Our Stories

Fall 2023 Sports Recap

October 23, 2023 by Elizabeth Zitelli (Faculty and Staff)

The Fall 2023 athletics season, MILTON’s first as official members of the PVAC, will wrap up this week. Coaches for each of our three teams are enthusiastic about their teams’ progress. MILTON values athletics for the important team-building skills and time spent outdoors. See details below: 

Cross Country

Team Members: 21 boys, 7 Girls


Record: Boys Currently 2nd in League, Girls 7th in League

Coaches: Thomas Ryba, Head Coach. George Braden, Daniel Moses, Ashlyn Sinclair – Assistant Coaches

Training: We run into Rock Creek Park along the trails and paths close to campus. At practice athletes run between 2 and 4 miles, on weeks they are not racing the practices consist of running steep hills and other high intensity running.

Race Locations: St. Anselm’s School, Sandy Spring Friends School

Coach Insight: They race 2 miles, the first five runners from each team to finish receive points that correspond to their place against other scoring runners, the team with the lowest score wins.

At the start of the season the students had to battle against the heat and humidity of the DC summer, the only respite being the shade of the forest in Rock Creek. As the weather cooled and the training took effect the students were able to run further into Rock Creek exploring new trails.

Most Satisfying Win: The girls team’s third place performance at the PVAC mid-season challenge. The girls worked hard with each runner contributing to their top three performance beating the team in 4th by just 2 points. With a score that close any of the girls placing lower would have dropped the team to 4th. It has also been a great joy for the coaches watching the runners mature though the season, as the season has progressed their enthusiasm to run and team work has improved.


Coaching philosophy: The main goal for cross country is to introduce the athletes to the joys of running. It is important for them to find their own motivation so they enjoy the sport and want to continue even after the season has ended. It is important to provide them with differentiated training/ workouts to accommodate the wide range of abilities and experience levels. 

Final Result: Boys Cross Country Team Placed 2nd in the PVAC Championship Meet at Sandy Spring Friends School. The Girls Cross Country Team Finished 5th. 

Girls Tennis

Members on Team: 9

Record: 0-4 

Practices Held at: Rock Creek Tennis Center

Games Held at: Away Schools or GW Tennis Center

Coach: Glenn Gerbino

Training: We put a strong emphasis on individual skill and level and use that to work on certain areas of the player. We always start out with a “small-sided” warm up to work on racquet control and swinging from bottom to top. We then expand to full court playing, normally playing “Royal of the Court”, which adds some fun competition. Practices always end with serving, and then match play to help work on line calling and court positioning.  

Highlights: The seventh grade girls, particularly those who played in the spring, have been excellent leaders. They are insightful and helpful on bus rides and do an excellent job of cheering and motivating during the matches.

Important Note: Each match we overcome adversity by playing against high schoolers. In the PVAC, there are no middle school only teams, so our girls are put up against high school players and do an excellent job displaying growth and confidence.

Competing Against: Three PVAC teams in the conference: Field, JDS, WIS and two teams outside the conference: Potomac, GDS. 

Next Up:  Final Match, Thursday, October 26, 2023  against GDS

Girls Volleyball

Team Members: 15

Record: 4-6 Regular Season, 1-0 Playoffs

Coaches: Hannah Fox, Coach. Bradley Soll, Assistant Coach. 

Practice Location: North Campus Gym

Training:  We focus on the small technical skills like the bumps, sets, passing, and serving. Then half way through we apply that skill to a realistic game like drill or scrimmage. We try to teach the players confidence, sportsmanship, and teamwork to not just be a great player on the court, but in the classroom as well.

Coach Insights:  Volleyball is a game where you are on the edge of your seat for every point, it can be hard mentally to lose a point or go down a few points in a set. Every single girl on our team knows how to lift each other up and keep us going. I think that is how we have pulled off some tough wins this season. We stayed focused and relaxed, thanks to teammates cheering each other on to stay in the game and pull out a win.

I think right now it a hard and stressful time in the world and these girls have managed to still show up and support one another

Satisfying Wins: Field was a great win. We went down in the first set. We started down in the second and made a huge comeback to tie it up. Then won in the third. Great example to not get discouraged. You have to play to the very end and we did and it ended up giving us the win. 

On Wednesday, October 15 the team played in their first ever playoff game in the PVAC. We came into the playoffs seeded seventh and set to play the second overall team, Spencerville Adventist Academy, a team we had just lost to in a close match the week before. The Pandas came into the away game ready to show what they were made of. We went on to sweep Spencerville in a 2-0 match, playing their hearts out each and every play. Each and every point the team came together to refresh themselves and play together as a team, making sure to know who was going to get what ball, and encouraging each other to keep their head up and push through a missed serve. After securing a win in the first set, the girls on the bench rushed their teammates on the court, screaming in excitement that we were one set closer to winning! Not only were the girls ecstatic and cheering, but our parents in the crowd were just as invested in the game. After every big point, you could hear them screaming “GO MILTON!” and see them holding up their homemade posters. The team went on a 14-7 streak in the second set, which started to make the other team nervous and our players pushed right on through until the final whistle. From perfect passes, to amazing line calls, and overall sportsmanship, this was the best the MILTON team had played all season and they definitely deserved the win.

Coaching Philosophy:  Being a part of a team at this age is truly one of the best opportunities. Students start to learn the sport, including technical skills, and they get used to a competitive environment they may want to explore in high school sports. But most importantly, I think it’s an incredible time to bond with fellow classmates. These girls are learning to work together in a way that is different from the classroom. A bond is forming that they will never forget. What they have gone through as a team brings them closer together. Not only for middle school sports but for whatever life will bring them. They know they can always count on each other not only on the volleyball court but for anything. 

Final Results: The Pandas lost in the semifinals round, on Monday, October 23 vs Washington Christian Academy. Third in the league is an impressive ranking for the first year fully in the PVAC!