying and running all at the same time. You feel everything a little bit more than you normally would because of the adrenaline coursing through your body. I am lucky that I know what this feeling is like. Because I know there are a lot of kids out there, in a lot of different high schools in my province who have never and may never know quite exactly what I’m talking about. Winning a provincial championship at Fredericton High School however is ever so slightly a little different than the feeling I have just depicted because before all those enthralling emotions hit you, you feeling one thing: Relief.
There is something to be said about being the team to beat, until you lose. Here at Fredericton High School, we are known for our athletic excellence. We are competitive and successful in nearly every sport we participate in. Home to 14 different sports, 39 different teams both male and female we are no strangers having the bar set high, and meeting those expectations. There’s a change in atmosphere between the hallway entering the gym and being in the actual gym or the pavement just before you step onto the field, or the hallway that separates you and the ice or the walkway to the pool. Just before you immerse yourself into the sport you are actually about to participate in, the atmosphere changes because you are then about to play for your school, and at Fredericton High School, that truly means something.
Meghan Carson, a multi sport senior at the school playing Volleyball, Softball and Basketball knows the pressures that can be associated with wearing the FHS emblem. “There is a legacy of winners that casts a shadow over every athlete in the school” said Carson “We are expected to be the best because that’s the sort of reputation that has formed around the perception of our athletic programs”. Carson knows what kind of game to expect from her adversaries because every other team, “Everyone brings their “A” game to play FHS, that’s how it has always been. said Carson “They know that you are supposedly the best and there in no one in any conference that isn’t looking to knock of the supposedly best team”. Carson who was captain on both her Softball and Volleyball squads has had her high school life pretty much fully immersed in the athletic community that surrounds the high school. “Some of my greatest high school members have been playing sports said Carson, “Team mates become much like family, coaches become lifelong mentors and our loyal fans in the community become vital pieces on the team. Being part of sport at FHS has made a significant impact on my life.”
Jeff Currie, who has been Fredericton High School’s Athletic Director since 2010 can also appreciate the importance of the role sport plays in the school. “Organized school sports are incredibly important to kids at this age” said Currie, “It gives them an opportunity to feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves in the school, a chance where they can be proud to call themselves a Black Kat.” The Athletic Director also added in a joking manner that it keeps kids out of trouble. And he is right, with 39 different sports teams, and a plethora of sports to chose from, athletics can be an excellent tool to enhance ones high school experience.
In a school where athletics are so dominant and abundant they hold a heavy weight on the schools identity. That is not to say that Fredericton High School’s Arts programs or Music bands are not up to par, because they too set the bar for high achievement in their fields. However it is undeniable that Fredericton High School is a dominating name in the New Brunswick community, and something that really sets our high school apart from others. “It feels good to say that we are so successful in what we do here at FHS” said Currie, “It is a reflection on the work ethic of our athletes and the dedication of our coaches.” Part of what sets Fredericton High School apart from other high schools in the province is the long time dedicated coaches leading our athletic squads. “We get lucky here with good quality coaches,” said Currie “It makes my job a lot easier. It also proves as an advantage to my coaching abilities by getting to know each coaching and learning something from their philosophies” said Currie also noting that having veteran coaches in programs for an extended period of time creates mentoring opportunities for the younger coaches. Currie who himself helped coach the Senior Men’s AAA Hockey team this past season knows how vital well kept coaching secrets can be.
Rick Cotter is an example of this senior mentoring. Most recently he has been the Women’s AAA Varsity coach and won back to back NBIAA Provincial Championships in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. Mr. Cotter has been an active coach at the high school in both women’s and men’s basketball for 47 years, winning 29 NBIAA Provincial Championships. This upcoming season he will readily pass the torch to long time JV women’s basketball coach Kevin Daley. Daley who is also the veteran coach of the cross country and track teams is ready to step up to the varsity plate in the fall. It’s coaches like Rick Cotter and Kevin Daley who make stability in high school athletics possible. Each of the coaches have been in the athletic systems for so long they have made a mark on the program’s success and watched the programs grow. Paul Belanger, another one of FHS’s long standing coaches, has had quite a bit of success himself in Varsity AAA women’s volleyball. Belanger claims he would have a hard time coaching anywhere’s but Fredericton High because of the atmosphere that surrounds our athletic programs. “I have been in a lot of high schools across the province,” said Belanger “Most places have 12 banners hanging on their walls dating back to 1990, and I always think to myself we win that number in the span of a year”.
And it’s true, here at Fredericton High School on average, we bring home about 12 banners per scholastic year. In 2011 we held the record for the most banners won in the province over the course of one school year. This past year 2011-2012 we broke our own record with an astonishing 16 NBIAA Provincial Banners. “It would be pretty challenging to beat 16 provincial banners in one year” said Currie “However it would not surprise me in the least if the athletes at Fredericton High School found a way to meet that challenge”. This past scholastic year the athletes of Fredericton High School proudly brought home 13 NBIAA Provincial Championship banners in a array of sports. Just to name some; Football, Basketball, Badminton, Volleyball and Cross Country. I was lucky enough to play on two Championship winning teams this past season. It truly is a great feeling knowing that you personally contributed to 2 out of those 13 championship banners that get hung in the school.