A Tribute to Winter Sports Captains


(Credit: Adam Richins Photography)

Hana Shinzawa '24 and Rosie Reale '24

Everyone can agree that this sports season has been a crazy one. Covid-19 has transformed how athletes practice and compete and brought many challenges. However, throughout these changes, four captains have been instrumental in helping their teams to become better. Amira Akar ‘21, Katherine Flynn ‘21, and Colleen Casey ‘22 have led the Varsity Basketball team in practices and intrasquad scrimmages. Gabriella Bachiochi ‘21 has led the Winter Track Team through practices and a few indoor meets. These captains have helped their teammates become better athletes and have helped them adapt to their sport during unprecedented times. 

Amira Akar ‘21 has been a dedicated basketball player since 5th grade, only taking a break because of a broken ankle in her sophomore year. She reflected on her growth as a player and as a person: “Basketball used to be a sport that really scared me and intimidated me, but now I find comfort when I get to practice and play games.” As a captain, she encourages younger girls to become more confident and comfortable on the court. She added: “I am still trying to improve my skills, and I can safely say that getting on the court is something I look forward to every day after school.” Amira encourages her teammates with her laughter and energetic attitude. 

Katherine Flynn ‘21 has been playing basketball for nearly 10 years and has played for Montrose since 6th grade. She grew up around the sport, so it was natural for her to play, and she continues to enjoy the competitiveness of the sport. Her enthusiastic spirit is obvious at practices where she never hesitates to cheer others on. Although the basketball season looks a little different because of Covid-19, she is still able to keep up a positive attitude. After being asked about how Covid-19 has affected the season, she said: “Obviously we have no games and we can’t do some of the drills because of Covid, but I think it has also helped bring the team closer together because we’re all going through it together and it’s been a learning experience for everyone.” Her positive outlook helps inspire her teammates to stay enthusiastic, even when the season is so different.  

 Colleen Casey ‘22 has been playing basketball since she was eight years old. Basketball gives her a different perspective than the other sports she plays, and she loves its competitive nature. The team aspect of basketball is also very important to her, and she maintains that this unusual season has allowed her to focus more on it. She said: “Because you’re not focusing on games this season, you can focus more on yourself and the team. All of us are getting better as a team, and individually it’s definitely a time to get better for yourself.” Colleen always encourages her teammates to be better and always sets a good example for younger players.  

All three captains have done so much for the Varsity Basketball Team this year.  Sophie Cronin ‘23 said: “They’re amazing, and they all bring a lot of great energy to the practices.”  Varsity Basketball Coach Kay agreed: “All three captains possess great leadership skills, maintain a quality work ethic and lead their teammates by example, from always leading team warm ups before practice to cheering on their teammates during practice. All of them bring something special and different to this team and it wouldn’t be the same without them this season!”  Each captain has encouraged the team and helped them better within and without the sport.  Kenzie Cassler ‘24 agreed and added: “They’re so nice and really supportive,” which is a sentiment shared by the rest of the Varsity Basketball Team. 

Gabriella Bachiochi ‘21 is a lifelong runner, and she joined the Track Team in 8th grade. During the track season, she also played soccer outside of school, but she eventually decided to give up spring soccer after her sophomore year after realizing that playing both sports at once put too much stress on her shins. When asked why she chose track, she said: “I love track because I love challenging my body in practice to see how much I can improve. I have always loved competing, and track meets bring me that healthy rush of adrenaline. I love being there with my team, watching talented athletes, making my coaches and teammates proud, and constantly pushing myself to see where it can take me.” At every practice and meet, Gabriella’s love for the sport is clear, and her teammates appreciate her excellent leadership and encouraging attitude. Kasey Corra ‘22, future track captain and friend of Gabriella, said: “I really admire her team outlook. Gabriella is so encouraging to younger girls, and that’s something that I want to work on.” Cate Lynch ‘24 added: “I have looked up to G as an athlete and a person ever since I played soccer with her last fall. She has always been so supportive of me and has inspired me to always keep improving.” Many of her teammates feel the same way. Coach Kerr also noted her team-oriented mindset as one of her greatest strengths. Despite facing challenges, which include both shin splints and a pandemic, Gabriella has been able to stay focused and positive. Coach Kerr said: “Losing last spring to Covid was a big disappointment for her, but throughout the pandemic, she has remained focused on making the most of every competitive opportunity and has been a tremendous leader for our winter track team. She has travelled to Chicago, run against Olympic-level athletes in September, and raced at every opportunity this winter.” Gabriella’s determination and leadership have made her a captain able to inspire her team daily.

Thank you to Amira, Katherine, Colleen, and Gabriella. Your enthusiasm and positivity have elevated your teams and have inspired younger athletes to grow in their love for their sports. The varsity basketball and winter track teams are so grateful for your leadership and are inspired to strive to follow in your footsteps as athletes and as people. 

Hana Shinzawa ’24 & Rosie Reale ’24

24hshinzawa@montroseschool.org, 24rreale@montroseschool.org