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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Is the PVAC a good fit for WIS?


Over the past 20 years in the PVAC, WIS has experienced overwhelming success in both soccer and volleyball, but is this great success a signal for a change of leagues?

In recent years, WIS’ success in certain sports has raised the question; Is the PVAC the right sports league for WIS? Both boy’s and girl’s soccer and volleyball have been WIS’ most successful sports for a long time and players are starting to wonder whether or not WIS is ready to move to a more competitive league. But, since all sports teams have to change when switching to a better conference, some of WIS’ worse teams might struggle with winning any matches at all.

The WIS boys’ Varsity Soccer team has won nine of 10 PVAC championships and has dominated the PVAC for the past decade. Our girls’ soccer team also had a great season and has proven to be the most successful teams in the PVAC by winning the PVAC banner in back-to-back seasons. For the past five years, the WIS girls volleyball team has won four out of the five championships and broke Covenant Life’s 12-year winning streak in the year 2013.

Tom O’Mara has worked with the WIS’ athletic program for several decades. He has seen the development of WIS’ sports program and understands the sports culture at WIS better than anyone. He doesn’t think that WIS should move to another league.

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“The rest of our sports lack the level to compete in better leagues,” O’Mara said.

The issue at WIS with sports is the imbalance in level between teams. Some of our teams seem to be too good for the PVAC, while others are struggling to win matches or to even have enough players to field a team. The varsity tennis team for example, usually has to forfeit at least one match every time they play due to the lack of players.

O’Mara wouldn’t consider moving WIS from the PVAC, “Even if they (the MAC board) asked me I would have said ‘no’,” he said.

O’Mara claimed that although it would be great for WIS to join the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC) or the Independent School League (ISL) leagues, it seems that we just aren’t ready, according to O’Mara.

WIS’ goal, if it were to move leagues, is for each sport to be competitive with the other teams. They don’t necessarily have to dominate in every sport, but as long as they can keep up with most teams, they are worthy of moving to a more competitive league.

The issue is that WIS isn’t even competitive in all sports in the PVAC, so how are they expected to do that in the MAC or ISL, two of the most competitive sports leagues in the DC area?

The WIS boys varsity basketball team is a perfect example of a team that wouldn’t be able to compete in higher leagues. This year the varsity team finished with only one victory all season and had games where they lost by 50 or more points.

WIS’ basketball team has also only won one championship in the past 16 years, which shows how they have never been dominant in the PVAC. Therefore, even if our basketball teams were capable of playing in a more competitive league one year, we’d have to make sure that if we were to switch leagues our team’s level wouldn’t drop significantly in the next few years.

Jonas Tomkin, a sophomore at WIS, plays on the boys’ Varsity Tennis team and for the Junior Varsity Basketball team. Tomkin’s insight on why WIS has such an imbalance of levels in sports comes from his personal experience on being on the teams that tend to not be successful. Tomkin thinks the main reason is that there aren’t “enough all-around athletes.”

With regards to our schools’ soccer program, it is a completely different story. Our soccer teams are successful because they consist of student-athletes who are experienced and play soccer as their main sport. This way, they won’t miss practice and even when there isn’t any, they are still practicing out of school with their club teams.

The problem is that when the soccer season ends and other sports start to come into play, the same kids don’t have enough time for another sport or they don’t take it as seriously. WIS also doesn’t recruit, unlike many other schools in other leagues.

Sophomore Diego Maldonado plays on the varsity soccer team and doesn’t think WIS is deprived of competition. “Our schedule is accommodated to play as many schools from better leagues as possible,” Maldonado said.

For WIS’ more dominant sports, being in the PVAC isn’t as bad as it sounds. Our soccer and volleyball teams have schedules that are specifically adjusted for them to play matches against teams from higher leagues. Our girls’ soccer team plays NCS, the boys’ soccer team plays St.Albans, Maret, and even St. Johns who is in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, an even more competitive league than the MAC.

The school’s volleyball team plays Wilson, along with many other non-PVAC schools. Although the weaker WIS teams are stopping WIS’ more dominant sports from advancing leagues, O’Mara argued that their schedule might even be a better option for them in comparison to moving up a league, because they get the best of both worlds.

“I could present a case for WIS to join a higher league,” O’Mara said. “But, we’re not ready just yet.”

By Lucas Brudniak

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