March 13 of 2020 was a Friday, and it was a bad luck Friday the 13th for many McCallie School students as the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the spring sports seasons just as they were getting started. In the 2020-21 school year, the boys were able to compete in as close to normal conditions as possible, and the result was another banner year for McCallie Athletics.
Recapping the spring sports seasons, the Blue Tornado added eight state championships to the ledger, joining cross country, football and three individual wrestlers – all state title winners from earlier in the school year.
The track and field team won the program’s first state championship in the TSSAA era and the first for Head Coach Mike Wood in his 30 years at the helm. The depth and talent of the team put the squad over the top, leading to five other event champions at the state meet and 12 other top-three finishes.
The tennis team followed up its 2019 state championship with a perfect season and a 10th state title. The Blue Tornado rolled to a 15-0 record and only allowed five total team points to opponents in the 15 dual matches. At the state tournament, McCallie defeated Ensworth in the semifinals and Montgomery Bell Academy in the finals by identical 4-0 scores.
The tennis doubles tandem of junior Will Leathers and freshman Gabe Getz punctuated the spring season by winning the Division II-AA doubles title. It was the tennis program’s first state doubles crown since 2017.
Baseball had a successful season, winning 10 straight to open the schedule and finishing 21-11 overall. The young squad with only four seniors clinched a spot in the Division II-AA state tournament with an exciting playoff series win at Lipscomb Academy to return to the Final Four for the third time since 2017.
The lacrosse squad forged a 6-7 record, with two of the losses coming by two goals or less. McCallie avenged a regular-season loss to Memphis University School with a convincing 15-6 win in the state quarterfinals, but the season ended the following week in the state semifinals.
Soccer continued its run as one of the top programs in the Southeast and went 8-2-2 on the year. The Blue Tornado outscored their opponents 32-9 overall against its typical tough schedule. They advanced to the state tournament after defeating Montgomery Bell Academy on the road. Senior Gui Vivaldini was named Gatorade Tennessee Boys Soccer Player of the Year, distinguishing him as the state’s best boys high school soccer player.
The rowers had limited time on the water before the competition season began. They were able to compete in five races and qualified for the National Scholastic Championships in Philadelphia, Pa.
While the swimming championships typically take place in February, the 2021 state meet was held in April. McCallie’s swimming and diving teams, coming off back-to-back state titles, placed second this season with three individual state champions. The boys produced nine top-five finishes, set four school records, and posted four automatic All-American qualifying times.
Junior Sam Powe set a state record in the 100 backstroke and also won the 200 freestyle. The 200 medley relay team of Powe, Will Hanger, Colby Maupin, and Conor Kinley also set a school record, winning in All-American qualifying time.
Track and Field
The track and field team outscored runner-up Christian Brothers 164.3 - 136 to bring home the state championship trophy at the Division II-AA state meet held May 26 at Rockvale High School.
The depth and talent of the team put the squad over the top, leading to five individual event championships and 12 other top-three finishes.
McCallie’s state champions included senior Eric Rivers (triple jump), senior Michael May (decathlon and 110-meter hurdles), freshman Kavan Reynolds (400 meters), and the 4 x 100 meter relay team of Rivers, John Kohl McAdams, B.J. Harris and Jackson Burns.
The Blue Tornado earned team points in 17 of the 19 events. Top-three finishers included senior Nic Robinson in the decathlon (third), the 110 hurdles (second) and the 300 hurdles (third); senior Jack Braman and May in the pole vault (second and third); Rivers in the high jump and long jump (second and third); senior Jackson Burns in the 100 and 200 meters (second); Reynolds in the 200 (third) and eighth-grader Jack Bowen in the 3200 (third).