From the very start of the fall season last August to the last championship game played this past week, St. Margaret’s Middle School athletics had games that were battled to the very end, runners digging deep to cross that finish line, league titles won and Parochial Athletic League championships contested for.
In a year that began with some uncertainly as to how Tartan athletes would approach competition
after the long layoff, the coaches were so happy to see the spirited enthusiasm from the players as they would literally sprint to each practice and proudly wear their uniforms and yell “Game Day” as they walked around campus.
The fall season was just the start of what was to come for the entire year. Volleyball teams battled in a super strong league and made a good showing in the playoffs. Cross Country posted improved times
after each and every meet. The grade 8 football team started the season strong and never looked back as they won the league title
and advanced all the way to the county PAL championship game. Unfortunately, they ran up against an extremely strong St. Hedwig’s team but nonetheless it was the first time in over 10 years that football advanced to the title game.
The winter season approached and with that came some uncertainty but once again, the Tartans proved on the court and on the field that they were up to the challenge. Boys and girls lacrosse welcomed a handful of players new to the sport and were extremely competitive in their league. The boys basketball teams gave it all they had and the coaches were impressed by their improvement throughout the season.
The grade 8 girls basketball team continued what this group had started in grade 6, going 9-1 in league and heading into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed. The girls faced a strong team in the semifinals but for the third straight time the Tartans advanced to the championship game against the always strong St. John the Baptist team from Costa Mesa. It was a battle from the very beginning, no team leading or trailing by more than three points, but as the buzzer sounded the girls came up one point short. The girls were disappointed but also realized as they looked towards high school that girls basketball was in a very strong place.
The spring season came with the realization that the students currently in middle school haven’t had the opportunity to play any spring sports due to the pandemic beginning in March of 2020. The grade 8 boys volleyball, soccer and track athletes were determined to make the most of their only spring season. The grade 8 boys volleyball team faced very little competition in their league season and sailed through the first few rounds of playoffs as the No. 2 seed. Fittingly they would face top-seed St. Hedwig in the championship game to defend the last spring title played in 2019. The game lived up to everyone’s expectations with it going to a third and deciding game. Tied at 11 the Tartans dug deep and rattled off the next three out of four points to win a well-deserved PAL Championship banner
to hang next to the 2019 one.
Next up was the county championship for track and field. Coaches strategically placed their athletes in each event, trying to gain as many points possible. When everything was tallied at the end of the day the girls won their first Middle School Girls PAL Championship in school history. Efforts by each and every girl were impressive as they aimed at scoring points in any event they were entered.
Soccer took center stage the third week of May as the grade 7 and grade 8 teams both won their respective leagues and headed into playoffs determined to add to the banner total. The grade 7 team took on Our Lady of Fatima in the first of championship games. The team came out strong and scored three quick goals and never looked back, winning 7-1.
With that championship secured, it was time for the grade 8 team to finish up the year taking on the Falcons from St. Mary’s. This game was a battle from the very start and the Tartans had to come back twice to tie the score but and unfortunately lost in penalty kicks.
“That soccer championship day was a great example of this past year for the Middle School Athletic program,” Middle School athletic director Lori Fava said. “Every team battled, every team played their hearts out, all the student-athletes gave everything they had. Some earned the championship banner, some earned league titles and a few came up just a bit short, but we are proud of their Tartan Spirit. The fact that we were able to get back to it was the greatest win of them all!”
Way to Go Tartans!!