SPRINGVILLE—Springville-Griffith Institute athletic director Joseph DeMartino knows there are some tough challenges ahead for his winter sports teams with the move back to Division III that came about due to enrollment numbers at the high school.
“We’re starting to develop some consistency with our winter teams and it’s only a matter of time before we see their fruits of labor,” DeMartino said.
Springville will have varsity teams in wrestling, basketball, bowling and swimming and will compete at the club level in hockey and trap shooting.
The latter co-ed sport is new to Springville and had nearly 20 students show interest during the squad’s first meeting last week. The group is slated to gather in January with the bulk of its competitive contests in February and March.
Trap shooting is just one of several of the school’s winter sports where DeMartino feels extremely fortunate to have coaches who are constantly developing athletic skills throughout the year.
“I believe there are six shoots at the club level and for the first year, Gary Klahn and his group from Springville Field and Stream have been awesome in getting this up and running,” DeMartino said. “I think the plan is to have practice on Mondays and get in a practice prior to competition.”
Just as Klahn is involved in a business venture related to S-GI athletics, so too is Kevin Farner.
“[Farner’s] got two full bowling squads and he’s probably got his sights set on Pioneer, as it’s usually between us and Pioneer for the division title,” DeMartino said. “He’s another coach we’re lucky to have with what he does in the community and having his own business. He does a lot of work with our kids in the off-season.”
Farner is one of several winter coaches who work with Springville athletes and the community when his sport isn’t in season. DeMartino is pleased with the continuing interest boys swimming coach Duane Boberg is able to generate from similar activities not directly related to S-GI.
“Coach Boberg gets the most out of our athletes. In addition to running a feeder program, he’s very fostering and nurturing. Boberg has really been an ideal fit for us,” DeMartino said. “The kids really respond to him and Ryan Dygert, who primarily works with the divers. It would be nice to see swimming return to a division championship that they had a few years back and that’s really only a matter of time.
“It will be difficult to replace Nolan West, who broke some boys swimming records last year, but I think Wyatt Fuller should dominate at diving in the division this year after a strong season last year.”
DeMartino said both of his varsity basketball coaches have combined to go above and beyond in helping to generate additional interest in their programs, by running a weekend basketball program that displays their commitment and dedication to furthering basketball at Springville.
“Bob Gainey and Greg Miller have teamed up on Saturdays to run a program to introduce basketball terminology along with skill development with participants from the elementary-level on-up,” DeMartino said. “Coach Gainey will certainly miss Julia Krzemien and Carrie Dickinson among others who’ve graduated, while Coach Miller will build around one of the most talented basketball players to ever come out of the area in Mason Goodridge.”
DeMartino doesn’t think he has a coach more passionate than Gainey and pointed to the fundraiser he does every year with Mount Mercy Academy before Christmas. This Saturday, the teams will accept donations for the Toys for Tots Foundation at S-GI’s girls basketball home season-opener Dec. 2 with the junior varsity starting at 12 p.m. and the varsity at 1:30 p.m.
The big news from the indoor track teams is that four West Valley students have joined Springville athletes, and while that transition might be difficult at other districts, DeMartino feels fortunate again to have coaches that will make the transition smooth.
“We’ve welcomed the West Valley kids and they’re having a good time and there are not two more welcoming coaches than Joe Marvin and Chad Russell that anyone could have a first-year experience with. I’m anticipating some solid contributions from our West Valley editions.”
Although it’s not a winter sport, DeMartino announced a new junior varsity and varsity boys teams in spring lacrosse with a merger with Eden that became official last week.