Head of School John Packard didn't hold back in his congratulations to cross-country phenom Kata Clark '25 during Monday's Chapel for her recent Independent School League triumph. "I actually think that Tom Brady is the Kata Clark of football!" the New England Patriots super-fan declared before kicking off a round of applause from the student body for the runner, who won the ISL Championships this past Friday.
"Kata was undefeated against ISL opponents this year, so she entered the ISL championship as the favorite and the athlete to beat," said cross-country Program Director and Head Coach Joanna McDonough. "While we expected her to do well, she was challenged the entire race by a Milton Academy runner. They ran the whole race together, but Kata beautifully executed the race plan and pulled ahead in the last 50 meters to beat her by two seconds and win."
Clark (above, center) stands out from a slew of talented athletes, but she's not alone in achieving success this season. Read on to learn more about other cross-country team achievements, girls 1st field hockey's hot streak and boys 1st soccer's battle to be the best.
Almost all of the runners competing in the ISL championship last weekend at the Wrentham Developmental Center, hosted by Tabor Academy and Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, ran a personal best time. "That speaks to their hard work and dedication this season to continually improve and work hard in each practice and meet," said McDonough.
The girls team finished seventh overall, out of 13, with Clark (below, left) clinching first place and Monica Mukherjee '22 (below, right) placing 15th out of a huge field of competitors, while the boys cross-country team came in tenth overall, out of 16, with Alex Tobias '22 (below, center) placing an impressive ninth.
"It was really special to have three Brooks athletes in the top 15 in their respective races," added McDonough. "This was our best team result in five years!"
Their secret? Teamwork. "I've been continually impressed and proud of how our athletes have worked together and supported each other this season," she said. "After losing a season to the pandemic last year, there is such a joy that shines through at each practice and meet. Our athletes are really valuing our time together and supporting one another."
Captains Tobais (above, center), Mukherjee, Tori Duckworth '22 and Edo Spadaccini '22 have been admirable leaders, she noted. "They work hard each day, setting an example for everyone on the team," said McDonough.
And they're not done yet. The teams are tearing up for the New England tournament this weekend with races on Saturday at Great Brook State Park in Carlisle, Mass.
With a season of fast-paced, competitive games, Brooks girls 1st field hockey's winning record is all the more impressive.
For nine games straight the squad was undefeated in the ISL. Head Coach Tess O'Brien points to their upbeat tenacity as one key reason why. "They consistently strive to be the best teammates on and off the field, reaching outside of themselves to support one another," she said. "They exemplify 'vitamin C' energy, positive, contagious energy no matter what the day brings."
A tough, 1-3 loss to Noble & Greenough School on the road this past Friday brought an end to their streak, but O'Brien is hopeful for more wins to come, not to mention in future years of competition. "This team," she said, "is marked by creating a positive experience for all and creating a supportive environment for all to grow into great players and better teammates."
Their next challenge, the Milton Academy team, comes this afternoon at home — WATCH THE LIVESTREAM— followed by their last regular-season matchup Saturday at home where the squad faces Tabor Academy.
Categorizing one of the goals in their come-from-behind win against Noble & Greenough School on Friday as "English-Premier-League level" during his Chapel address, Head of School John Packard made his pride in the boys 1st soccer team clear. And it's no wonder. The squad is nine-time ISL champions and four-time New England Preparatory School Athletic Council champions.
The team earned a ten-game winning streak earlier in the season and has added three more victories to the list in recent weeks.
"I am not surprised by the record because of how talented and hard-working this group is," said Head Coach Willie Waters '02. "This team has worked really hard and ... we have a strong core of athletes who played major roles in 2019 and are now seniors. They have high aspirations and missing last year only added to the anticipation of getting back on the field together."
Balance has been their biggest asset, said Waters. "Lots of different players have contributed in a variety of ways and they push each other to get better. I think the team chemistry is our greatest strength and it has been fun to watch them work together. They each care more about the team success than any individual accolades."
The team as a whole "cares deeply about the Brooks soccer tradition and wants to connect with alumni who have played before them," he added. "They ask a lot about former teams and things that we have done in the past and are creating their own special moments all along the way. ... My hope is that we get to stretch this season out to the last possible minute."
Matches at home — today against Milton Academy and on Saturday against Tabor Academy — end their regular season play. But fans can keep up-to-date with tournament details by following the squad, and all of Brooks School's teams, on our athletics page. Go Brooks!
OTHER RECENT STORIES
Winter Term is Back!
After a hiatus due to COVID, Brooks' beloved three-week session of intensive classes will be offered again this winter — with a bunch of favorite courses returning and some fascinating fresh classes added to the mix.
Boston University Professor Timothy Longman spoke with students about the book he co-authored, "Confronting Apartheid," giving them a deeper understanding of the context of Brooks' All-Community Read, "Born a Crime."
Behind the Scenes of "Clue"
Sneak a peek at all the work that went into creating a manor home set for the murder mystery fall play!