The Packer Pelicans had another tremendous season. Check out some of the highlights below.
Boys Varsity Basketball
The Boys Varsity Basketball team won the ACIS regular season and conference tournament championships, going undefeated at 14-0 in league play this year. The Pelicans earned a No. 2 seed in the NYSAIS B tournament before losing a close, hard-fought game to Fieldston.
“We had a special group who bought in from the beginning and worked incredibly hard to achieve the success they did,” Coach Trevor Kapp said. “Whether it was learning plays, defensive schemes or with their overall character on and off the court, this group was really a dream to coach.”
With the support of Kapp and Coach Sean Salomons, the Pelicans won their first seven games to start the season, then enjoyed a separate 12-game winning streak in January and February. “Before the year, we talked about leaving the Packer jersey in a better place than when they found it,” Kapp said. “I think our players did just that and created a lot of positive memories in the process.”
Girls Varsity Basketball
The Girls Varsity Basketball team experienced a lot of “firsts” this year—it was Coach Peter Panousopoulos' first season coaching the team, the first time on a Varsity team for seven 9th Graders, and the first time playing organized basketball at all for five team members. Despite these “firsts,” the team grew in what Panousopoulos described as a “big upward trajectory, from where we started to how we finished.”
After winning their first game of the season, the team never lost consecutive games. Their ability to adjust on the fly carried them through to the conference finals, and eventually the AAIS Championship. “It’s not easy what they did. We all dove in head-first together and managed to exceed expectations,” said Panousopoulos. A season highlight included their upset against the Chapin School, at the #2 seat, during the semi-finals. The team finished in the top four of the AAIS championship.
Boys Junior Varsity Basketball
After winning last year’s ACIS Championship, the Boys Junior Varsity basketball team felt the pressure to follow up with a strong season. “We came into the season with some clear expectations for what we should be accomplishing,” says Coach John Keaveny. And it paid off: the team took home their second ACIS championship in a row, and lost only three games this year.
This season, the sophomores developed their leadership skills by helping the large new group of younger freshmen athletes progress throughout the season, which Keaveny says is a major contributor to the team’s success. “It was nice to see a lot of the sophomores come into their own,” says Keaveny.
Keaveny gave a shout out to Coach Nick Morton, whose strong relationships with the athletes make him a better coach; to Roland ’25, who started as point guard last year, and took a more commanding role this year in leading the team; to Isaac ‘26 and Henry ‘26, two standout freshmen who helped lead the team; and to Michael ’25, who jumped from team manager to 6th man.
Girls Varsity Swimming
The Girls Varsity Swim team worked hard for a successful season and was proud to take home the ACIS Championship win.
First time Coach Bradley Eckerson was impressed by the team’s enthusiasm, team spirit, and persistence. “There was always really high energy when we met for practice and games,” Eckerson said, despite many swimmers being committed to a club team as well as swimming for Packer. The supportive spirit among swimmers at Packer—not just among the girls team, but between the girls and boys teams, who practiced together—makes Eckerson proud Packer’s program: “It’s amazing how much they really rally behind each other,” he shared, including welcoming an eighth grader to the girls’ team with open arms.
At the Girls NYSAIS tournament, the relay team of Alex ’27, Sydney ’26, Jax ’25, and Parker ’23 placed 7th overall in the 200 Medley Relay. Jax placed 4th overall in the 50 Free. Sasha ’23 placed 2nd overall in the 200 Free. Sasha, Parker, Jax, and Sydney placed the team at 8th overall for the 200 Free Relay. Jax placed 3rd overall for the 200 Back. Sasha, Parker, Alex, and Sydney placed 3rd overall in the 400 Free Relay. The team finished in 8th overall.
Boys Varsity Swimming
The Boys’ Varsity Swim team finished 5th overall in their league and persevered through many challenges this year, qualifying for several individual and relay events in the NYSAIS state meet. Most of the boys finished top three in their events, and the seniors felt they ended their Packer swim career on a high note. “One of the things I’ve learned is that the numbers don't matter,” said first-time Coach Bradley Eckerson. “As long as everybody has a great time, that’s how we’re going to measure success.”
This year’s seniors endured unique challenges since their sophomore season was canceled, and their junior year was altered due to the pandemic. This, plus St. Francis closing their pool (where the team would practice), makes their achievements this season all the more impressive.
The team was captained by Bryce ’23 and Julian ’23. At the ACIS Championship, the relay team of Bryce ’23, Julian ’23, Connor ’23, and Brady ’26 finished 2nd in the 200M Medley, 1st in the 200 Freestyle Relay, and 2nd in the 400 Freestyle Relay. Julian finished 3rd in the 200 Meter for his first year ever competing in the event. Bryce finished 2nd overall in the 50 Meter Freestyle. Connor broke the Packer school record in the 500 Meter Freestyle and finished 2nd Overall. Leo ’26 and Julius ’26 had never swum before this season and did very well in their first ACIS Championships; Owen ’25 and Jhosmar ’25, who have not ever competed in ACIS due to the pandemic, also performed equally as well. Brady, Bryce, Connor, and Julian competed in the NYSAIS tournament at Horace Mann in the Bronx.
Packer’s 2023 Varsity Squash team took home the ACIS championship against Grace Church even while down 5 players at the match. This year’s team was “a good group of players that really fit well together,” says Coach Feliple Pantle, “which made coaching them really easy.” Made up of juniors and seniors with varying levels of experience and involvement in squash outside of Packer, these athletes built their own seasons. This year’s captains were Charles ’23 and Zoe ’23.
This was Pantle’s first year coaching squash at Packer, and with a change in the accessibility of local facilities this year the athletes had to commute from Packer to Queens for practice. “I thought they would be late, but they were always early,” says Pantle of his committed team.
Varsity Indoor Track
This year’s Varsity Indoor Track season at Packer kicked off with much anticipation and excitement at the team’s first meet on December 7. The team included a new squad of Ninth Graders who were added to the existing roster. “Everyone performed very well in their respective events as guests of the Ivy League [conference],” says Coach Trevor Watson, “and came away feeling good about their performance. The team continued to present a strong showing throughout the season.”
Two athletes, Anaya ’24 and Delia ’26, both made it to the NYSAIS Championship and ran personal bests in the 1000m. Team Captains Hannah ’23 and Oscar ’23 lent constant, positive support to the team throughout the season, along with all the families who came out to cheer on the runners.