Mending the relationship between St. Mary’s and MSHS

Manitou and St. Mary’s students show togetherness meeting concluded.

Emily Waite, Senior Reporter

Manitou Springs High School representatives, Ayla Flett (11), Madrid Mack (11), Emily Waite (11), Liam Bowie (10), Maximus Goede (12), Eligh Hettle (12) and Kaleena Jones (11), walked into the Patty Jewett Golf Course Club House on the morning of Wednesday, February 9 to meet with St. Mary’s High School representatives to discuss how the heated rivalry between these two schools should continue.

This meeting was a result of the events that occurred when Manitou Springs High School’s boys basketball team faced their rival team, the St. Mary’s Pirates, on the night of January 19, 2022. A hard, intense match was played between the two teams with lots of energy from the crowd. After losing the game to the Pirates 53-72, both teams huddled to congratulate each other and exited the court. According to the MSHS Athletic Director, Cameron Jones, the MSHS student section walked onto the court because of the expected retaliation on their mascot. After an incident that occurred to the St. Mary’s mascot after a volleyball earlier in the year. Both student sections met in the middle and verbal and physical conflict broke out.

As a result of this event, the athletic directors from both MSHS and St. Mary’s High School agreed it was necessary for a group of students from both schools to meet at a neutral location to collaborate on how to change the negative relationship between the schools.   

The meeting was led with a purpose statement: “How to maintain a healthy school rivalry while remaining respectful and honoring the values that are outlined in the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSSA) sportsmanship guidelines,” Jones said.

I think it was better that we met up and talked about what happened. They actually turned out to be pretty cool, and I think it just really made it more of a healthy rivalry.”

— Eligh Hettle (12)

MSHS teacher and Student Council adviser Alice Stoneback led an icebreaker activity between the students, so they could start to get to know each other and to get a the conversation started. After this, three breakout groups were formed with representatives from both schools in all three groups to discuss the CHSAA sportsmanship guidelines.

In this activity, the breakout groups discussed positive aspects of the rivalry and ways to improve. “The main thing is to be supportive to your team and not trash the other team when you’re cheering,” said St. Mary’s student, Maddy Lenahan. 

The groups also discussed some negative aspects of the rivalry and how to stop these actions. Both schools agreed to stop being directly disrespectful to individual students, school property or either school’s mascot. “Both schools should stop being disrespectful towards each other’s mascots and just start having some respect. Start showing some respect for the players, for the game and just not making the game about yourself,” said MSHS sophomore Liam Bowie.

“We want to keep enjoying these events and we don’t know what might happen if we don’t agree to do some of these things, so in the end just keep it civil,” said St. Mary’s student, Owen Barton.

After this discussion, the groups came up with ideas to help build a healthy competition between these two schools. Jones came up with the idea to coordinate opposite themes for games and to play games during halftime.

Barton had the idea to have fundraising competitions during games. Some ideas for fundraisers would be a food drive; whichever school brings the most canned foods wins, or a penny war, whichever school collects the most change wins and all proceeds go to a charity.

Some other ideas that came up were to do joint service projects and to have a trophy for each sport that is passed between the two schools. 

At the end of the day, it’s not really about who wins or loses, it’s about having a good game with awesome sportsmanship, and just knowing that we’re all people.”

— Owen Barton, St. Mary's

So the rivalry between MSHS and St. Mary’s can continue, both schools agreed to start meeting every few months to see how they can discuss ideas to help continue to build a healthy rivalry. 

“I think it was better that we met up and talked about what happened. They actually turned out to be pretty cool, and I think it just really made it more of a healthy rivalry,” said MSHS student Eligh Hettle.

“At the end of the day, it’s not really about who wins or loses, it’s about having a good game with awesome sportsmanship, and just knowing that we’re all people,” said Barton.