What is done behind closed doors eventually comes to light.
In many ways, that describes the 2016-17 athletic year for St. Joseph Academy: the effort exerted in the off-season was on display when it counted across the spectrum. The Flashes’ boys soccer team won a sixth straight district title, but there were individual district champions in cross-country, golf and track and field.
“I’m most proud of our team’s GPAs; most of our athletes have over a 3.0,” said St. Joseph Athletic Director Matt Olesnevich. “I liked that we had four students to continue to careers in college. It was nice for cross-country and track to send kids to state again.”
Olesnevich’s football team wasn’t too shabby either. The Flashes finished 7-2 and averaged 33.4 points per game. Quarterback Matt Considine, who will be a walk-on at Wake Forest in the fall, averaged 20.7 yards per completion and threw for 1,282 yards and 17 touchdowns in nine games.
Senior wide receiver Tre Preston set the St. Johns County single-season receiving touchdown record when he hauled in an 85-yard touchdown pass in St. Joseph’s Nov. 4 season finale against St. Johns Country Day. Preston finished with 34 catches for 821 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Less than 16 hours after Preston set the mark, Sean Snyder ran in his second straight state cross-country meet. Snyder finished fifth with a time of 16:47.88.
Snyder, a junior, revealed he may be one to watch in distance running events when he nearly won last summer’s Bridge of Lions 5K. His commitment last summer was evident during the cross-country as well as the track and field seasons.
He won the District 4-1A cross-country title and qualified for state as an individual. He was even better during the track and field season, qualifying for state in two events.
Snyder was joined at the state track meet by freshman Isabella Goodwin. She finished 10th in the 3,200 meters with a time of 12:01.56 and 13th in the 1,600 with a time of 5:39.88.
Goodwin was also a member of the girls soccer team that annihilated teams at times and advanced to the playoffs for a third straight year. The Flashes finished 15-5 and outscored their opponents 99-19.
Other highlights included basketball player Katie Cramer scoring her 1,000th career point in January and her teammate, Mariana Dejuk, becoming the second straight St. Joseph valedictorian to be a multi-sport athlete. Dejuk, who played volleyball, basketball and tennis, finished with a 4.71 grade point average.
Snyder was the Class 1A state runner-up in the 3,200 meters after an explosive finishing lap. He was in seventh place at one point on the final lap, but recovered. In the final 150 meters, he went to the outside and overcame multiple runners to finish with a personal-best time of 9:48.19.
Snyder crossed the finish line third, but the runner who finished first was disqualified, elevating the junior to a surprising second place.
“I have come too far and worked way too hard not to go get it,” Snyder told The Record afterward. “It was there the whole time. At the end of the day I knew if I ran a few seconds faster than my (personal record), it would have been there. I knew I had more than that in me, even with the broken ankle a few weeks ago. I just went for it. I knew it would be there. The lean for the end, that was pretty cool. It all fell in place.”
Snyder was a member of St. Joseph’s 2016 district soccer championship, but took this past winter off. Nonetheless, it didn’t deter Josh Braun’s team from rolling through district play unbeaten and finishing with a 15-3-2 record.
The Flashes beat Christ’s Church Academy in penalty kicks on Jan. 27 to clinch the District 2-1A title. Freshman Zack Bender came off the bench in the game — after starter Jack Zaruba was injured — and stopped two penalties to win the district title.
Individually, junior golfer Taylor Dickmann won the District 6-1A title after shooting a 3-over 75. Preston won district titles in the long jump, triple jump and the 200 meters. He claimed regional titles in the 200 and long jump and narrowly finished second at the Class 1A state championships in the 200 with a school-record time of 22.05 seconds.
Snyder won a district title in cross-country as well as the 3,200 meters. Goodwin may have the brightest future of all the Flashes after winning district titles in the 3,200 and the 1,600 — the latter of which was in a school-record time of 5:28.08.