With separate visits from Olympic middle-distance runner Kate Grace and Major League Baseball pitchers Jeff Austin and Tony Cogan, the GDS community had the opportunity to learn from elite athletes even while interscholastic play is on hold in Washington, DC due to the pandemic.
GDS running coach Anthony Belber reflected, “On Tuesday night, the GDS community was fortunate enough to have Olympic mid-distance runner Kate Grace spend over an hour talking about motivation and her running career. About 80 current and alumni runners along with former coaches, students from the Lower School and Middle School, and parents found her reflections on focus, motivation, and gratitude to be very applicable to their own running, not to mention other aspects of their lives. The GDS running community thanks high school counselor Gaby Grebski for arranging for Kate to visit with us and our athletic director David Gillespie for making this evening possible.”
Lifelong runner and track fan (and now GDS parent) Becky Wexler was “excited to hear some words of wisdom from such an accomplished athlete.” She said, “I was impressed by the thoughtful and personal questions from the GDS seniors—they really pushed Grace to dig deep for answers. My daughter Hannah Wexler '29, a budding competitive swimmer, was interested to learn how Grace manages performance anxiety.”
In mid-November, Varsity Baseball coach Todd Carter welcomed Major League Baseball pitchers Jeff Austin and Tony Cogan. Todd interviewed the pair during the session and incorporated questions from the community audience. Jeff has previously lent his expertise to the GDS baseball program several times over the years. He was a guest coach on the team's spring trip to Florida several years ago and helped design an off-season workout routine.
Todd reflected, “It was great to hear from Jeff and Tony about the resilience and dedication it took to reach the highest level of their sport. What I liked most was that so much of what they shared can easily be applied to other endeavors. Also, I was thrilled to see so many people from across the GDS community in attendance from Lower School students, to alumni, to current High School players.”