Athletics re-enter the FAA as competition kicks off

Senior+Daniel+Heller+shoots+the+ball+during+boys%E2%80%99+varsity+soccer%E2%80%99s+win+over+Greenwich+Country+Day+School+%28GCDS%29+on%0ASeptember+21.+The+Panthers+crushed+The+Browning+School+by+a+score+of+7-1+in+their+first+win+of+the+season.+The+boys%E2%80%99+varsity%0Asoccer+team%2C+now+8-1-1+on+the+season%2C+is+one+of+the+handful+of+teams+at+Masters+that+competes+in+the+Fairchester+Athletic%0AAssociation+%28FAA%29.

Isaac Cass

Senior Daniel Heller shoots the ball during boys’ varsity soccer’s win over Greenwich Country Day School (GCDS) on September 21. The Panthers crushed The Browning School by a score of 7-1 in their first win of the season. The boys’ varsity soccer team, now 8-1-1 on the season, is one of the handful of teams at Masters that competes in the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA).

Noah Kassell-Yung, Sports Editor

After two years out of the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA), The Masters School has rejoined the league and competition as sports fully return to campus. 

Masters’ athletic program as a whole is a part of the FAA and competes in both the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) and New York State Association of Independent School (NYSAIS) competitions.

“[The decision to rejoin] was so that we had an opportunity to get our students to get recognized through All-New-England and FAA First and Second teams, and it enables us to have, come postseason time, up to three opportunities to compete, ” Athletic Director Logan Condon said. Having multiple competitions allows athletes to show their abilities on a broader scale. “Being in the FAA does not only give us something to compete for, but it gives our student athletes a platform on which to showcase their skills,” said Athletics Operations Manager Juan Cobos.

Being in the FAA does not only give us something to compete for, but it gives our student-athletes a platform on which to showcase their skills.”

— Juan Cobos

The Masters School is one of 12 schools that compete within the FAA. The top four teams after the regular season go to single elimination playoffs, semifinals and then finals. NEPSAC is a competition that includes schools from New Jersey all the way up to Maine. To be eligible for NEPSAC, Masters must finish as a one of top teams in the FAA and have an impressive enough record to merit an invitation. 

NYSAIS operates a little differently. Once the regular season is complete, Masters will send in their results and apply to compete in the postseason. All games that Masters plays against New York schools count for NYSAIS, while all games against Connecticut schools count for NEPSAC. Since the FAA has schools in both Connecticut and New York, competition spans the border. 

According to Condon, a part of the agreement to re-enter into the FAA was that Masters would not compete in postseason play for three years in order to allow Masters’s programs to build up to a level competitive enough with the other schools. The programs while rebuilding will still compete and be competitive in NYSAIS.

“We need to build those programs to be competitive within the FAA while being able to compete within NYSAIS immediately,” Condon said.

While this was a general agreement, the league has allowed for some teams to still compete, including several fall season sports such as boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, and cross country. For the winter season, the school will compete in the FAA for boys and girls basketball, and both swim teams. In the spring boys tennis, baseball, and track will compete in the FAA. While some athletic programs at Masters will need a few years to strengthen and become competitive in the FAA, those programs will still be able to compete with potential postseason play. 

 While some programs will have to wait three years to compete in the playoffs, the FAA does not acknowledge boys volleyball, fencing, and indoor track so those teams do not have FAA play. The Masters’ girls tennis program competes in the fall while the FAA holds girls competition in the spring so the team does not compete in the FAA.

Having a competitive season back for the first time in over a year and a half was met with excitement and anticipation from athletes and coaches alike. Adding an additional prestigious competition to the schedule added fuel to an already blazing fire. 

“Now that we’re playing for a championship everyone got a lot more serious,” said Boys Varsity Soccer captain Kyle Benson. “I think we can win everything. There’s three championships we’re working towards, we have a very solid team, and I’m very confident with the players we have that we are capable of accomplishing our goals.”

The addition of the FAA to our athletics will have a large impact on and off the field for Masters. “I’m super excited because it gives us more opportunities to compete which means more time on the field, which means more recognition for our student athletes, and most of all, it means participation in postseason play,” Condon said.