Bearcats Break Records During Winter Sports Season  

By Robin Chandler ’87

The Hotchkiss swimming and diving team, girls varsity basketball team, and girls varsity squash team enjoyed record-breaking winter seasons!

Hotchkiss swimming and diving athletes

Swimming and Diving

History was made once again during the Class A swimming and diving championship. Nolan Jennings ’24 became the 2nd Hotchkiss diver (boy or girl) to ever be crowned New England Champion with a combined score of 378.70 during the championship meet on March 1. The previous winner and record holder for diving was Dana Meadow '02. With the win, Nolan earned 20 points toward the team’s combined 123-point total.  

A second school record toppled as well when captain Alex Tolis ’23 broke a 21-year-old record in the 100 breaststroke at the New England Class A championship meet with a time of 58.38. Alex warmed up by winning the same event the weekend before at the Founders League Championship held at home in Hixon Pool. The school record formerly held by Geoff Rathgeber ’04 stood since 2002.

“It’s a pretty amazing performance for a four-year senior captain who started out on our JV squad as a prep,” said very proud Head Coach Keith Moon. 

Nolan Jennings '24, Oliver Johnson '25,  and Alex Tolis '23 were all named to the All-NEPSAC team, the Top 16 swimmers and divers in their events across all three divisions. Sydney Berger '25 and Kiera Dwan '24 were named to the All-NEPSAC team on the girls swimming and diving side. The boys finished eighth at the New England Swimming & Diving Championships while the girls finished 10th.

Hotchkiss girls varsity basketball

Girls Varsity Basketball

It was a record season for the girls varsity basketball team and coaches Doug Kneeland ’98 and Eileen Sullivan. Not only did the team shatter the single-season record for most wins with a total of 18 victories, but they also went further than any other girls basketball team in program history by making it to the finals of the Class A championship game. 

To get there, the team took on Sacred Heart in the quarterfinals on March 1. Before a huge crowd in Fowle gym, the team took the lead and rarely looked back, winning handily 61-42. Days later in the semifinals, Hotchkiss upset the #2 seed, Thayer Academy, 55-51 while on the road in Braintree, MA. 

The championship game was held on Sunday, March 5, and the girls took on top-seeded Loomis Chaffee in their own gym. Despite holding the lead for most of the game, Hotchkiss ultimately fell in heartbreaking fashion to the Pelicans, 60-64.

It was an exceptional season for what was arguably the best Hotchkiss girls basketball team in the School’s history. 

Hotchkiss girls squash

Girls Varsity Squash

Coaches Maja Clark and Bobby Burns ’08 could not have been more proud of the girls varsity squash team’s many successes throughout the past winter season, especially down the stretch. 

Two-year captains Mary Wood ’23 and Lauren Sonneborn ’23 did an exceptional job leading this group to a second consecutive Founders League title (the 11th title in program history) as well as a record-breaking second place at the New England Class A Championship just one week later.

“I am so proud of the Lady Bearcats! The team came together and finished strong. We swept Founders, were #2 in the NEPSAC tournament and #7 at nationals. This is a tough young team, and there is no limit to how far we can go. Our team spirit is infectious, and the support the players show each other is inspirational,” beamed Coach Clark.

The team went 12-1 on the season with the only loss coming back on Dec. 7.

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