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Saints Head South for Spring Training

Saints Head South for Spring Training

Canterbury athletes had a little extra spring in their step when they traveled to warmer climates to prepare for the upcoming season.

Five teams—Girls’ Varsity Tennis, Varsity Baseball, Crew, and Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse—headed south for valuable practice time, high-level instruction, and opportunities to bond with teammates, new and old.

Girls’ Varsity Tennis | March 4–8 | Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Six players from the Girls’ Tennis program traveled to Hilton Head Island to train at the Van Der Meer Tennis Center with an international staff that includes former ATP, WTA, Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and top collegiate players.

“The experience helps our players build camaraderie by spending time together doing what they love,” said Head Coach and English Teacher Libby Bennett, who was joined on the trip by Girls’ JV Tennis Head Coach Ashley Hassiak, a Spanish teacher at Canterbury. While the girls did not play any matches at Van Der Meer, they had intense training sessions every morning and afternoon. The extra time on the courts was exceedingly valuable and appreciated by the players.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to play and learn tennis from some of the best players and coaches in the country and also create a strong bond with my teammates and coaches,” said Katherine Datlow ’24. “We each spent one-on-one time with the instructors who not only improved our tennis skills but helped grow our passion for the sport even further.” 

Varsity Baseball | March 9–16 | Fort Pierce, Florida

Spring training is an annual rite of passage for most baseball teams, and our Saints squad was no exception. They took full advantage of the chance to take the field at the beautiful Lawnwood Baseball Complex and Lakewood Complex under Florida’s sunny skies. And while the experience of playing is the most important goal, Head Coach and Director of Studies Todd Mathewson was just as pleased with the game results.

“We went 6-0 against some very good teams. They do not count on our schedule, but it was nice to get all the players involved and playing so well,” he shared. “The boys worked hard, had tremendous attention to detail, and performed well in all phases of the game—offense, defense, and pitching. It was great to be outside and have quality time on the field.” The team was able to bond even further while attending a New York Mets spring training game and Florida Atlantic University-University of Miami college game while they were there—the icing on the cake for an ideal baseball-centric adventure. 

“Watching those games and relaxing with everybody was nice, especially since the rest of our schedule was packed,” said Co-Captain Andrew Rondini ’24. “The trip was one hundred percent baseball, and we showcased all the work we put in during the offseason. I wish we could do it all again.” Fellow Co-Captain Cole Silvia ’24 was in complete agreement: “Being with the team for a full week in another state, playing only baseball, staying in the hotel together—it was awesome!”

Boys’ & Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse | March 17–22 | Naples, Florida

Having the chance to practice and play at Paradise Coast Sports Complex, one of the country’s premier destinations for athletic training, was amazing enough for our Varsity Lacrosse teams, but airboat and swamp buggy tours of the Everglades and time at the beach made it extra-special. 

The Head Coaches, Mathematics Department Chair Christopher Roberts P ’24, ’27 and Associate Director of Admission Casey Lyons, led their players through nine practices during the event hosted annually by Trilogy Lacrosse, and the teams played in a number of scrimmages—the boys against Blair Academy and Groton School and the Girls versus Blair, Gorton, and Rye Country Day School. The Saints also had the opportunity to work with a coach from Trilogy’s renowned lacrosse program. And even with all that on-field activity, the group still managed to enjoy local attractions in their downtime. 

“The trip to Florida was amazing and gave us a chance to get to know some of our new teammates,” said Elsa Copeland ’24, Co-Captain of the Girls’ team. “It was exciting playing scrimmages against teams that we do not usually compete against. The experience made us all excited for a successful season to come!” 

Crew | March 17–23 | Deland, Florida

Ten student-athletes got plenty of work in as they spent six days rowing out of Stetson University on Lake Beresford and the St. Johns River twice a day. There were no formal competitions scheduled, but the Saints benefited greatly from getting a jump on their time in boats for the spring season. Many of the rowers even tried sculling in two-person shells using two oars instead of one for the first time; the team typically uses four-person shells at home. The entire week was overwhelmingly positive.

“We were at the same facility as three other teams in our league, so it was nice to see some of our friends and competitors while getting back on the water,” said Head Coach and Science Teacher Sally Ruderman. “The technical improvements from the beginning to the end of the week were incredible, and the rowers had a terrific time!”

That sentiment was echoed by Grayson Mengold ’26. “The trip was both a team bonding experience and training program,” he said. “I learned so much. We changed our lineups every day, allowing us to try out new positions in the boats and compete with different people. That made us better rowers and teammates as we got to know each other better.”


Learning, improving, connecting—the perfect spring training ingredients for these dedicated student-athletes. Roll Saints!