Turf Field of Dreams
The beginning of each school year at Mother McAuley brings a fresh wave of newly minted freshmen. Bright-eyed, possibly a bit nervous, but excited - these young women are just beginning a journey of self-discovery, with endless possibilities ahead due to McAuley’s commitment to provide state-of-the-art, equitable facilities, opportunities, and funding for all students.
The installation of the new turf field in the summer of 2022 is the latest example of this commitment. With the new field, our student athletes and student body have access to a safe, well-maintained, professional space, which had previously only been seen in all boys or co-ed schools. While we are celebrating 50 years of Title IX, equity in attention and facilities for women still have a long way to go. But as usual, McAuley is at the forefront of providing these essential opportunities to the young women of Chicagoland. Our soccer, lacrosse and softball teams can stay on campus for practice and competition, and receive the support and community that only our storied MacNation fans can provide.
When asked how she feels about the new field, head varsity soccer coach, Jenna Johnson Ryan ‘05, shared, “Excited, proud, optimistic. I think having a turf field on our own all girl school campus speaks volumes about the support and respect Mother McAuley has for their athletes.”
The field also elevates the level of competition that can be played by the student athletes who utilize it. “We have a home field the team is proud of!” Jenna exclaimed. “It takes us to the next level. Being able to train and play games on such a high quality field brings a certain confidence to the team and the program.”
Assistant varsity coach and McAuley physical education teacher, Megan McCauley ‘12, agrees. “We never play games on grass,” she explains. “The pace of play is much different from grass to turf.” With the new field, the players have been given a chance to learn, grow, and build skills that will benefit them come game day.
Emily Grzyb ‘23, varsity soccer player, jokes, “The new turf field has taught us to be very grateful that we no longer have to worry about rolling an ankle in the grass divots,” referring to the uneven ground in the grass field on which they had previously practiced. “On a serious note, I think it has made our team want to work harder to be successful and give the field a great start to its next years full of memories and triumphs.”
The field has also been in use throughout the fall and spring seasons providing an outdoor space for PE classes, pep rallies, our Senior Olympics, and a powder puff tournament, with more events to come.
OF INCOMING FRESHMEN PARTICIPATE IN AT LEAST ONE SPORT
MORE THAN 425 STUDENTS AT McAULEY PARTICIPATE IN ONE OR MORE INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORTS
HAS GROWN OVER THE YEARS, LEADING TO A PROGRAM EXPANSION IN THE SPRING 2023 SEASON - IN ADDITION TO THE VARSITY AND JV LEVELS, A FRESHMAN TEAM WAS CREATED
THROUGH THE YEARS, MIGHTY MAC ATHLETICS COLLECTIVELY HAS EARNED. . .
IN THE 2022-23 SCHOOL YEAR, THE VOLLEYBALL TEAM WON
FIRST IN STATE
WATER POLO WON
SECOND IN STATE
AND INDIVIDUAL ATHLETES COMPETED IN THE STATE COMPETITION IN DIVING, TENNIS, TRACK AND FIELD, AND WRESTLING
STUDENT ATHLETES SIGNED LETTERS OF INTENT TO PLAY COLLEGIATE SPORTS IN THE 2022-23 SCHOOL YEAR
Building Champions on and off the Field
We know that the education of a McAuley student does not stop when she leaves the classroom. All of our student athletes learn the lifelong lessons of teamwork, leadership and resilience that both complement and reinforce their well-rounded academic experience. Another tenet of a McAuley education is service, and for the last few years, this has been an important focus for the soccer team.
“We started giving back as part of the BodyArmor Tournament,” shared Coach McCauley. “My favorite was winning the showdown for charity as part of the BodyArmor series, and then donating a check to Ronald McDonald House Charities with the team.”
“But honestly over the years the girls have decided to volunteer on their own,” she continues. “For example, this year they chose to volunteer for the Special Olympics on a Saturday that we originally planned to be off. They organized and planned everything on their own. We even caught ourselves holding back tears after reading an email that was sent to us from the coordinator expressing how they have had plenty of volunteers throughout the year and this group especially stood out to them.”
“When we look back on a season, not every game stands out, but an email from the director of Special Olympics recognizing how special of a group our team is, is unforgettable,” remembers Coach Ryan. “We are fortunate to give back to those who need it and I am proud the girls recognize that and take advantage of every opportunity to do so.”
These service projects have had a positive impact on the players. “This year’s service project stood out to me because we were able to volunteer with the Special Olympics,” Emily Gryzb ‘23 says. “Being able to interact with these adults was such an extraordinary experience because the love and generosity that each of the individuals displayed was so inspiring. I went into this volunteering thinking I was going to be helping others, but these individuals truly were the ones who helped me realize that community and kindness make the world a better place. These projects inspire me to be the best I possibly can and always know that I can make a difference no matter how small.”
Ted Lasso - A Connected Foundation
At their 50th reunion in December 2022, sisters Gina Reynolds ‘70 and Sheila Reynolds Trainor ‘70, and Loretta Wendt Jolivette ‘70 found out they have something unique in common - their nephews are both stars and creators of the popular Apple TV+ show, Ted Lasso.
Catch up on news from your classmates!
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