St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy are showing signs of growth in the program’s fourth varsity season.
The Wolves have 25 players combined at the varsity and JV levels. SJCA coach Richard Ciambotti said he’s comfortable with 10 or 11 players at the varsity level now, a luxury he’s never had before.
As the program has developed from year to year, though, the Wolves have lost a handful of star players. Stephen Beattie, the school’s first 1,000-point scorer, is the most recent to graduate after leading SJCA to a 15-10 record and a trip to the District 6 playoffs last year.
“It’s just odd,” Ciambotti said. “I mean every piece of it. We’ve never played a game without Stephen on the roster.”
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The Wolves are faced with replacing Beattie’s production and his leadership. They will also be without his brother, Shawn, who moved to Louisiana with his family after starting every game as a freshman last season.
St. Joseph’s has three returning players with starting experience in Nick Shearer, Rocky Chirieleison and Jack Mangene.
Ciambotti hopes the team’s increased depth contributes to this group’s development.
“It helps everybody when the guy across from you is pushing you every day,” Ciambotti said.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy
Coach: Richard Ciambotti
Assistants: Dennis Bender, Matt Beattie, Dom Mills
Last year: 15-10
Key losses: Stephen Beattie, Mikey Kresovich, AJ Youngmark, Jake Griggs, Mariano Sanchez, Shawn Beattie
Returning letterwinners: Nick Shearer, Rocky Chirieleison, Blake Murray, Carl Engstrom, Jack Mangene, RJ Marsh, Ryan Peachey
Key newcomers: Ethan Khoza, Malachi Scott, Lance Hamilton, Matt Steyers, Zane Thornburg, Christian Chirieleison, Carter Kauffman