"It brought tears to my eyes to see this kid, who doesn't get a lot of playing time, score a basket for his team in the last two seconds of the game. His team rushed the court because they were so excited for him, and the crowd went wild!" –Stacie Anastasio, Director of Athletics.
When you talk about the athletics program at Solebury School, a common theme emerges–inclusivity. Aside from the competitive nature of sports, you will hear more words like family, close-knit friendships, and encouragement. One message resonates with coaches and students alike–try everything because you never know what you like.
"We're not just about winning, winning, winning. We want to win, but we also want the kids just starting to succeed," shared Stacie.
The philosophy behind Solebury's athletic program is that everyone should try something new. You don't have to be good at it; just be open to trying. "My main goal is to give everyone an opportunity. It doesn't necessarily have to be playing on a varsity level, just giving them a chance to be great at their level," shared Stacie. She credits the coaching staff's dedication to teaching skills, starting with core fundamentals, understanding how to support experienced players to give them exposure, and the autonomy to grow their teams as contributing factors to the program's success. Stacie also believes our coaches do an excellent job of mixing the athletes with experience and those new to the sport.
The athletics program currently offers 14 team sports and various noncompetitive fitness activities throughout the year. Student-athletes compete for championships in most sports as a part of Solebury’s membership in the Penn-Jersey league. The team sports are:
Field Hockey, Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, Cross Country, Girls Volleyball
Varsity Boys Basketball, Varsity Girls Basketball, JV Boys Basketball
Baseball, Softball, Girls Lacrosse, Golf, Boys Tennis, Track & Field
The athletics program plans to add more teams to accommodate growing interest among students. Sign-up numbers this year have significantly increased for tennis, basketball, and soccer.
In addition to organized team sports and fitness activities, Solebury offers personalized coaching through PSC (Perseverance Strength and Conditioning). PSC is a wellness program that operates onsite between the hours of 6 am-6 pm. The program is available for the Solebury community (students, families, staff, and faculty) to work one-on-one with a certified coach to develop fitness and nutritional plans based on individual goals. “We start with an assessment–checking posture, range of motion, and functional movement patterns so that we give individuals training activities they are capable of doing,” said Pablo Ambrosio, owner of PSC.
The physical footprint on campus will also start to look different by the spring of 2024. We plan to redesign the athletic complex area by relocating the baseball field. Funding was made possible by the Shaping Solebury campaign and the Edward E. Ford Foundation Matching Grant.
We interviewed several coaches and student-athletes to learn about their personal athletic experiences at Solebury. Here are their stories:
Daniel Abuhoff, JV Boys Basketball Coach
Dan practiced law in NYC while he and his wife raised their family in Cranbury, NJ. He got into coaching by running the town's recreational program and coaching his kids' Police Athletic League and travel basketball teams. What Dan seeks for his players is the opportunity to "experience progress through hard work and teamwork, as well as the highs and lows that come with competitive basketball."
Arianna Dempsey '23
Arianna has been playing soccer since her freshman year. "Everyone was warm and welcoming even though I had no experience with soccer. The team dynamic was amazing, and I loved the coaches. They did their best to highlight what I did well and redirected me to other players who had my weaknesses as strengths," said Arianna. She excelled in soccer and has been the team captain for her junior and senior years. During the off-season, Arianna has started powerlifting and plans to ascend to competition levels in this sport. "Solebury athletics helped me realize the value of teamwork and is definitely a place to experiment in pushing past your comfort zone and trying new things."
Aum Desai '24
Aum runs cross country and track & field. While he enjoys meets and competition, he particularly enjoys close team dynamics–working as one unit on race strategy and team celebrations. "We do runs as teams, but the workouts are personalized to skill level. We spend so much time around each other that we are close friends outside of sports," Aum shared. “Running taught me that you cannot cheat. You have to show up every day, give 100% of yourself, and focus on the task at hand. Coach Terri is the most supportive coach I ever had.” Aum’s Top performances include a gold medal in the 3000m at Ursinus College’s High School Invitations, a medal and Second Team All-State title at the PA Independent Schools Championship State Meet, and PJAA League Champion. He wants to continue running at a Division 1 college.
Bruce Jennings, Head Coach Girls Varsity Lacrosse
As a former high school and college lacrosse player, Bruce chose coaching to give back to the sport and share its positive impact on his life. He wants his players to know they can learn and develop over the season, even if they are new to lacrosse. “My biggest accomplishment is having all my first-season players return. My most successful moments come when my teams compete as a complete team, meaning there is no differentiation between the best players and the other players as teammates. Everyone has a role in accomplishing our season's goals."
Kim Johnson, Girls Soccer Assistant Coach
The Girls Soccer team had an incredible season with six consecutive wins. Their record this year was eight wins and two losses. "I cannot take sole credit for the accomplishments of the team since I am the assistant coach, but I like to think that I supported the girls in pushing themselves to believe and see their abilities as people and as athletes," shared Kim. She has played soccer since childhood and hopes to instill in players the values of a team environment that goes beyond sport into adulthood. "Being on a team challenges you to try your best even when you are not at your best. It pushes you through your comfort zone physically and emotionally and teaches you to forgive yourself when you make a mistake."
Terri Miller P’16 '18, Head Coach Cross Country and Track and Field
If you look at our trophy case, you will see our long-standing success in these sports. "My job is to train runners to be the best they can be with their athletic talents." Terri develops workouts to meet each athlete's goal. She also keeps a reference book for students to track their progress, which she says motivates them to push themselves. "One fond memory I have is crossing the finish line at the Broad Street Run with Jonathan Fleming '16, who was never part of any athletic team. I coach runners to make a difference in their lives and be successful adults."
Mackenzie Perez '25
Mackenzie plays soccer, lacrosse, and basketball and runs cross country and track. She considers soccer to be her primary sport. Mackenzie loves the team atmosphere at Solebury and thinks the coaches do a fantastic job of pushing her to be a better athlete. "Everyone is always super nice. In soccer, we give each other high-fives and hugs whenever we score. We are proud of each other when we do well." As an experienced player, she can step up as a leader to help new players by giving tips and pointers or being there as a friend. Mackenzie also attributes the athletics program to helping her with academics. "I always find that I do better academically when I am active and in good physical condition. The athletics program teaches me many skills like leadership, communication, determination, and a great work ethic. Those broad skills help me in life and through my academic journey."
Tyler Simpson ’25
Managing routines and schedules on and off the court are something student-athletes learn to do well. "Playing basketball forced me to make sure I am organized. I have a daily schedule where I wake up in the morning, read my Bible, look at the stock market, and check on my business–all before breakfast. "Coach Greg always helps me by showing what I could improve in my game. He also relates basketball to real-life situations, so I get to see basketball from a different perspective." Tyler aspires to play Division 1 basketball in college.
Eric Soroka, Boys Soccer Head Coach
The primary goal of the program is to create a learning environment. Eric’s coaching techniques directly relate to life beyond soccer. As such, he created an environment for players to push themselves to try something new regardless of skill level. "I hope my players can apply teaching on the field to everyday life. The biggest accomplishment is experiencing many former players returning to campus to interact with the current team and show their support. It speaks volumes about the culture we have created."
At Solebury, there is a place for everyone on a team. "My advice for prospective students new to athletics is to try everything to broaden your interest. There's so much here, and you never know what you will end up liking," advised Aum Desai '24
For more information about the athletics program at Solebury, visit solebury.org/athletics and follow @soleburysports on Instagram.
Let’s go, Spartans!