New ’Stoga coaches: new field hockey, ice hockey and crew coaches take on Conestoga sports teams

New+%E2%80%99Stoga+coaches%3A+new+field+hockey%2C+ice+hockey+and+crew++coaches+take+on+Conestoga+sports+teams

By Ananya Kulkarni, Gavin Merschel and Reese Wang, Sports Editor, Staff Reporter and Design Editor

New head girls’ field hockey coach: Regan Marscher

Regan Marscher played field hockey at ’Stoga from 1991 to 1995.  Now she’s back. This time, as head coach. 

Intense stress fractures in her senior year forced Marscher to choose between field hockey, the sport she had loved since the eighth grade at T/E Middle School and lacrosse, the sport that she was going to be on scholarship for.  She chose lacrosse, playing as a student athlete and becoming captain of the team during her time at Rutgers University. 

She eventually became a Division 1 lacrosse coach as well as coaching lacrosse at multiple high schools.

Since moving back to the area Marscher has worked as an        assistant coach on the  ’Stoga lacrosse team as well as the head lacrosse coach at Baldwin. 

She’s stayed with field hockey and lacrosse all these years due to her love for the game itself.

“Field hockey, especially now is a really fast sport, and the skill level needed is super high,” Marscher said. “Being back with field hockey has really made me fall back in love with the sport” 

But Marscher really first got back into coaching due to her positive experiences as a student athlete and the “life lessons” the sport taught her. 

“I just feel most at home on a field. I truly want to stay involved and stay around athletics, and that’s really what’s kept me going with coaching,” Marscher said. 

Over the course of this year, Marscher wants the team to keep pushing to make each other stronger together and emphasize the importance of teamwork. 

 Marscher tries to accomplish this by starting each practice with a talk to reflect on their most recent game. 

“For me I think, coming to  practice with the right mindset is important and not just going through the motions,” Marscher said.

During practice she goes on to run competitive games which stress particular drills or skills and usually finishes a practice with a scrimmage to apply these skills to a higher intensity setting.  

Marscher’s main goal for the season is a victory at the District Championship. 

What makes all the practices, drills and scrimmages worth it?

“For me, it’s seeing the girls having learned the value of hard work and teamwork,” Marscher said. “I want them to feel that all the time they’re putting in is worthwhile.”

New boys’ ice hockey coach: Ross Hyatt

Class of 2006 alumnus and new Conestoga boys ice hockey coach Ross Hyatt remembers stepping out onto the ice for the first time when he was five or six.  

“My stick got caught on the net, and I knocked the wind out of myself,” Hyatt said.   

Encouraged by his hockey-loving family, Hyatt stuck with ice hockey and played through high school. Growing up, he played defense in local recreational leagues before switching to center because he liked the way centers supported their teammates. However, his fondest memories come from playing for ’Stoga.  

“My favorite moment was probably making the Flyers Cup my sophomore year. We had gone through a little bit of a drought as a club, and then getting back into the Flyers Cup was definitely awesome,” Hyatt said.   

The team reached the Flyers Cup, a postseason tournament for Philadelphia area high schools, twice during Hyatt’s time in high school, with him as team captain during his senior year. However, it wasn’t until he attended Eastern University, which didn’t have an ice hockey team, that he decided to try coaching.   

“I always wanted to teach and mentor kids, and coaching was the step that I made,” Hyatt said.  

After college, Hyatt coached at local ice hockey clubs Valley Forge Colonials and Valley Forge Minutemen. His experience coaching a Conestoga player there inspired him to apply for Conestoga head coach, after previous coach Mike Graves retired. After being hired as both the new varsity and junior varsity coach, Hyatt hopes to connect the teams and develop young hockey players throughout the district.  

“JV kids will be able to get some varsity time, and we’ll have more of an opportunity to develop at a faster rate. Our goal is to have everyone who’s playing JV move up to the varsity level,” Hyatt said.  

Practices started on Aug. 21 and occur once a week for both varsity and junior varsity teams. During practices, players warm up with mini games of two-on-two or three-on-three before completing “flow drills” with lots of skating and opportunities to handle the puck.  

Although practices are tough, Hyatt said that he hopes each player enjoys the opportunity to be on the ice, learning how to be a kind and supportive teammate, and ultimately, a kind and supportive member of society.  

“My ultimate goal is always to grow the individual, not necessarily just 100% the player,” Hyatt said. “I hope that players come out of this season as developed young men and better hockey players as well.”  

New crew coaches:

Goldia Kiteck

Conestoga Crew head coach Goldia Kiteck repeats it every day: “Put the blade in before the legs push.” 

Kiteck knows from her experience rowing on the University of California-Berkeley’s varsity crew team that doing so puts your weight in the water and increases speed. Kiteck first tried crew when she walked on the club team at UC Berkeley, where she rowed in both fours and eights, before moving up to varsity and finishing her rowing career at the Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia. She is currently the head coach of Conestoga Crew. 

Kiteck received her first taste of coaching at UC Berkeley, where she mentored young rowers. 

“If the coaches wanted someone to get technically better at rowing, they’d often pair me with them in a smaller boat, and we’d row together,” Kiteck said.  

Kiteck began coaching as an assistant coach at Conestoga during the fall of 2018. After the head coach left in August 2019, Kiteck submitted her resume to a board of Conestoga Crew alumni and parents. She presented the board with her coaching philosophy.  

“A team is built on and relies on the mental, physical and emotional growth of every single athlete,” Kiteck said.  

To manage Conestoga Crew’s program, Kiteck increased the amount of time she spent on the Conestoga Crew Club from 15-20 hours a week as an assistant coach to 20-30 hours a week. During this time, she sends emails, plans workouts, sets up lineups, gets race schedules, manages assistant coaches and goes down to the boathouse to adjust boats.  

During practices, rowers perform drills focusing on different parts of the rowing stroke, such as the arms and legs. Once a week, Kiteck plans quads made of rowers of different skill levels so that the younger rowers can have the feeling of a more experienced boat. Although practices are strenuous, Kiteck hopes the team enjoys the hard work. 

“I’m hoping that everyone this year feels a sense of community within the team,” Kiteck said. “No matter what kind of day it is, you’re going out there and you’re accomplishing some good hard work on the river, or when we go to races, we’re showing them what Conestoga Crew can do.” 

Jess Crosby

Conestoga Crew coach Jess Crosby grew up hearing how much fun her dad had rowing in high school. However, it wasn’t until after she was cut from the school volleyball team her junior year and given the ultimatum of “You’re either doing a sport or getting a job,” that she decided to give crew a try. 

“Once I got into it after a few weeks, I was like, ‘Okay, (my father) was right. I should have listened to him earlier,’” Crosby said. 

Crosby started as a coxswain, someone who sits opposite rowers to motivate and steer them, for the Newport Rowing Club in Delaware. She was recruited to St. Joe’s University (SJU), where she coxed for four years.

 After Crosby graduated from St. Joe’s University in May 2019, she realized how much she missed the river. Crosby decided to go back to the river and went on row2k.com, where she saw Conestoga Crew’s ad. 

As the team’s head novice coach, Crosby will introduce new rowers to crew in the spring. She hopes her coaching will convince them to love crew. 

Allie Nussbaum

Allie Nussbaum wanted to find a sport that suited her, and rowing turned out to be just that. While many people involved with crew are rowers, Nussbaum became a coxswain. Since rowing is a technique-based sport in which coaches cannot help from the sidelines, a coxswain can serve as a “coach in the boat” and can make or break a strong boat. Since Nussbaum said she struggled with athletics sports in general, becoming a coxswain meant being able to participate and learn the skill of rowing without having to be the strongest athlete on in the water. 

Rowing was a sport that she thought she could (and did) “stick with.” Nussbaum competed in rowing from her novice years through college. She eventually received a scholarship to Temple University. Since she wanted to stay involved with rowing after finishing up her rowing years at Temple, she turned to coaching. 

The coaching mentality that Nussbaum uses with her rowers is primarily learning-based. She pushes “mindfulness” and “being really aware of what you’re doing and how you contribute to the system,” Nussbaum is excited to start racing and her career as a coach at Conestoga. 

George Twardy

As a freshman at a new school, George Twardy wanted to try something new, so he decided to give rowing a shot. Twardy entered St. Joe’s Prep not knowing anybody and wanted to find a way to get involved and meet new people.

“I thought this might be a good way to meet people and maybe get into something. I figured if I didn’t hear about it, a bunch of other people didn’t either, and we’d all be new at something,” Twardy said.

Eventually, rowing worked out for Twardy, and he accepted a scholarship to Drexel University. Throughout his years rowing, he looked up to his coaches, which inspired him to become a coach himself.  

“My coaches were an inspiration to me and just rowing in the real world, I really wanted to give back,” Twardy said.

 Post-graduation, Twardy volunteered as a coach at Drexel. After searching for a coaching position, Twardy heard from a friend about the opportunity to coach at Conestoga.

“I love being out on the river everyday; it’s what I want to do,” Twardy said

One of his favorite aspects of coaching is when everything “clicks;” the rowers find their rhythm and can push the boat down the river as one quick, powerful motion. He is very “efficiency-motivated” and an advocate for excellent technique.

“If you’re dedicated to move your boat, you’re not going to lack on power, but (we need to) focus on the form a little bit,” Twardy said.

Twardy also wants success from his entire team.“It is easy to take thirty people and just focus on four of them and make them fast. It’s an art, it’s another thing, to make your entire program as fast as it can (be),” Twardy said. “So, trying to focus on everybody is a challenge in sorts, but we’re all very motivated to do that. We all want to see everybody succeed.”

Garren Best

Garren Best, decided to try rowing competitively during his junior year of high school. Rowing, as it turns out, was the perfect fit.

Best attended Unionville High School, where he helped found a rowing club. He achieved multiple records and earned a scholarship to St. Joe’s University. Best said the team his freshman year was “horrendous.” Yet after his senior year, they were ranked 17th in the country. His experience shaping an average team into a top-notch competitor helped frame his coaching style and experience that rowers see today.

“I know what it takes to get boats to go fast and to improve a program,” Best said.

Best is now using his experience to help Conestoga Crew to compete to the best of its ability as a coach. Rowing gave Best a lot — a scholarship, better habits and a skill — and he wants to “share the same experience with other people” and “help them succeed at that level.”

“It’s easy in rowing to just pull really really really hard and go down the course,” Best said.

He is an avid believer in working “smarter not harder,” and really wants to emphasize the importance of technique this season over other drills that just build power.

Best, who wants to stay active in the sport now that he is coaching, rows competitively for Vesper Rowing Club and will be competing with the Saint Joe’s alumni team and in the Head of The Charles Regatta in Boston.

Best’s expectation for the year is to make it to states and send as many boats as possible to nationals. So far, everything is off to a good start.

“I have been impressed with how remarkably mature and ready-to-learn these Conestoga kids are,” Best said.