Athletics: Year in Review
Oxford Athletics turned in one of its most successful campaigns ever in 2017- 18. This was highlighted by the soccer team’s first Coastal Prep postseason Championship. Coaches Matt Pachniuk and Jude Maragliano challenged the team at the start of the season to capitalize on all of their talent by bringing home its first title. To sweeten the pot, they offered to let the team shave their heads at the end of the season. Well four days after Oxford’s scintillating victory over TSA in the championship game, the coaches were happy to sit for their special haircuts. The championship game was truly special. It took a last second Oxen goal to send the game into overtime when the three pillars of Oxford Soccer ignited all of the Oxford fans in attendance. Senior Bruce Ngoga started it with a pass to Senior Ronald Mugisha who then found team-Captain Livingston Ferdinand on a beautiful through ball. Liv slotted the game winning Golden Goal and an epic pile of Oxford players, coaches, and fans ensued. It was fitting that the last three members of the team to touch the ball were Ngoga, Mugisha, and Ferdinand- three young men who gave so much to Oxford Athletics over their tenures. The team was celebrated at their postseason Banquet. Simon Louis won the Most Improved Player (MIP). Ferdinand earned the MVP Award and the coaches decided that the Defense collectively deserved the Unsung Hero Award. No word yet on what the coaches will offer to the team if they repeat next season.
The basketball team took over in the winter season and produced another positive season. Mike Lindquist and Chris McGrath returned for their second year together running the program. Many of the athletes that helped bring the soccer team so much success did the same for the b-ball team. Their efforts resulted in a 9- 5 season and their second consecutive Runner-Up in the Shoreline Basketball Tournament. Mugisha and Louis earned co-MVP honors, Luke Briglin, a surprising mid-season addition, was the Unsung Hero, and Gresham Halladay took down the MIP. Seniors Ferdinand, Danny Harrington, and Junior Jaswani Evans also played pivotal roles on the squad. Our wonderful fans, led by the student body section, also deserve some attention for the role they played during a thrilling game with Williams in the OxBox. Challenged by Coach Lindquist during morning announcements to make some noise, the crowd responded and the raucous atmosphere was one of the highlights of the athletic year. Next year might be a transitional season for the Boys in Blue with the graduation of so many important players. But the coaches are hopeful that the 2018-19 team will come together quickly and make some noise of their own at the Oxford Invitational, which we are hosting in early March 2019.
In the spring it was Coach Taylor Sahl and Oxford Tennis’ chance to shine. And they did just that in playing their way to a 2-2 season, the squad’s first multi win season in several years. Livingston Ferdinand led the team at #1 singles and earned his third consecutive MVP award. Pacy Kamanzi was recognized as the MIP and Luther Eisaman as the Unsung Hero. Newcomer Dylan Bloom also brought some tennis chops to the #2 position. Returners Mugisha and Victor Lathuras made strong contributions to this year’s team. Coach Sahl was very proud of his players’ willingness to compete and have fun. The Oxford community gathered at the Spring Sports Banquet in May. At its opening, Bruce Ngoga was remembered during a moment of silence. He truly shined on the soccer field and in the fitness rooms during his time at the Academy. He will be missed. The formal dinner was also a time to honor the tennis team and many of the athletes from the year. Long-time Athletic Director, Geoff Cartier, was given the Walter Mitchell Award. He will be stepping down and Head Basketball Coach Mike Lindquist will be taking over. We are all very excited to see where he takes the program. Charles Kuhns earned the IM Award. For the first time ever, Airsoft got into the act when Coaches Gonzalez and Braverman recognized members of the team at the banquet. Will Shayne and Charles Kuhns were two of the standouts that came up and received awards in front of the school. Also, five student-athletes earned their places on the Ironman plaque- given to those who play in all three varsity seasons: Livingston Ferdinand, Ronald Mugisha, Victor Lathuras, Gresham Halladay, and Jaswani Evans. Lastly, Director of Athletics Geoff Cartier was pleased to announce Livingston Ferdinand as this year’s winner of the Senior Athletic Award at graduation. Livingston will go down in the Oxford history books as one of the most successful and lauded athletes ever. His leadership, skill, and drive enriched our athletic program and make him a special young man.