Cyclone Athletes Work Hard to Prepare for the Season


Cyclone preseason is underway. To prepare for the Cyclones’ final year in the SPC, Athletes involved in a fall sport have begun practices with their coaches on August 1st, weeks before their season openers. These athletes have dedicated themselves to the field, the court, and the gym in order to put themselves in the best position to make a splash this fall.

On Edwards field, the Cyclone Field Hockey team battled the sun alongside the Cyclone football team. Caroline Naifeh (‘24) claimed, “the heat has been our biggest challenge this preseason. We’ve been doing two-a-days even in the summer heat to prepare for the season.” Naifeh has been the Cyclones’ starting goalie since her Freshman year. In her first campaign as an upperclassman, Naifeh is looking forward to, “competing with some of my old teammates as well as getting to know the new ones.” Ellie Morgan (‘25) shared her teammates’ sentiments regarding the heat. “Preseason has been pretty hot this year, making practices even more difficult than they already would have been,” said Morgan. In her second season with the field hockey team, Morgan is “looking forward to getting to know the younger girls as well as building on my friendships with the ones I already know.” The team worked hard to prepare for their season opener against All Saints’ Episcopal at home.

Inside Grantham-Griffing Field House, the Boys Volleyball team prepares for their season opener on August 26th in the Red River Roundup. A year after the team secured the title in the OKBVA state tournament, the team has its sights set on a different tournament. Senior leader Jack Morgan (‘23) proclaims the team’s goal, “is nothing less than an SPC Championship.” Since last Spring the team has been putting in work on the court and, “now that we’re officially in the preseason, we have upped our intensity and focus in drills. Our sights are set on an SPC title, but we understand that we have to take it one game at a time, focus on the present, and thrive to get better every day to achieve that goal,” says Morgan. The team’s SPC opener is on September 9th against Fort Worth Country Day. “We want to start off strong and hopefully take SPC. That’s why we’ve been putting in all this hard work on the court and in the gym,” Jaxon Childress (’24) says. The team will compete in eight SPC matches before the tournament in November.

Sharing their homecourt with the boys, the Cyclone Girls Volleyball team has worked hard in hopes of finding success this season. Sophie Buthion (‘23), one of four volleyball seniors, says the team, “practices Monday through Friday 5-7, along with lifting twice a week.” Buthion explained that “an average day of practice includes our warmup routine, 2-4 drills, a couple of games, along with some 6 on 6 scrimmages between all of the players, no matter the grade.” The team looks to open the season up with a win in the Cascia Hall Invitational on August 12th. “We are starting to nail down the basic skills we will need to keep the ball in play. A couple of important things this preseason have been building up our playing styles, devotion, and commitment to the game,” says Buthion. Along with working hard, Lilli Henderson (‘26) has, “enjoyed how steady and easy to work with the practice schedule is.” Henderson joins fourteen other new Freshmen to be added to the Girls’ Volleyball team. While getting used to high school volleyball, Henderson has seen how the team “prepares for upcoming games and the season opener by focusing on areas of improvement and setting goals as a team.” The team hopes to see their work pay off come August 12th.

In the heat of the sun, cross-country runners aim to lower their times in preparation for their season opener in Dallas on August 27th. Every runner has stayed dedicated by, “coming up with their own goals for the season, which range from setting PRs to developing good training and leadership skills,” Coach Matt Pena said. To help the team achieve these goals, “We’ve been completing workouts all summer long! We’ve been running Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7:00 am, and many of our athletes have been running longer distances together on the weekends.” according to Pena. While running in 100-degree heat can seem challenging, the Cross-Country team has stayed dedicated. “Consistency of training builds great runners. It is not one workout that makes a difference in the career of a runner, but instead the daily grind that builds strength, speed, and mental toughness,” as stated by Pena. Ayden Kerr (‘25), a second-year member of the team, shares the same ideals as his coach. “My goals this season are to medal at SPC and run a sub-16-minute time in my 5k. I have two hard days a week on Tuesdays and Fridays where I really push myself to improve.” In his Freshman season, Kerr placed 23rd at SPC with a 5k time of 17:22.4. After placing 6th last year, the team hopes to compete for an SPC title this fall.

Under the leadership of the new head coach, Ty Prestidge, the Cyclone Football team has been working hard on the field and in the weight room in an attempt to win more games in their first season outside of the SPC. With the Cyclones’ new independent schedule, Alex Spiropoulos (‘25) expects the team to, “definitely improve from last season. There are some challenging teams on our schedule but I think we are up to the task.” The team’s efforts to improve their record haven’t been limited to the football field. “A big part of the improvement of our team can be credited to our lifting and offseason training programs. Six weeks of power camp and summer workouts have built up our strength and speed which has improved this team a lot,” according to Spiropoulos. Another key to the team’s success is leadership and discipline in the locker room. Jackson Stewart (‘24) has found, “the team, in the beginning, was lacking discipline and by the end of the summer lifts we had leaders that many would never have guessed would step up.” The team still has things to improve on before they can reach their full potential. “The only thing holding us back is the ability to give 110% each and every second on the field,” says Stewart. The team will debut their season on August 19th away at Apache.

Good luck to all student-athletes competing this fall! Make sure to show out to Cyclone sporting events and support all of the athletes and their hard work.