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February 26, 2021

AHA Athletes & Coaches Show Their Spirit

Coaches and athletes from the Academy of the Holy Angels are showcasing their skills and showing school spirit as they compete, despite pandemic related restrictions. Notably, the Academy’s varsity bowling team brought an undefeated record into late February, when they faced off against Westwood’s super strong squad.


“Coach (Patrick) Dunne is truly a magician,” AHA Athletic Director Patti Gorsuch said of her bowling coach. “He can get girls who have never bowled before to improve and improve year after year. He is a testament to the fact that a coach who cares can make wonderful things happen.”


Asked how AHA’s coaches are keeping athletes engaged, Gorsuch added, “Our coaches are doing what they always do. There is no change. They give the athletes everything they have in an attempt to make this a ‘regular season,’ even if it really isn’t. Our coaches are determined to give our girls a great season, no matter what.”

During the winter, only the bowling team and basketball teams were able to actively compete. Gorsuch noted that COVID quarantines eventually became necessary, but AHA and their competitors were able to play many of their games.


Although New Jersey and Bergen County canceled several tournaments, Gorsuch reports that AHA’s athletes remain focused on the positive: They are pleased to be able to participate in their favorite sports.


“Putting on a uniform puts a smile on our girls’ faces,” she commented. “It’s not about winning championships; it’s about getting the opportunity to play with their friends, to exercise, to be a part of a team. Giving them the opportunity to play is a small step in regaining some sort of normalcy.”


“Normal” seasons include bleachers packed with enthusiastic fans. This season began with a ban on in-person spectators, and restrictions were later updated to permit just two parents/guardians per player. AHA responded by livestreaming games and matches.


Gorsuch, who shares the links prior to each game, reported that good numbers of family and friends are logging into AHA’s sporting events.


“Our entire athletic program is plugging along. We’re doing everything we can to get games and practice in,” the director continued. “Our girls are being so good about being careful and not putting themselves in situations where they could be impacted by COVID.”


Gorsuch praised AHA Trainer Julia Moschetti, saying, “She is fantastic. She takes every precaution, and has created a sanitary and safe bubble for our girls and coaches.”


Asked about COVID-19 safety protocols, Gorsuch mentioned the school’s daily health check, temperature checks, and the availability of hand sanitizer. She added that athletes are required to wear masks during practice and on the sidelines during basketball practices and games. In addition, masks must be worn at all times during bowling matches. Team benches are spaced so all players sit six feet apart, and equipment is sanitized daily.


“Our winter track team should have begun working out on February 1; however, we are in a holding pattern due to the snow covering our track,” Gorsuch reported, adding, “No indoor meets or practices can be held according to New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association guidelines.”


At the end of February, Gorsuch reported that volleyball and gymnastics would resume on March 1, and winter track would start the next day. Softball, lacrosse, golf, and spring track are due to begin in April.


“Hopefully, our spring season, which was canceled last year, will be pretty much back to normal,” the director said. “Schedules will be full and there will probably be a return to Bergen County and state tournaments. There is also the fact that the competitions are all outdoors. That makes it a lot easier to see a light at the end of the tunnel.”


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential.