Progress promised: An update on LFA’s girls’ athletics

Maya Mitckess, Managing Editor of Digital

LFA’s varsity girls’ swim team gather to hear the plan for practice. (Photo by Maya Mitckess)

Last year the process to rebuild girls athletics officially began with the hire of a new female college coach as the Assistant Athletic Director of Lake Forest Academy’s Athletic Department. With staffing changes, the question at hand is whether this plan is still in progress.

Despite this period of uncertainty, goals for girls’ athletics at LFA are still being accomplished. From constant record-breaking in girls swimming to a very strong girls basketball team, Darrin Madeley, the Athletic Director for LFA, said that, “We’re in a better situation right now than we were a year ago,” in reference to the current state of girls’ athletics. 

Recruiting, whether it be for coaches or athletes, has a trajectory of being successful this year for girls’ athletics. It is a part of the plan for rebuilding female athletics at LFA, and with eight recruits last year, the emphasis on continuing the plan made before staffing changes has made it possible for an even bigger turn out. Having coaches that are qualified will add to that, “I think that the more young women see that high-level (high school and beyond) is a possibility, they too might pursue it someday,” Kerri McCaffrey, LFA’s varsity girls’ swim coach, said. 

The Caxy Athletics Team, a group of students at LFA who promote school spirit and sports, is playing a huge role in this push for  more fans and support at student games. Diana Bishopp ‘23, the Head of the Caxy Athletics Team, said, “We’ve tried to bring up events for the entire school to get involved and try to get kids to come to games…have students support students especially through athletics.” 

Attendance at students’ athletic events is a major part of LFA athletics, as the Caxy Athletics team highlights. While the Boys’ Prep Hockey team is known for drawing in an audience at their games, other sports are looking to do the same. Girls’ volleyball is gaining some significant traction this year when it comes to crowds–a major win for girls’ athletics. Madeley said of this growing popularity, “I think the most popular sport at this school is the girls’ volleyball games, which are louder than the prep hockey games.” 

The coaches of various girls’ sports teams have also been shifting within the past couple of years in terms of growth or focus on qualifications. Madeley discussed coaches of girls teams who are specialized and experienced in the sport they coach from Sarah Taylor, LFA’s varsity tennis coach who played tennis professionally, to Tameka Carter, who played college basketball and is the new girls’ varsity basketball coach. “The hope is that these are the coaches that will bring in more athletes,” Madeley started and then continued with, “If you don’t trust the person that’s coaching you, then you’re in a rough spot.” Coaches play a major role in the way a sports team functions and at LFA “The coaches for the girls’ teams have been very supportive and they’ve been very understanding of being at a top school and also playing sports,” said Bishop. 

Girls’ athletics is a continually evolving segment of the LFA community. Changes from coaching, to recruitment, and overall success are happening and improving already within LFA’s first season of the 2022-2023 school year. This can be seen by anyone who attends an LFA girls’ athletics game in the upcoming seasons. 

LFA’s Varsity Girls’ Field Hockey team plays in a game against North Shore Country Day. (Photo by Maya Mitckess)