A brief history of Wilson sports


Madelyn Shapiro

Many student athletes walk along the halls of Wilson. Both boys and girls proudly sport their personalized windbreakers or sell donuts throughout the building to raise funds for their team. With eight fall sports, seven winter sports, and 10 spring sports, there are many opportunities for students to join teams.

A search through old Beacons showed that, back in the 1950’s, Wilson was a very different place. The track team was just starting, the soccer team was nonexistent, and girls sports were very much out of the picture.

For boys, football, basketball, baseball, tennis, cross country, track and golf were the main sports. Getting onto the team was a tough process, as often times many players tried out for a limited number of spots. In 1958, 55 players tried out for the spring baseball team, with only 9 positions available. “The Sports Review of 1936,” written in the first year of Wilson varsity sports, said that Wilson sports teams mainly would play local prep schools. The golf team was the first team to start competing in inter-high sports, and felt that it played a critical role in showing Wilson spirit by doing so.

Female athletes mainly participated in modern dance, tennis, field hockey, badminton, volleyball, and softball. Other activities included archery, gymnastics, and cheerleading. The teams did not have scheduled games, but competed in tournaments instead.

Today, many of the sports teams created years ago are still an integral part of the Wilson community. Some of the teams, such as golf and tennis, are no longer front page news. Other sports, such as soccer, have grown to replace their reputation. Girls sports teams are now more organized, with a solid schedule of games and a plethora of athletes. The track team has continued to expand at Wilson. Desmond Dunham, head coach for cross country and co-head coach for track, describes the atmosphere of the team as “a structured and organized environment” that can provide a place for “student athletes to develop to be better people and [to develop] certain characteristics that can be learned through sports, in terms of grit, determination, a strong work ethic, discipline, and most importantly teamwork.”

Sports at Wilson are a place for students to shine, as well as learn how to work with others. Both students athletes of the past and of the present would agree that joining a team is a great way to enjoy one’s time at Wilson.