This year, 40 years after the Abbot Academy merger, the Andover Athletics Advisory Board strives to bring the same core values of equal opportunity to the playing field.
Comprised of the Captains of Andover’s 35 Varsity teams, the Advisory Board brings together outstanding athletes and student leaders to work towards a common goal—promoting male and female team partnership.
This year, newly elected Co-Heads Tyler Marshall ’14, Captain of Football, and Diana Tchadi ’14, Captain of Girls Soccer and Track and Field, will lead the Board in its endeavors to raise awareness about the Andover-Abbot Merger, foster a positive environment in the athletics department and equally highlight boys’ and girls’ contests.
**Diana Tchadi ’14 Tyler Marshall ’14 Michael Kuta, Director of Athletics**
_A.WESTFALL/THE PHILLIPIAN __L.XUAN/THE PHILLIPIAN L.XUAN/THE PHILLIPIAN_
“[It is] an effort to bring awareness to the importance of athletics as part of the Andover experience,” said Michael Kuta, Director of Athletics and Athletics Advisory Board Advisor, “It was very apparent to me that kids on teams did a great job of electing leaders, so it’s going to be very exciting working together.”
Voted Co-Heads from a pool of elected Captains, Marshall and Tchadi will shoulder the responsibility of being the liaisons between the players on the field and Kuta.
“It’s like being a Captain for any team,” said Marshall. “You have to bring everyone together and get everyone moving towards the same goal, then you can do anything.”
The first initiative for the Advisory Board will be the establishment of Brother/Sister teams. Other than the obvious Boys and Girls Soccer and Boys and Girls Cross Country, Water Polo and Volleyball have partnered together in addition to Football and Field Hockey.
Tchadi and Marshall hope to bridge the gap between previously separated teams and achieve school unity through these new relationships.
“We all know what it takes to be an athlete, we all know how hard it can be and what you have to sacrifice because we have that in common, so it makes sense that we come together,” said Tchadi.
Marshall commenced the partnership on Friday, bringing the Andover Football team to Field Hockey’s game against Loomis. Cheered on by the vocal slew of football players, Andover Field Hockey scored four unanswered goals.
The Advisory Board will also collaborate with the Brace Center for Gender Studies throughout the year, most notably the celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day and hosting the National Women’s Ice Hockey Team on December 7th.
Additionally, the Advisory Board will work to equally highlight boys’ and girls’ athletic events by actively scheduling respective games during primetime.
“[Coeducation] is the thing that so many people take for granted right now,” said Tchadi. “People like Mrs. [Karen] Kennedy actually had to fight for Title IX and she didn’t have the same opportunities that we do, and that’s something that people just don’t think about.”
“As a girl, [the idea] that I can even play a sport [in high school] and later at the college level is just extraordinary if you think about the conditions years ago,” she added.
On a final note, Marshall had a piece of advice for aspiring athletes of all levels and ages: “Go for your dreams. I was a little skinny guy when I came here, and now [three years later] I’ve gained 40 pounds and I’m Captain of the football team. What kept me going? When I came in I was surrounded by upperclassmen, and trying to watch them play and playing behind them was crazy. But me and John Cifrino [’14] are up where they were now, and looking down I see what they were doing, and now I see how I can do it.”
Along with their fellow captains, Marshall and Tchadi will continue to inspire a new generation of athletes by embodying the ideals of equality, hard play and sportsmanship.