School News - Bridget Hanley
The Signifigance of the seminary hill cup
48 hours, 12 years of tradition, 9 events, 7 days of build up, 6 wins, 5 losses, 1 tie, 2 schools, and 1 winner only every 365 days.
If you were not already aware, the Seminary Hill Cup tournament is a competition between all female fall athletes at St. Stephens and St. Agnes and Episcopal Schools. I interviewed our very own Coach Koroma, director of girls athletics, Sophomore Cross Country Runner Morgan Lewis ‘22, and Senior Field Hockey Captain Alex McEneney ‘20 about their experiences with the tournament.
Many are familiar with the name Coach Koroma, but may not know what exactly her job entails. She has been a coach at St. Stephen’s since 2004 and has seen how the spirit of Seminary Hill Cup has come to be and continues to blossom. When asked how the competition began, she described that from Episcopal’s side, they have their annual Woodberry Forest football game, a school-wide celebration of an all boys' event. And from our side, we have the well loved Sleepy Tompson basketball tournament. So, the desire was to celebrate girls' sports.
The tournament began as just counting up wins and loses between the schools’ women's sports in the fall season and determining a winner. But, as time went on, it evolved into a week-long, and now a two-day long event and celebration. With that, comes a copious amount of strategic planning and organization from an administrative perspective.
When asked how to prepare for it, Coach Koroma answered, “It's busy, and this year it was trickier because it was earlier than in past years. It felt crunched in terms of getting ready to go, but it is well worth the effort that goes in from my part. I love seeing the energy that you all have, and have seen a difference in how much the athletes enjoy and embrace it than five years ago.”
If you are not a fall female athlete you may not know much about the dinner beforehand, it is a feast of pastas and treats, a night of karaoke and bonding, and always includes stickers, pins and cups for everyone to have and an inspiring pump up video. The addition of Thursday night's dinner only came to be three years ago and has evolved since then from a more serious evening with speakers to being care-free and a chance for the teams to bond with their own teammates, as well as other sports.
We moved into the discussion of how there have already been changes over time, to what she, and the athletic department, how to do to continue to expand and grow the event. Coach Koroma grinned about the upcoming years' developments and answered, “I’d love to get more involvement from the middle school girls’ teams to make them feel more a part of it. In the capacity that maybe they are ball girls, or they are invited to watch the game and also get shirts, or inviting lower school kids as well. I would love to see it become more of an all-school event like Sleepy is where like 75% of the upper school community comes and stays and supports the team. And I think we had a lot of students that came, but it’s not close in comparison. So I would like to continue the theme days and bring it to the lower and middle schools like for homecoming. And I would love to see if we could get it picked up by the newspaper or acknowledged by locals in Alexandria. And not just the results of the contest, but what it is about.”
She concluded the interview by answering the question of what she hopes girls can take away from it, saying, “Oh gosh, just the power of being on a team and the strength that women athletes have and I don’t want any of our girls to feel like there is any less opportunity for them and that they are equally appreciated.”
After getting the chance to talk to both Alex and Morgan about Seminary Hill Cup it was interesting to see the similarities in their responses coming from different grade levels as well as different sports. When asked, “What does winning the cup mean to you and your team?”, Cross Country athlete Morgan answered, “The team was really proud to be able to bring home the first point and help get us the trophy and we were really proud to represent our school in a positive way and win.”
Field Hockey player Alex answered, “Winning the cup means a lot to me and the team as even though it is a fun win against rivals for our own team, it is also like getting a win for all the girls as well as the whole school. The win lasts a whole year (at least hehe) which is also awesome.”
It is clear that both athletes were proud to represent their teams well and make an impact on our success. Next I asked how the two very different sports chose to prepare for the big day. Morgan replied, “Episcopal had two really good runners, and so we had to approach the way of racing differently. Usually, Katie, Charlotte, Nyia and I try to go out with the front people and try to stick with them, but we had to instead try to hang off of them because we knew that if we went out with them we would die out too fast.” And Alex said, “We did two minute power poses WHICH ARE SO FUN and started banging on the lockers, making beats to get each other hype and ready to play a fun game.”
The two extremely different approaches ultimately worked as SSSAS won both the race and the game. And, to conclude, as it is her last Seminary Hill Cup, Alex said that she hopes younger girls will, “always remember to have fun with your sport and treat yourselves and each other well to make the most of the season with the family you are forming. these are your sisters and your brought together for a reason. Whether you are undefeated or losing every game and to have positivity always.”