NEWARK — After the Salesianum basketball team had finished its season with a state championship on March 11 at the Bob Carpenter Center, they took their trophy and shared it with the student section. Hundreds of black-clad boys cheered wildly as the school claimed another title.
Athletic success is nothing new at Salesianum, but this winter, it was extraordinary, even by the school’s standards. With that championship, the Sals won all four Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association sports contested in the winter. The other three are indoor track, wrestling and swimming. And the hockey team defeated Father Judge High School in overtime on March 1 to win the Philadelphia Catholic League.
“First time ever,” junior basketball player Kareem Thomas said. “Making history.”
“Great program,” added his teammate, Isaiah Hynson. “And our fans are really supportive. Salesianum is like a brotherhood. We all support each other no matter what it is.”
When the team gathered in front of the student section for a photo at the Bob, several of the players posed with open hands, signifying the five championships. Add to that two of three possible fall titles — the Sals also captured cross country and soccer — and that’s a lot of new banners coming to Father Birkenheuer Gymnasium.
The success of the Salesianum athletic programs goes beyond game night, athletic director Katie Godfrey said.
“It’s just been a tremendous year for our student-athletes across all seasons, and it’s been a total team effort for every single one of these sports. It’s about the depth of the team, the team chemistry, and how hard they’ve worked every day. And that’s why they’ve seen success,” she said.
The brotherhood is real, she continued. The students continue to show up for each other.
“Our student section is No. 1 in the state, and I love to see them support each other. It just makes my heart warm,” Godfrey said.
The spring sports schedule is actually the busiest in terms of the number of sports that take place. The DIAA will crown boys champions in baseball, golf, lacrosse, tennis, and track and field. Sallies also fields teams in rugby and volleyball. They may feel some pressure, Godfrey said, but the important thing is to stick to the formula of teamwork and hard work.
“They’ll be OK,” she said.