Steward Welcomed into the TCIS Conference for Athletics

Highly regarded conference will allow Steward’s boys and girls to compete against the same schools for the first time

Last week, members of the Tidewater Conference for Independent Schools voted to grant The Steward School full membership into this well-respected athletic conference.

“This is wonderful news for our athletes and for the future of our athletic program,” Director of Athletics Bruce Secrest said. “Our teams will have the opportunity to develop healthy competition against well-matched schools, as our Upper School boys and girls will be playing against the same schools for the first time in Steward history.”

Coach Secrest also listed the following benefits of membership in the TCIS:

  • Ethical competition: Like Steward, the TCIS member schools have a proven track record of mission-driven, ethical competition.
  • Secure scheduling: As Steward’s teams have become increasingly competitive, the varsity schedule has grown to meet the demand, including playing against the TCIS teams. Joining the conference enhances that schedule and smooths the process. In addition, if a game gets cancelled, the teams must make it up, ensuring a full season of play for our teams.
  • State polls: The strength and reputation of the conference increases our teams’ visibility in state polls.
  • Tournaments: Membership offers guaranteed conference tournament play for the top eight teams, as well as more opportunities to reach state championship play.
  • A fresh start: As our athletic program has grown and improved, we are ready for a fresh start in a new conference.
  • Program growth opportunities: Schools within the conference offer all the sports that Steward offers, and more. As our program continues to grow, we’ll have the opportunity to compete in-conference in other sports.

“Membership in the TCIS aligns with the mission of Steward’s athletic program,” Head of School Dan Frank said. “Our program is focused on development, both of the individual and the team, emphasizing skill as well as character, confidence, leadership, and teamwork. Coach Secrest and I believe strongly that the TCIS offers healthy competition and growth opportunities to support these goals.”

The TCIS includes schools in central and eastern Virginia. Steward has taken thoughtful steps to make the travel commitment to other schools more comfortable for our student-athletes. For games requiring the longest travel times, the Athletic Department is working with those schools to reduce the school night burden. In addition, for trips through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, Steward is providing charter buses so students can ride in comfort and use WiFi as available to complete homework.

When making the decision about whether to join the TCIS, Steward’s Athletic Department analyzed the travel required for multiple sports from each season for both boys and girls. Results showed a slight overall uptick. In some sports, overall travel goes up as many as two to three additional trips per year, based largely on our desire to compete at the state level with travel to in- and out-of-conference games. Many sports stayed the same and some teams had less travel.

Steward has been competing in the TCIS this school year under a provisional membership. Full membership, which includes championship play opportunities, begins with the 2017-18 school year. Membership in the TCIS is only applicable to JV and varsity teams; Middle School teams are unaffected.

“I really can’t say enough good things about this news,” Coach Secrest said. “Our Spartan community is already vibrant and strong, and will only continue to grow and strengthen with the new opportunities the TCIS provides.”





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