A coordinated approach

Among the many important changes Friends’ Athletic Director Kara Carlin made when she joined the School in 2017 from St. Timothy’s was the appointment of Program Coordinators for each of the 19 different interscholastic sports we offer year-round. Often the head coaches of our Varsity squads, these dedicated individuals work closely with Middle School and JV coaches to build a sense of community among younger and older players and to ensure continuity and consistency in training and player development. Sports Information Director Ken Zalis reached out to our spring program coordinators to learn a little about them, on and off the field, and get their thoughts on the 2019 season. Read on and GO QUAKES!

BADMINTON coordinator Tom Buck has been teaching English and drama at Friends since 1987. An adjunct professor at CCBC Essex for 28 years, Tom has also served on the faculties at Boys’ Latin and Mt. St. Joseph High School. Tom’s coaching experience spans four decades, beginning in the 1970s as a cross country and track coach at Mt. St. Joe’s and Gilman School, and continuing through the 90s and early 2000s, with soccer, indoor soccer, and baseball coaching stints at Parkville Recreation League and St. Isaac Jogues School, before taking over the Badminton program at Friends in 2002.
Tom walks the talk when it comes to sports, especially badminton. He played at the club level in high school and continues to play, competing in many doubles and mixed doubles tournaments over the years. In 2017 he was runner-up in the seniors’ badminton tournament. He also ran track and cross country in high school and completed one season of each at Washington University in St. Louis.
As for his 2019 Quakers, Tom says, “I’m going out on a limb and saying that Rita Li ‘20 WILL repeat as IAAM singles champion. The suspense will be seeing how far Sofia Geocadin ‘19 and Ally Mosmiller ’19 get in the doubles tournament after making it to the semis last spring.”

BASEBALL is in Will Marbury’s blood. An Upper School math teacher and coach at Friends since 2012, Will served on the coaching staff before taking over as Varsity head coach in 2018. Prior to joining the School, he coached and taught at Cristo Rey Jesuit and Sandy Spring Friends High Schools; He has played in competitive adult leagues in Baltimore and DC and for Oberlin College during his student days.

Looking ahead, Will points to a number of exciting developments for the 2019 Quakers, most notably the return of a JV squad, thanks in part to a talented 9th grade class. Rob Miller ’08 and Justin Prushansky ’08, back for their second year, will serve respectively as coach and assistant coach, along with Eric Proper and Brian Doyle, of that emerging team. Coach Marbury will look to key contributors, including Zach Raynes ’20, Luke Rollfinke ’21, Franklin Wagner ’20, Sam Haas ’19, Dan Musachio ’21, and Jeremy Weinberg ’19, who will be joined by upstar Wyatt Bordick ’22, Jacob Grossman ’22, Will Levy ‘22, and Lucas Monaldi-Fisher ’22 to create “a solid team with deep pitching,” he says, noting, “We barely missed the playoffs last year and hope to be major contenders this year.”

With two championships to their name in the last three years, there’s little doubt that GOLF has flourished under the leadership of head coach Paul Levine, now in his fourth year at Friends. A true student of the game, Paul brings more than 40 years’ experience to the program, working side by side with players to develop their skill sets and up their level of play. His leadership will be more important than ever during what he sees as a rebuilding year for the Quakers. “The team has a tough task ahead of them,” he says. “With only three starters remaining from last year’s team, captain Kiefer Yost ‘19, along with Will Crosby ‘21 and Andrew Reibman ’21, will be relied upon heavily this season. Positive attitudes will hopefully lead us to another successful run.”

Now in his third year at Friends, Upper School Dean of Student Life Bill Ball is the Varsity BOYS LACROSSE head coach, a position he’s held for two years, having joined Friends from The Calverton School (2012-2015), where he was Dean of Student Life and coached then-#1 recruit in the country, Bubba Fairman. A two-time US Lacrosse Coach of the year (2013, 2015), Bill has coached two Under Armour All-Americans and sent 18 players to play Division I lacrosse over the last six seasons. His extensive lacrosse career includes assistant coaching positions at Loomis Chaffee School, Phillips Exeter Academy, and St. Lawrence University, and his time playing for Bates College, of which he is a 2005 graduate.

For his 2019 Quakers, Bill hopes to build off of last year’s 16-3 season. “Having graduated 12 seniors, the Quakers look to pick up where we left off. Led by seniors Jack Bauer (43 goals), Carter Jones (defense), Clayton Abrecht (21 goals) and Andrew Nathans (FO), Friends has the leadership and experience in place to succeed. Underclassmen Harry Deller ’21 (18 goals) and Ned Forbush ’21 (30 goals) head a talented group of young, offensive players, while Eli Sherbakov ’20 looks to join Jones and anchor a defense that will try to replicate last year’s league-best goals against average.

Entering her 9th year as Varsity GIRLS LACROSSE head coach, Mandy Hudson has led her teams to a combined 101-33 record and 2 IAAM championships (2012, 2014). Before taking over the program in 2011, Mandy served as an assistant women’s lacrosse coach at her alma mater, University of Maryland (1994-1999), where she was a two-time All-American and in 1993 was named National Goalkeeper of the Year. Mandy was also a member of the US Lacrosse Squad from 1990 to 1996. Away from Friends, she is a certified health coach.

Looking to the 2019 season, Mandy says, “This will be a fantastic year as we return 14 players, including four seniors, from last year's roster and add several new faces to the team. We are looking forward to the hard work, teamwork and cohesive play Friends School women’s lacrosse has come to represent.”

Our own Sports Information Director Ken Zalis (KZ as he is affectionately known) this spring will enter his 11th year of coaching SOFTBALL at Friends, his 10th as the Varsity Head Coach, where he also serves as the assistant athletic director. His teams have made two-straight appearances in the IAAM playoff and in 2018 brought home their first championship since 2005. Outside of Friends KZ is a sports writer for Pressbox, where he covers Fantasy Football and the NFL draft and is considered one of the top “experts” in the county on those topics.
Asked about his outlook for this season KZ says, “We graduated three All-Conference players last year, but juniors Olivia Nengel ’20 and Julia Parker ’20 will provide strong leadership. With only four returning starters, we are very excited about our younger players taking the next step. We will be young, but very competitive once again.”

TENNIS’s Aaron Smolarz came to Friends in 2017 from St Timothy’s School where he coached for one year. Prior to that Aaron held boys (2005-2013) and girls (2011-2013) varsity tennis coaching positions, leading the boys to the MIAA A conference playoffs over eight consecutive years before the team moved to B Conference in 2013 and won the championship. A certified tennis instructor by the USPTA, Aaron served as assistant director at the Suburban Club from 2008 to 2016 and, prior to that, served for eight years as assistant camp director, junior academy director, marketing head, and tennis professional at Baltimore Fitness and Tennis. On the court, Aaron was ranked as a USTA junior player, and competed for Towson University in 2002.

Looking to the spring 2019 boys’ season at Friends, Aaron hopes to build around returning singles starters Andrew Zejmis ‘20 and Will Tannebaum '21 as well as doubles starters Sander Schulhoff ‘20, Alex Madsen ‘20 and Noah Tunis ‘20. Additionally, “We have a very young squad this year but a strong freshmen class should help significantly bolster both JV and Varsity.”

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