Winter Sports Preview


Tryouts, new coaches, and dedicated athletes starting their training indicates that winter sports are on the horizon…

As the transition from crisp fall weather into the cold winter months begin, Potomac Falls is seeing another fall sports season come to an end. As sports teams celebrate their final games and cheer to a successful season, winter athletes start preparing for the upcoming tryouts. With the exception of swimming, the majority of the winter sports held their tryouts between Nov. 9-11, and many athletes participated in the rigorous process of tryouts to see if they could make the cut. Potomac Falls is known for its wide variety of sports, and winter sports are no exception, so here is a preview of some of the upcoming sports and what’s to be expected . 

Winter Track

Winter Track is a physically demanding sport that requires runners to run miles after school in near-freezing conditions. However, despite the harsh weather conditions that come with winter track, there are many positive aspects to running the sport. “I love this sport despite the weather because it prepares me for the spring season, I get to keep running with my teammates, and it helps with the stress of school over the winter,” saic senior Riley Freck. Winter track shares similarities with the other running-based sports at PFHS, Spring Track and XC, however, Freck explains that Winter Track emphasizes the importance of strength training and developmental work.

Girls Basketball

Girls basketball is a popular sport that’s known for their competitive tryouts, which include competitive drills and intense gameplay. Basketball is split up into a 9th grade team, a Junior Varsity team, and a Varsity team. Junior Ceci O’Grady has her sights set on the varsity team. Due to an injury last year, O’Grady was unable to fully participate, which makes her even more excited for this year’s upcoming season. “I love basketball and basketball season, it’s super fun to be involved in a sport,” said O’Grady. “You create this bond with all the girls and from this family over all the months. You become friends and stay friends, and celebrate victories together. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Boys Basketball 

The boys basketball team is going into training with numerous previous players that have the potential for an impressive season. Potomac Falls Basketball Coach of over twenty years, Jeff Hawes, explains how, despite the loss of many talented seniors, the team still has many players to watch. “Owen Levenhagen and Gavin Plunkett are seniors who had solid years last year and should be in line to have good senior seasons,” said Hawes.  “A trio of Juniors – James Delaney, Josh Prince, and Johnny Opiola played a lot last year and stepped into very prominent roles on this year’s team.”


With a brand-new coach and a revamped weight room, wrestling is an upcoming winter sport that looks a little different this school year. The new coach, Duke McKean comes from an extensive wrestling background, including being the captain of his high school wrestling team and receiving a full wrestling scholarship. After spending some time in the Marine Corps, McKean is back to teaching wrestling and already has plans to see to the success of this year’s wrestlers. “My plan to succeed is to ensure each wrestler develops individually according to their own ability,” said McKean. “While concurrently developing men and potentially women of character, I plan to push them to limits both physically and mentally that will ensure their success outside of high school and following graduation – regardless of their pursued interests.”


Swimming also has a new coach, however, she may be a familiar face for many swimmers. The new swim coach, Kim Brady, has served as an assistant coach in years past, giving her insight as to the individual swimmers strengths. Even though swimming is a physically demanding sport that requires athletes to attend practices late at night and meets every weekend, Sophomore McKenna Lyons explains how rewarding her experience has been so far. “I did winter swim last year and it was a lot of fun,” said Lyons. “We got many opportunities to hang out with one another, and I feel like it brought me a lot closer with everyone.”


The Potomac Falls Gymnastics team is looking forward to a successful season. After 10 years of coaching, Coach Keller has seen many girls succeed in the sport, making it past regionals and into state meets. Coach Keller channels her personal love of gymnastics into the talented gymnasts at the school to help them reach their potential. “Gymnastics has been in my life since I was 8 years old and I have been coaching in some capacity since I was 15,” said Keller. “I love that I can share this sport with student athletes at Potomac Falls and continue to support the team as leaders and gymnasts.”

Winter Guard 

The Color Guard has just wrapped up their final competition and performed at their last football game, and is now already preparing for their winter season. Color Guard is an extension of the band that performs at football games and travels to different schools and beyond for competitions. Sophomore Tala Shuaib is preparing for their upcoming tryouts by learning new moves via YouTube tutorials and building up excitement for the upcoming season. “Hanging out with your teammates is super fun and performing is such a great experience,” said Shuaib. “Winter Guard is a smaller group, and you spend more time on basics; it’s much less rushed.”