Over the past two years, Frisch sports teams have gone on an unprecedented run of success in the yeshiva league. All of their eight winter season sports teams—varsity and JV girls volleyball, boys hockey, girls basketball and boys basketball—have advanced to at least the semi-final game in each of the past two seasons. Both years have seen six of the eight teams advance to the finals, and three of those six squads brought home championship titles. Banners commemorating the 2015-2016 champion girls JV volleyball, girls JV basketball and boys JV basketball teams hang in the Frisch gym, to be joined by the 2016-2017 girls JV basketball, boys JV hockey and boys varsity basketball teams in the coming months.
The Cougars’ dominance on court and rink alike has invigorated the fans and school. While victory has been a common theme in the history of Frisch athletics, it has recently reached new heights. Games bring more fans, livestreams draw more viewers, expectations for success are higher and the drive to excel has mounted. Frisch players have nonetheless maintained a level of poise and grace during games. They thrive under the increased pressure, in part, thanks to their classmates and the atmosphere they create. Senior volleyball captain Abigail Rochlin attributes a large part of her team’s successes to these factors. “Frisch students have an unmatched energy which allows them to often make it far in athletics. We might have great athletes but it is our school spirit and drive that really push us.”
While the Frisch fanbase has certainly contributed to the teams’ victories, it would be a mistake to give the chanting crowds all the credit. Each team, with its own rituals and characteristics, has played and trained with the same goal, with their sights set on the championship. The hours of practice put in between games do more than just hone their skills. Senior guard Yisroel Solomon described the varsity basketball team’s source of success in the yeshiva league and Sarachek Tournament as a combination of his teammates’ hard work and the school’s atmosphere. “The Frisch Cougars have had such a successful year because of our ability to work together on and off the court,” he reflected. “Our communication in the games, which allows us to dominate, stems from the strong relationships we build during practices and shootarounds and which Frisch has further fostered.”
Members of the basketball team, like many other teams, do not play with their names on the back of their jerseys. Solomon explains, “We don’t wear our names on our jerseys because we all play for the team and for Frisch. Our success on the court is not ours alone, but belongs to the rest of the players and the entire Frisch community.”
It is impossible to pin down exactly which qualities of Frisch athletic teams has led to their successes. The environment of excitement that surrounds the various sports teams and permeates the Frisch student body, faculty and community is, however, undeniable. The successes that have come across all eight leagues are the outgrowth of the school’s spirit. If the past two seasons are any indication of where the Frisch hockey, volleyball and basketball teams are heading, the walls of the Frisch gym should get ready for more championship banners.
By Benjamin Barth