Behind the Scenes: Football

Holy Family Football Starts New Chapter

If you want to know the direction Holy Family Catholic High School’s football program is heading under new head Coach Tim Triplett, you don’t need a crystal ball. You need to look in the rearview mirror and talk to people the Fire coach has inspired.

Players like Nick Olson, one of Triplett’s early recruits out of Minnesota to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where Triplett was a positions coach from 2010 to 2014.

“…He teaches life lessons by using the game of football as the medium.”

“When he came through and we talked, it wasn’t about covering the bullet points like a lot of other coaches,” Olson recalls. “He was asking what was I looking for and who was I as a person rather than trying to sell me to USD. He wanted to see if I was a fit there. He’s a genuine person and tries to get to know you.”

And, once he knows you, Olson says, he makes sure his passion for football and living life right rubs off on everyone he comes in contact with. Olson, now a tight ends coach at the University of St. Thomas, recalls it took just one small, seemingly insignificant moment to jump-start his deep passion for college football.

“One of my first practices at USD, I made a play—a pretty good play,” Olson recalls. “He (Triplett) yelled out in front of everyone, ‘Would you look at that—Nick Olson, the pride of Richfield, Minnesota High School!’

“That was a big moment for a true college freshman 5 hours away from home in a fairly large Division I football program,” Olson says. “I didn’t expect or even know he was watching.”

The lasting impact Triplett has on players like Olson has become his legacy wherever he has coached. He’s invested in people and does everything he can to make little moments life changing. Now, he’ll share those shining moments with Holy Family Catholic High School student athletes.

“Tim is one of those guys who coaches football for the right reasons,” says Jim Kilian, head coach of St. Olaf football in Northfield, who was the offensive coordinator at the University of St. Thomas while Triplett coached various specialized positions from 2015 to 2018.

“Tim doesn’t do it for the notoriety or name recognition, but for the opportunity to give back and give others the same opportunities he had through football. He teaches life lessons by using the game of football as the medium.”

HF Football Starts Off the Field

“What I told guys in early team meetings is that there is culture and legacy here at Holy Family. We’re not going to change it but add to it,” he explains.

Coach Triplett, relaxed in a random chair scattered among many empty ones in the Holy Family team meeting room on a quiet July morning, shared his vision on Holy Family football—where it’s been and where he sees it going. The conversation surprisingly begins far removed from X’s and O’s.

“What I told guys in early team meetings is that there is culture and legacy here at Holy Family. We’re not going to change it but add to it,” he explains.

“We should be honored to be a part of it and will continue to grow it and enhance what we can so we positively influence those around us. We’re going to be measured by how we add value to other people’s lives by being a football player here.”

What does that mean? According to Triplett, Holy Family players:

  • Hold doors for others
  • Look people in the eye when they shake hands
  • Hustle across the street when there’s a walk signal
  • And always play hard, play together and play fast

Simple things like these send a message not only about his program, but also about the entire school.

“That, by extension, is the Holy Family way,” Coach Triplett says. “That’s what drew me here. We’re all on the same page.”

So far, the players have heard his message loud and clear, says senior Dominic Philliips.

“He’s super energetic and always available if you have any questions,” Phillips says. “And, he emphasizes the importance of a Catholic education and how important it is for us to give Holy Family a good rep.”

Coach Triplett, who likes to randomly toss in movie references to make a point, shared this thought: “I think they form a symbiotic circle, it is all encompassing of one,” he chuckles, noting his clever Star Wars reference. “Once we get culture right, a lot of things start going your way.”

Field Report: High Energy, Heavy D

Triplett introduced “Trip Football” to the team on the Holy Family practice field last June. It was the first organized team activity (OTA), one of 11 team activities coaches can conduct before the mandated two-week “blackout” (no contact with team).

“It’s definitely high tempo. There’s no lollygagging,” says senior Ryan Bowlin. “Coach emphasizes if you do the little things right and go at 110% percent, you’ll get into a good tempo that will show in the games.” (Find a schedule of games HERE.)

Phillips adds, “There’s never a dull moment. We’re always in ‘attack mode,’ always keeping the defense on its toes.”

Phillips adds, “There’s never a dull moment. We’re always in ‘attack mode,’ always keeping the defense on its toes.”

That type of high-spirited practice is by design. “The transition from a practice to a game is going to be seamless,” Triplett says. “Our practices are going to be chaotic, stuff going on all the time just like a game.”

While it may feel frenzied to the players, Triplett’s plan is well thought out. “He’s very intentional with everything he does, even if it is a little different,” Olson says. “There is always a rhyme and a reason to what he does. That is what is unique compared to other coaches.”

Triplett did share his concrete plan to getting his Holy Family football program off on the right foot, and it starts with these early priorities:

  1. Organizing practice and meetings. “We’re setting expectations of what we’re doing on a daily basis and finding that groove that the kids will respond to.”
  2. Getting to know each other. “This is a completely different team than last year, with new players, coaches in new positions and a different style. It will force us to focus on the process, not the outcome.”
  3. Defining personnel. “We’re going to move dudes around. Where they think they’re playing now may not be indicative of where they’re playing in August.”
  4. Setting realistic goals. “Our goals should be to get better every day and improve. They will come in the form of what we do on a daily basis.”

Players have also seen an increased focus on conditioning, the need to understand a more complex college-style playbook (including five-receiver sets) and the expectation of knowing what all positions on the field are doing during any given play.

“There definitely is more focus on the playbook, which is because we have a new coach and he really knows his stuff and wants us to be just as knowledgeable,” senior Sam Riegert says.

All those high expectations deliberately deliver against what Coach Triplett wants people to notice when Holy Family takes the field for its first game on August 30.

“When you watch a ‘Trip Team,’ you’re going to face speed, physicality and lots of running, in no particular order,” Triplett says. “And, I’d have to say it starts with D. We have to be a team that will play fast, physical and together. Offensively, we’ll find a way to move the ball. We have the athletes here to do that.”

Setting the Tone for the Future

While Triplett is careful not to promise lofty goals for his first season (“If you set a goal, be careful how you word it,” he says), the players themselves have high expectations.

“We were 10-0 our freshman year and are a class that is close and loves football,” Phillips says. “Coach gives us achievable expectations and wants to help us achieve our goals.”

“Everyone has a mindset that they want to make it to state,” Riegert adds. “We have a talented senior class and plan to improve step by step, game by game.”

Coach Triplett, on the other hand, has a more simple approach to what he wants the players to experience this season.

“We work too hard not to have a lot of fun.”

“I’m looking for enthusiasm. We work too hard not to have a lot of fun. I tell my players, ‘Don’t forget to have fun. There will be longer days and frustrating plays, but always find the pieces where you have fun.’ ”

That approach is likely where Triplett will make the greatest impression his first season at Holy Family. His passion and energy will be noticeable at practice, on the sidelines and in the huddle. He’s looking to the seniors to grasp that energy and share it with players coming up. If they do, it will pay off for years to come.

“The numbers are certainly important,” Triplett says. “We’re going to need to grow numbers in certain positions. Hopefully, we start to grow our own numbers by examples we set, games we win and how we carry ourselves on and off the field.”

Olson was a part of that same vision 8 years ago at USD. He credits Coach Triplett for setting him up for football success that has lasted to this day.

“He shows you what being passionate about life and everything about it is about,” Olson shares. “He’s always the guy who is happy and excited about every day. It can rub off on you.”

Coach Triplett’s 12 Nuggets of Wisdom

60-Plus Holy Family Extracurricular Activities

We’ve all been there. We invest in all kinds of activities for our kids to pursue. It’s part of the growing process: developing the whole person, not just academically, but physically, socially and emotionally.

Then, as high school nears, that little voice sounds the alarm in the back of a parent’s head. Is my daughter or son good enough to make the team? Can they continue with music? Get a part in the play? Compete with other students? Is high school the end of the line?

“It’s interesting comparing Holy Family to other large schools in the area,” says Activities Director Nick Tibesar. “We have kids staying with programs longer than what I saw in public schools. So often, in other schools, kids come in playing ball with friends during their summers and evenings, sometimes for years, and all of a sudden they end up as a high school freshman and sophomore not on a team anymore.”

Not at Holy Family Catholic High School. Here, students get an opportunity to participate in the sports and many other activities they are most passionate about. Plus, they often discover a wide variety of other sports, academic teams, clubs and activities they never considered.

“We encourage kids to try new things and stretch limits,” Nick says. “We want them to be involved in multiple things to fight some of the outside pressure to specialize in just one of them.”

Smaller School Size, Big Opportunities

With a student body of 400 kids, Holy Family provides unlimited opportunities to explore new things. Students often participate in more than one activity, not just during the school year, but also during a single season.

“When looking at sports, there are students who were on the trap and lacrosse teams, or tennis, track and baseball,” Nick says. “But more common is a kid who participates in both a sport and one of our academic competitions.

“We had a player on our basketball team who also was on our varsity Math League team. As a coach, I recall a half dozen times he had to go to Math League. No one acted like that was strange or gave him a hard time. We said, ‘How did Math League go? And cool you’re doing so well.’

“It’s fun to be in a culture where someone is not ostracized for picking academics over athletics.”

Endless Opportunities

With over 60 extracurriculars to choose from, your Holy Family student is destined to pursue his or her talents, while trying new activities outside of the classroom.

“There are a lot of people who chose Holy Family for the right reasons—faith-based environment, college prep, joining a community where their student is known and cared for,” Nick adds. “All of those things extend to our classroom, lunchroom and after-school activities.

“We consider extracurricular activities the last class of the day. And, they provide the same values as everything else at Holy Family.”

QUICK FACTS:

92% of Holy Family students participate in extracurricular activities

90% of Holy Family students participate in multiple extracurricular activities in a school year

60+ Holy Family extracurricular activities are offered each school year

(more…)

New Girls Soccer Coach Hired

Holy Family hires Michael Murray from Dallas’ Bishop Dunne Catholic School to lead Fire Girls Soccer 

Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, MN, is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Murray as the school’s new head girls soccer coach.

Michael Murray begins his work with the Holy Family soccer program immediately with a team and parent meeting on August 2nd.

Coach Murray arrives at Holy Family with a wealth of experiences at Catholic schools across the country.  A product of Conwell Eagan High School, in suburban Philadelphia, Murray excelled in soccer and in the classroom – earning admission to the University of Notre Dame where he earned Academic All-American honors, with a double-major in Physics and Mathematics.  Murray went on to receive a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame’s prestigious Alliance for Catholic Education program.

Since 2014, Murray has been teaching at Bishop Dunne Catholic School in the Diocese of Dallas, Texas.  During his time in Dallas he served as a varsity assistant and junior varsity soccer coach, and a mentor to high school student athletes from all walks of life.

In addition to his soccer duties, Coach Murray will also be joining Holy Family Catholic High School as a math instructor.

Holy Family Activities Director Nick Tibesar is thrilled to snag such a strong and enthusiastic leader to lead the Fire Girls Soccer program.  “We were wowed by Coach Murray’s positivity, intellect, commitment to Catholic education, and passion for the game.  He is a caring and hardworking teacher and coach, with an immense capacity for leadership, and a heart for service. Our ability to have him in the building as a full-time educator and a resource for our players and program is invaluable. Holy Family is blessed to welcome Michael Murray into our community to lead the Fire Girls Soccer program into the future!”

Murray officially begins his work at Holy Family on August 2 with a meeting for players and parents at 7pm in the Holy Family Cafeteria, and with the start of practice on August 13 at 3pm.

Additional information about Michael Murray:

Education:

University of Notre Dame- South Bend, IN – BS in Physics, Mathematics

University of Notre Dame- South Bend, IN – M.Ed. Master of Education

Contact Information:

Nick Tibesar, HFCHS Activities Director – tibesarn@hfchs.org

Michael Murray, HFCHS Head Girls Soccer Coach – murraym@hfchs.org

The Victoria Connection

Holy Family’s Year-Round Victoria Connection

By Joseph Oakman, Holy Family Class of 2016

I look back on my Holy Family Catholic High School experience, and the first things that come to mind are those after-school runs to the local Holiday gas station for a snack before sports practices, or those ice cream stops in downtown Victoria after a baseball game on a warm summer night. My high school experience wouldn’t have been the same without the city of Victoria.

It seems Holy Family and Victoria are connected. While the city is quickly growing around Holy Family, the bond between school and community is also growing stronger as the school enters its 19th year.

Don’t take my word for it. Longtime Victoria resident Kelly Owens Hagel shared this thought:

“Holy Family is a warm welcoming community,” she says. “Even without having kids, I feel a sense of belonging. I feel like I am a part of the Holy Family community. I especially enjoy Friday nights in the fall when the (football field) lights are turned on and I drive by the field. It makes me think back to my days in high school.”

What residents of Victoria are learning is the connection to Holy Family Catholic High School extends year-round. Many students work for surrounding businesses and local restaurants that have become “unofficial” Holy Family gathering spots before or after home games and continue to be favorite stops in summer. And while it’s not documented anywhere, it has often been said Holy Family is one of the largest employers in Victoria.

To keep that community feeling going this summer, there are a number of events that connect Holy Family with Victoria. It’s not too late to enjoy more than one of these happenings that will keep you and your family coming Victoria during warm summer months.

JUNE

Holy Family Robotics Demonstration, Victoria Library 

Members of the Holy Family Robotics team visited Victoria and Waconia Libraries In June.

Members of the Fire robotics team demonstrated their skills at the Victoria Library on June 12, just a week after school let out for the summer. Besides demonstrating a competitive robot, team members worked with kids of all ages eager to build cars, trucks and their own creative engineering marvels. 

Adopt a Highway

Holy Family’s student council maintains County Road 18 between Bavaria Road and Co. Rd 11. Students met June 1 to clean the roadway, and will organize a follow-up cleaning in early November so the Victoria community shines. Students are encouraged to keep the roadway clean all year as there is a posted “Adopt a Highway” sign indicating Holy Family maintains this stretch of road.

Running on Enki 5K

June 23 marked the inaugural “Running on Enki 5K” event, co-sponsored by Holy Family and the hometown Enki Brewing Company. The event also had a purpose—to enrich the lives of students and engage the local community with Holy Family. Missions accomplished!

Over 200 runners took part in the first ever Running on Enki 5K including HF staff, alumni, and students.

A few highlights:

-The event drew more than 200 participants, including many students, alumni and faculty who had a chance to visit and connect during the summer break.

-100% of the proceeds support Holy Family’s student activities and the Victoria Lions Park Baseball Field.

-Holy Family student Tyler Franck came in second followed by Holy Family Spanish instructor Jorge Oconitrillo.

See a photo gallery of the event by Holy Family student Collin Nawrocki ’21

JULY

Ready Tee Fire

The annual Ready Tee Fire Golf Classic was held July 16, 2018 at Victoria’s beautiful Deer Run Golf Course. The golf tournament is sponsored by the Holy Family Booster Club with proceeds raised supporting HFCHS activities.  It is one of the biggest fund-raisers of the year, and all are invited to play:

129 golfers participated in this year’s tournament.

– Alumni receive special ticket pricing and, for the past several years, have been a part of at least one winning team.

– The event is an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with each other, as well as parents and supporters of Holy Family.

– Over 30 Holy Family students and parents volunteer at this event each year.

Legion Baseball

During the summer, many Fire baseball players continue to play for the Holy Family Legion baseball team, which plays at Lions Park. These games are a fun way to get outside and enjoy the sun and warmth with your family and friends, and meet community spectators who enjoy the tradition of summer baseball.

St. Victoria Parish Outdoor Mass
Once per summer, Holy Family hosts a morning outdoor Mass for the St. Victoria Parish.  Mass is set up on the front lawn and guests are invited to fellowship following Mass. This year the Mass is on Friday, August 3.

AUGUST

Volksfest

A fun celebration of music and local eats, Volksfest is celebrated every summer in downtown Victoria and is put on by the Victoria Business Association. This summer, Volksfest will be held August 17-18, ending on Saturday with a spectacular fireworks display. Holy Family students volunteer to help set up for the event, supporting one of the city’s biggest events of the year.

St. Victoria Sunset Fest

St. Victoria Parish will be the hub of Victoria activity on Saturday, August 25 for its 21st annual Sunset Fest. The event, held on the parking lot of St. Victoria on Hwy. 11, has a packed schedule of activities:

– Kickoff to Sunset Fest starts with Mass at 5 p.m.

– An all-you-can-eat buffet follows at 6 p.m.

– Entertainment includes the Chmielewski Polka Band.

– Games for all ages, including Bingo, Lucky 13 Raffle and 18 kids games.-

– This year’s event includes an NCAA-style elimination corn-hole tournament with two age divisions—19 and older or 18 and younger. The Holy Family Catholic High School Football team has volunteered to run the first ever tournament.

“Our parishioners have a lot of kids that go to Holy Family and it is a great partnership for us,” says John Abel, Director of Shared Ministries at St. Victoria. “Our pastor, Fr. Bob White, has supported HFCHS from the very beginning.  We’re very pleased to come together for this ‘fun-raising’ event as another great Minnesota summer begins to wind down.  Sunset Fest is a wonderful opportunity for the Victoria community to come together.”

Game Plan for Every Student’s Success

Students at Holy Family start Day 1 with an eye toward a successful future. From the moment each ninth grader steps through the front doors—below the words “Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever”—the journey begins.

Every part of the Holy Family High School experience is a building block to a personalized and successful future. For 99 percent of the students, this means attending college. Whether they realize it or not, planning for post-high school academics has already begun.

To ensure every student gets the support needed to navigate the crucial years ahead, Holy Family Counseling has developed a four-year game plan. Helping each student complete the plan is one of five experienced guidance professionals, teaming up with a student all four years.

“Holy Family’s counselors are personally invested in students’ futures,” says Melissa Livermore, Dean of Academic Support. “It’s a holistic approach to academic preparation and the college search and application procedures, personalized to each student’s specific needs, goals and dreams.”

With a counselor-to-student ratio of 1:98, which is well below the American School Counselor Association’s recommended 1:250, Holy Family Counseling is well equipped and eager to meet the needs of each student. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect from Day 1 to graduation.

Ninth Grade: The year of discovery

It goes without saying that the first year is a critical year for high school students. While most students and parents are focusing on transitioning from middle school to the demands of high school, counselors are already looking ahead. To do that, they make it a three-way conversation right from the start, hosting a parent meeting to map out the next four years and shed light on the process. These parent-focused sessions continue for all four years.

“It’s very important to get parents into the loop because it’s a partnership—students, parents and school,” says counselor Laura Horton. “Being able to share things about kids (with parents) helps us support the students and create open lines of communication, so we’re all on the same page.”What else can first-year Holy Family students expect?

They begin learning about personal interests and strengths in new ways:

  • Career inventory and interest assessments are taken with the help of the MN Career Information System (MCIS), a portal for college preparation and application activities.
  • One-on-one guidance sessions are held between students and counselors.
  • Students take the PSAT9 exam, a predictor for future PSAT scores. These scores also direct students into Advanced Placement (AP) course options and chances to qualify for National Merit
    Scholar status.

Tenth Grade: Road map for the future

Armed with information gathered in ninth grade, students now have a road map that points in many exciting directions beyond Holy Family. What are the first steps students take to help navigate it? They begin pulling information through their MCIS portals and match it up with potential college options that are a strong fit. Exciting time? You bet!

But wait, there’s more…

  • ACT® prep begins through MCIS and by way of integrated ACT elements in HF curriculum.
  • During Leadership Institute, a required tenth-grade course, students take the StrengthsQuest test to identify their top talents, to gain a better sense of who they are as
    individuals. Counselors help students dive into the results to understand what they mean for each individual, their college search and career choices.
  • The guidance team also helps students build their portfolios and begin crafting academic resumes. These resumes bring students to a higher level of self-awareness. It’s a critical
    time to ask: What have I been doing? What do I need to be doing? Where can I take a leadership role?

As Horton explains to students in tenth grade: “Hone in on your strengths. Be a leader.”

Eleventh Grade: Dreams become plans

This is a critical year for high school students. It is the time when dreams become attainable. Guidance counselors help students zero in on college choices and ensure their Holy Family course loads meet the academic requirements for the schools on their application lists.

“Typically, by junior year, students have an idea of where they’re headed, what career fields they’re looking at,” Livermore says. “It’s a time to make sure they are on track and can reach their goals.”

    • This is also the year of college admissions testing. Early fall finds 100 percent of Holy Family eleventh graders taking the ACT® or PSAT Some students have been preparing through the summer to reach a goal score, after establishing a baseline test in tenth grade or earlier.
    • In the spring, members of the English Department meet with students to guide them in the college essay writing process. By the end of the academic year, students have a solid version of their college essay ready for college applications.

Twelfth Grade: Preparing for new beginnings

In a year filled with lasts, counseling is focused on ensuring students are ready for their next beginning beyond Holy Family. Deadlines are important and checked off, and assistance is given in making sure college financial commitments do not become barriers to achieving dreams.

Holy Family hosts a workshop in August to show students how to utilize Parchment, a digital transcript delivery service, and fill out the Common Application. Students can receive one-on-one assistance in filling out the Common Application, used by more than 750 colleges and universities around the country.

• 100 percent of Holy Family seniors successfully complete the college application process by November 1.

• A Financial Aid Workshop is held to guide students and parents through the process and identify opportunities.

• Students are constantly updated on scholarship offerings, and staff reaches out to students who fit criteria for specific scholarships.

• Excitement builds as the future is in sharp focus. Soon, acceptance letters hit students’ mailboxes.

According to Livermore, a counselor’s work isn’t quite finished.

“There’s still a lot of checkpoints to meet,” she says, and staff takes steps to ensure students are meeting all the important post-acceptance deadlines, including a critical one: May 1, National College Decision Day.

Horton sums up the Holy Family four-year game plan with a very simple, succinct sentence: “It’s how we make each student’s future dreams reality.”

Click on the button below to read our blog article, ” Three Reasons Holy Family Students Succeed.”

Three Reasons Holy Family Students Succeed

Turner Hired as Girls Basketball Coach

Holy Family hires Chanhassen Assistant to lead the Fire Girls Basketball Program

Holy Family Catholic High School Activities Office is pleased to announce the hiring of Adrian Turner as the school’s new head girls basketball coach.

Coach Turner has been an integral member of the girls basketball coaching staff at Chanhassen High School since he joined in 2012, and he was named the Section 2AAAA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2014. His duties at Chanhassen also include working full time in academic support and coaching baseball.

Prior to coming to Chanhassen, Turner earned his bachelor’s degree from Grambling State University, where he was a highly decorated 4-year scholarship athlete on the university’s baseball team, being named captain twice and earning South Western Athletic Conference Tournament MVP on the way to leading his team to a conference championship in 2010.

Holy Family Activities Director Nick Tibesar is thrilled to bring in such a strong leader, experienced coach, and man of character to lead the Fire Girls Basketball program into the future. “We were wowed by Coach Turner’s commitment to leading through service, his leadership capacity, and his passion for helping young people achieve their goals and dreams. He is an effective communicator, a student of the game, and an experienced and well-connected coach in the area. Holy Family is excited to welcome Coach Turner into our community to lead the Fire Girls Basketball program into the future.”

Turner officially begins his work at Holy Family on June 18 with an open meeting for parents and players at 3pm in the Holy Family Performance Center, and with summer skills programs and Holy Family’s youth basketball camp starting on June 25th.

Additional information about Adrian Turner:

Education:

Grambling State University- Grambling, LA – BA in Kinesiology – Sports Management

Contact Information:

Nick Tibesar, HFCHS Activities Director – tibesarn@hfchs.org

Adrian Turner, HFCHS Head Girls Basketball Coach – HFaturner@gmail.com

Visit Our New Activities Site

Alumni Spotlight: Joe Salz ’12

A Numbers Guy with a Heart for People

While at Holy Family, Joe Salz ’12 was an honor student, a member of the State title winning baseball team, a musician, a campus minister, and a teammate on the Math League team.  And he was just getting started! Read on to find out what Joe says led him to his current career and how participating in multiple activities helps him succeed even today.

Current Employer: Deloitte Consulting
College: University of St. Thomas
Major: Bachelor of Science at University of St. Thomas, major in Actuarial Science, minor in Mathematical Statistics, Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA)
Middle School: St. Joseph C-Stem School in Waconia


HF: How did you become interested in actuarial science? 
JS: I was a junior in high school and had an interest in math, but I was unsure about being an engineer. While deciding between a math-oriented career path and a people-oriented path (like business), I heard about actuarial science and how it combined both math and business. One of my friends (Steven Guillemette ’11) mentioned that his dad, Scott, was an actuary, and after meeting with him, I was sold.

HF: What do you consider to be your greatest personal and professional accomplishments?
JS: My greatest personal accomplishment was being asked to lead our Catholic Men’s Leadership group my senior year of college. It is humbling to know that other members of our group looked up to me and trusted me as a leader. 

Professionally, my greatest accomplishment is passing my first actuarial exam. I remember being intimidated by how difficult the exams were (pass rate of 40-50%, depending on the exam), so passing really instilled confidence in me to continue pursuing an actuarial career.

HF: What do you enjoy most about your current position?
JS: Employers value actuarial expertise and encourage their employees to progress through the actuarial exam process; at many companies, you are able to continue your education while on the job (not to mention incentives for passing exams as well!). As a recent college graduate, being able to learn on the job while simultaneously progressing in my career is what I enjoy most about my current career position.

HF: Did your experiences at Holy Family help you to overcome obstacles you’ve faced in college or now as an actuary?
JS: Balancing exam studies and a full-time job is definitely the most challenging part of my current position. As a consultant, working hours can vary widely in any given week, so adhering to a strict study schedule can be very difficult and requires solid time management skills.

I believe Holy Family prepared me for my current career because I was able to participate in many activities such as baseball and Jazz Band while also taking Advanced Placement courses. There were numerous times when these activities overlapped, and it required time management to stay on top of it all.

HF: STEAM careers sometimes incorporate one or more elements of science, engineering, technology, art, and math. Clearly your career involves math, but do you see elements of others in it?
JS: In almost every situation I experience at my job, we are required to combine math, science, technology, and – believe it or not – art into our projects and solutions for clients. A topical example is helping a state government find new ways to lower healthcare costs in its Medicare and Medicaid population. Clients rely on our creativity and technical expertise to come up with practical and effective answers to their problems.

HF: In what ways, if any, did a Holy Family course and/or teacher impact on your career choice?
JS: Mr. Kannel is one of the smartest teachers I’ve ever had, including collegiate professors. His love for math and ability to explain things clearly helped establish a solid foundation crucial to my understanding of advanced topics such as multi-variable calculus and probability.

Mrs. Livermore was my AP Calc teacher and taught me how to really learn the material. She gave homework assignments each week that weren’t graded, but instead were for us students to practice the material learned on our own. This in turn helped me develop the discipline to put in adequate study time despite not getting a grade, and was the basis for developing study plans for future actuarial exams.

As a high school student interested mostly in math, I never felt that English was a strength of mine; however, after having Mr. Unverzagt for Honors American Literature and AP English, I realized how fun writing can be, and saw how much better my persuasive papers became right before my eyes. Mr. Unverzagt was able to take something that was somewhat unknown to me and many other students and explain it in a process that was logical and easy to understand. Further, he knew how to challenge his students while keeping the class engaging and fun.

HF: What advice would you give to younger alumni or current Holy Family students who aspire to follow a similar career path?
JS: The actuarial field is getting more and more competitive, and we see students continue to attack exams earlier and earlier when we attend job fairs. If you are a high school student interested in actuarial science, take advantage of the math classes that Holy Family offers to help put you in the best position for progressing through college.

HF: What do you enjoy doing with your free time?
JS: I spend my free time playing in a band with some friends from college (including Danny Gilles ’13 and Dan Klauer ‘10). In fact, not all actuaries are nerds – my boss and I hosted a “Battle of the Bands” between his band and my band this past summer. It was awesome!

I also teach confirmation at Our Lady of Grace in Edina once a week, where I lead a group of 7th graders. It is a great chance to practice my faith while being immersed in the real world.

HF: What would you say to a student considering Holy Family?
JS: Holy Family gives students the opportunity to both refine their current interests, and to explore new ones. If you enjoy playing sports but want to try out a music class, go for it! Holy Family’s class sizes give access to not only a wide breadth of activities, but also to a faculty that is there to help you. I owe a lot to my teachers and coaches at Holy Family, who helped shape me into who I am today.

 

New Fire Football Coach Hired

Holy Family hires UST assistant coach to lead football program

Holy Family Catholic High School is pleased to announce the hiring of Tim Triplett as the school’s new head football coach. Triplett comes to Holy Family with 12 years of college football coaching experience, at Division I, II, and III levels, most recently as an assistant coach for Glenn Caruso at the University of St. Thomas.

Caruso supports Triplett’s move to Holy Family, stating, “We are tremendously excited for Tim and his opportunity at Holy Family. Tim has been a big part of our success and culture here at St. Thomas. We look forward to watching him bring those core principles to Holy Family. We are big believers in teaching our young men the most important life lessons through the sport of football; Tim takes that responsibility very seriously, and I think that the future of Holy Family Catholic will benefit from his vision.”

Triplett leaves his current position as the recruiting coordinator and wide receiver coach at UST to lead the Fire Football program and make the transition to working with high school student-athletes. “The high school experience has a significant impact on the rest of their lives. It is my charge to create an environment where they can thrive and embrace the experience in a manner befitting a first-class football program and Catholic community.”

In addition to his four years at UST, Triplett’s coaching resume includes football programs at several D1, D2, and D3 Programs: University of South Dakota (2010-2014), South Dakota State University in Brookings (2009), Wayne State University (2007 and 2008), and Cornell College in Iowa (2006).

For Triplett, the son of former University of South Dakota Head Coach Dave Triplett, family and football have intertwined throughout his life. Dave Triplett served as the head football coach at USD from 1979-1988, leaving as the second-winningest coach in school history, and was a 2003 inductee into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame.  Tim, along with his two brothers, all went on to play college football.

Holy Family Activities Director Nick Tibesar is thrilled to snag such a highly credentialed coach to lead the program.  “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Tim into our Holy Family community.  His experience as a key contributor to a winning culture at a flagship Catholic university in our area makes him the ideal person to lead the Fire Football program into the future.  Tim’s football acumen is impressive, but he also comes to us with a clear understanding of what it means to lead young men during an important time in their lives. Additionally, his college recruitment experience will be invaluable to our student-athletes as they look to make connections to college programs.”

Triplett officially begins his work at Holy Family on June 1 with the summer conditioning programs and Holy Family’s youth football camp with NFL MVP Rich Gannon. He will also support all HF activities in the role of Assistant Activities Director.

Additional information about Tim Triplett:

Education:
Wayne State University- Wayne, NE – ME in Sports Management
The University of South Dakota- BS in Media and Journalism

Published Author:
Author: The Leadership Papers – Copyright 2017 – RoseDogs Books Publishing, Pittsburgh, PA
Content Consultant: Make Me the Best Football Player – Abdo Publishing, Minneapolis, MN

Additional information about Tim Triplett:

Education:
Wayne State University- Wayne, NE – ME in Sports Management
University of South Dakota- BS in Media and Journalism

Published Author:
Author: The Leadership Papers – Copyright 2017 – RoseDogs Books Publishing, Pittsburgh, PA
Content Consultant: Make Me the Best Football Player – Abdo Publishing, Minneapolis, MN

Contact Information:
Nick Tibesar, HFCHS Activities Director – tibesarn@hfchs.org
Tim Triplett, HFCHS Head Football Coach – triplettt@hfchs.org

 

Holy Family’s Quest for Knowledge Bowl Success

The Long Road to the State Knowledge Bowl

Like athletes who use the preseason to stretch their abilities, fine-tune skills and develop a strategy to focus on a big goal, this year’s Holy Family Catholic High School Knowledge Bowl teams were no different during the off-season.

Want to give it a try? Here are a few warm-up questions:

Question 1: All atoms of any given element have the same number of what subatomic particles?

Protons

Question 2: Name the best-known opera by the Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov, the title of which is based on a character from “The Arabian Nights.”
Scheherazade

That’s just a small sample of questions students on the Holy Family Knowledge Bowl team encounter as they planned and prepared for competition. (Ready to throw in the towel? Not so fast. Test your knowledge at the end!)

Before this year’s season, the Knowledge Bowl team, led by science teacher Jim Walker, was hard at work building its knowledge base and practicing “buzzer rounds” as a means to launch the team into April’s Minnesota State Knowledge Bowl Meet. Thirty-three students are on this year’s roster: 13 seniors, 12 juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. Participants are broken into four- to five-member teams.

Holy Family team, “Thought Patrol,” earned their way to a second placer finish in the regional competition earning a trip to the State Tournament.

“Every year, the goal of our team is to make it to state, and this year was no different,” says senior Mitchell Jans, whose team is only the second in school history to qualify for the Minnesota State Knowledge Bowl Meet. “The difference this year was not the goal. It was the determination that the goal was reasonably attainable.”

Jans and four other team members—seniors Thomas Farrell, Walter Treat and Leo Pinamonti and new addition sophomore Lucy Treat—are one of 48 teams that qualified for the state Knowledge Bowl Meet April 12-13 at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd. Advancing to the final round, the team finished 5th at the Minnesota State Knowledge Bowl Meet.

To put that accomplishment into perspective:

  • More than 800 teams compete statewide in Knowledge Bowl events.
  • Nearly 300 school districts from across Minnesota are represented.
  • Only 48 teams qualify for the Minnesota State Knowledge Bowl Meet!

7 Reasons for Holy Family Knowledge Bowl Success

What’s the secret to this year’s success? And what can teams that follow learn?

“We did a lot more preparation this year than ever before,” Farrell explains. “This team took time to make notecards, study previous years’ questions and zero in on topics we weren’t familiar with.”

Besides dedication and focus, here are some other tangible and intangible factors that play into their success:

  1. Summer Buzzers. “During the summer, our team practiced Knowledge Bowl questions, and this helped us get a jump-start on the season,” Jans says. “The best preparation we did was buzzer practices, which are practice rounds. Having those buzzer practices is vital to our team, and we owe a great deal of gratitude to the other Knowledge Bowl participants because without them, we would not have enough practice to gain the ‘buzzing’ skills.”
  2. The Daily 10. Walker knows that frequent quizzing has its rewards, so he puts all of his students to the test. “The kids answer a daily quiz (10 questions), starting on the first day of school,” Walker says. While Knowledge Bowl practices start the first week of November, early quizzing builds confidence and excitement.

    Teams compete against each other in weekly “buzzer rounds” to prepare for the upcoming meets.
  3. Team chemistry. “We’ve had good teams that could have gone to state, but the chemistry just wasn’t really there,” Farrell says. Walker explains it this way: “Many team participants develop individual strengths. Part of the fun is finding a group of kids who trust each other enough to buzz in on a question when they know a teammate has the knowledge to answer.”
  4. Experience. “All of us understand each other and have competed together for years,” Jans says. “I feel as if this season is the one to leave it all on the table and hold nothing back. In years past, there was always next year and well, this is our senior year—the year of lasts.”
  5. Postseason seasoned. If the pressure of postseason competition affects performance, Walker thinks this year’s group can shake that off. “Our highest finishing team last year missed qualifying for state by one tough round,” he says. “I think that motivated the team this year. This particular group of seniors has always been a strong group—they enjoy the meets and are pretty competitive, which helps too.”
  6. Students v. Teachers. Whether they admit it or not, a few brave Holy Family teachers did their part as well. “Our team practiced against (five) HF teachers,” Mitchell shares. “Overall, the practice went well—and we beat the teachers by a fair margin.” Score one for the team!
  7. Bragging Rights. This year’s team is only the second to qualify for the State Knowledge Bowl. “The last time was in 2010, and the team (with its previous coach, Tom Walker) finished fourth,” Walker says. “That gives us something to shoot for.”

No matter how the team does at the Minnesota Knowledge Bowl Meet, it is fair to say this year’s team has already earned its place among the best of the best.

Which leads to one last question:

Question: What coach says, “I am inspired by their tenacity and confidence. Part of doing well is knowing that you are not going to give up, and that winning is possible.”
Coach Jim Walker, Holy Family Knowledge Bowl Team


5 Questions to Test Your Knowledge

Question 1: What enterprise laid the foundation for the wealth of the Medici family?
Banking

Question 2: In 2016, archaeologists discovered a massive platform with columns and a gigantic staircase buried in the sands of Petra in what country?
Jordan

Question 3: George Washington’s surprise attack and victory at what New Jersey town in December 1776 increased morale and provided enough of a recruiting boost to keep his army from disbanding?
Trenton

Question 4: What does the “E” stand for in OPEC?
Exporting

Question 5: What part of the body are these structures located? Vomer, ethmoid bone, sphenoid bone, lachrymal bone, palatine bone and zygomatic bone
Skull

Questions are samples from a recent Knowledge Bowl competition.*

 

Alumni Spotlight: Catching Up with Rollie Lacy

Rollie Lacy: He’s in his first full season as a professional baseball player with the Chicago Cubs organization. We asked fellow Holy Family grad and sports writer Alex Smith 10 to catch up with Rollie and get the scoop on life in the Minor Leagues.

“Throwing on a high-school field—just for the love of the game, not really knowing that it would take me anywhere—to professional baseball is crazy.” —Rollie Lacy, 2013 Holy Family graduate

Alumni Profile: Rollie Lacy

Graduated: 2013

Elementary/Middle Schools: Shirley Hills Primary School, Mound (first and second grades); Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School, Mound (third to eighth grades)

University Attended: Creighton University, Omaha

Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance/Entrepreneurship

Holy Family Activities:

  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Lasallian Youth

————————–

ALEX: How is Arizona?

ROLLIE:

AZL Cubs relief pitcher Rollie Lacy (51) delivers a pitch to the plate against the AZL Mariners on August 4, 2017 at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona. AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Mariners 5-3. (Zachary Lucy/Four Seam Images)

It’s been great. It’s an exciting time. I’ve always heard about spring training, whether it be through TV or the movies. It’s fun to see all the Big Leaguers and the guys you’ve looked up to for a long time. It’s fun, because it shows you kind of belong a little bit. It’s a new level of competition that makes you want to work even harder.

ALEX: Have you been…not “starstruck,” but excited about running into certain players since you were drafted last year?

ROLLIE: There’s Major League guys all the time who are down on rehab assignments and things like that. Every once in a while, guys like Javy Báez and (three-time MLB All-Star Anthony) Rizzo and (National League MVP Kris) Bryant will come down to get swings in lower-league games. So, it’s pretty cool to see them. And then some of the pitchers are role models, like (four-time All-Star) Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks. It’s a pretty open locker room and weight room, and they’re really nice guys. It’s a really good environment down here.

ALEX: So, this is a little bit of a dream scenario?

ROLLIE: It’s one of those places you always pictured going to. It’s an opening to professional baseball. I had some time last year after the draft, but this is the real welcome to the organization. It’s a time that really allows you to feel like you fit in, and you’re finally a part of the team.

ALEX: People probably forget that you walked on at Creighton. Did you have any other options, as far as baseball was concerned?

ROLLIE: I actually talked with some schools out East, like Holy Cross and schools in Carolina. I talked with the University of Minnesota about playing there. But, you know, baseball wasn’t really a fixture in my mind in terms of the future. I kind of just liked playing in high school. I liked all sports, really, so it wasn’t something that came to be “my thing” until my time at Creighton. But I chose Creighton because of the academics, and it was just far enough away that I wouldn’t be coming home all the time. It was a good chance to grow up, and baseball kind of took over my life. (Click HERE to see a recap of Lacy’s career at Creighton University)

ALEX: Did Creighton reach out to you? Or vice versa?

ROLLIE: Yeah. Their coach had seen me in some camps and had seen my stats from high school. I was a really late addition; there wasn’t a scholarship available. So they just said that I had to wait it out until the next year.

I wouldn’t say I was heavily recruited. I wasn’t very proactive in the recruiting process as a high school junior and senior. I had a belief that if you were good enough, teams would find you. Now, after (getting more familiar with) the recruiting process over the last 6 years, I know that unless you’re a high (MLB) draft pick out of high school, you’ve got to be proactive about the schools you want to play at. That was my mistake. But it ended up being a great time.

ALEX: Yeah, I’d say it worked out pretty well. That was only half a decade ago, and now you’re hanging out with Yu Darvish. Has this journey been a whirlwind since Holy Family?

ROLLIE: Actually, funny story. Facebook does that “share your memories” thing. And 6 years ago, Connor Riddle and I were driving to a high-school (baseball) practice. It just kind of rung a bell in my head that it’s been that long since Holy Family, which is really crazy. But throwing on a high-school field—just for the love of the game, not really knowing that it would take me anywhere—to professional baseball is crazy. College baseball was crazy in itself. It’s a little bit surreal. I’m just going with the flow here.

2017 Preseason All-BIG EAST
2016 All-BIG EAST First Team
2015 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American
2015 All-BIG EAST First Team
Photo provided by Claudia and Tim Lacy

ALEX: What sticks out about your time at Holy Family?

ROLLIE: My favorite thing about Holy Family has to be the culture and the closeness of the community. Public schools have that, too, but the group of friends I have (from Holy Family) I still talk to almost all of them at least once a week, if not every day. They’re always asking me how I’m doing, and I’m excited to see how they’re doing. If anything, that’s probably the most important thing I’ve taken from school, is just friends. Lifelong friends.

ALEX: Is there anyone from that community who really made an impact on you?

ROLLIE: Yeah, a lot of great teachers. Coach (Bryan) DeLorenzo obviously was a huge part of my time there, just as a coach. He had to make the decision to put me on the field, and if I wasn’t on the field, all of these things don’t happen. Coach (Pat) Hallahan was there my freshman year. He instilled some confidence in me early; told me that I had a good arm and I had to work at it and I couldn’t just go out there every day and throw. I had to do some stuff off the field as well.

Mr. (John) Dols was always very helpful for me. I wouldn’t say I was the most well-behaved student in high school. I definitely had some growing up to do. But he showed me some good things along the way. I don’t think I had a bad experience with any staff there. Credit to them.

ALEX: Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Holy Family?

2012 MSHSL State Class A Champions

ROLLIE: The state championship my junior year in baseball. That was a surreal experience. Being at Target Field, a professional stadium. With all the guys. Of course, we had a really good team that year. Going up through state. That was a really fun time.

ALEX: When the MLB draft was approaching last summer, did you have a good idea of where you were going to be picked? What were you hearing?

ROLLIE: I was almost 100 percent sure that I was going (to be drafted). But there’s always that fear in the back of your head that you weren’t going to be picked. I was actually talking to four or five teams to get a deal done in the fourth through eighth rounds, pretty early on. But the draft was pretty hectic, and they ended up saying I could sign for more money late—in the 11th round—instead of being a money-saving pick early on. It ended up working out really well. I’m glad I’m with the Cubs—a great organization. When I was drafted, I was on the golf course with my family. It’s a great memory to have.

ALEX: And who was there with you, exactly?

ROLLIE: My dad, brother and one of my good friends from college. But 5 seconds after it happened— and I didn’t even know about it (the pick) before a lot of people did—my phone just shut down. I couldn’t open it. There were a lot of people to talk to, and it was really fun to have all of those people pulling for me and happy for me.

ALEX: Enough people to shut your phone down, huh?

ROLLIE: I got all these calls and notifications. The one call that came through at the time that I could answer was the head executive of Chicago asking me if I wanted to be a Cub, and welcome to the organization. That was pretty funny. But I was fielding calls and texts for a long time after that. It was tough to finish the round (of golf). I actually had to shut my phone off for the back nine.

ALEX: You mentioned a lot of people reached out to you after the draft. Were there any “surprising” people from Holy Family that congratulated you?

ROLLIE: Absolutely. It’s more of a rag on myself for not staying in contact with a lot of these people. There’s people that were part of my life and helped me in ways that were hard to see at times. I’ve gotten thank-yous from people who had no business needing to say thank you. They just went out of their way to be kind and supportive. That’s a tribute to how good the people are at Holy Family. There’s always people reaching out and congratulating me, even this late after the draft, and giving support. It’s definitely a humbling experience having those people contact you.

ALEX: Even when you were pitching well in high school, did it ever cross your mind that you might be a draft pick one day?

ROLLIE: Personally, no. I didn’t think it was something that was that great of a chance. But Kasey Ralston (’12) my junior year, he was a pretty big prospect, going to Indiana. We hoped he was going to be drafted. And my dad told me, just keep working out and maybe one day you’ll be seeing that, too. I remember laughing and going, “Yeah, I don’t think so.” And then it ended up happening. I guess your parents always think the best about you, but I was never thinking about being a professional baseball player until the later years of college. Not until then.

ALEX: I’ve been reading that, besides the signing bonus, Minor League players make next to nothing on a weekly basis. What’s the “job” like? How do you deal with those infamous bus trips?

Lacy’s 2017 Official Baseball Card

ROLLIE: The pay is definitely tough. But they make it up in your bonus. They try to make it what you would’ve gotten in your years of work out of college. And we don’t really have any living expenses or food expenses, per se. So that’s nice.

Being away from friends and family is definitely tough. My girlfriend works in North Carolina, and we talk all the time. Fortunately, in today’s day and age, it’s pretty easy to talk and communicate with people. But it is tough to get my friends together and go on trips and stuff. I’m pretty booked from about March 1 until the end of September. There is some sacrifice, but it’s worth it in the end if you make it to the top.

ALEX: Do you have any time to be a tourist? Or is it go, go, go?

ROLLIE: It’s go, go, go. I think the assumption is that the team is always together, 24/7. It’s more like a desk job, but you’re playing baseball. We have our schedule, and we have our free time. All the towns have their own things to offer, and we definitely have our share of free time, depending on if you want to use that to rest, which is probably what about 90, 95 percent of the guys do.

But I’m a big adventure guy. So I’m excited for the flights and bus trips and seeing different parts of the country. Sure, it can be a grind sometimes. I don’t really sit on buses too well. Nor do the other guys. But it’s something where you roll with the punches on that. And it’s something you’ll look back on in 15 years and wish you could still be doing. So I’m trying to have as much fun as I can.

On April 2, Rollie was assigned to the Cubs’ Class A team in South Bend, Indiana. You can read more about his journey in the latest edition of Passages.

UPDATE: As reported by CBSSports.com,

Rangers’ Rollie Lacy: Traded to Texas

Lacy was dealt to the Rangers on Thursday alongside Eddie Butler and a player to be named later in exchange for Cole Hamels.

He will report to High-A Down East upon his arrival after compiling a 2.02 ERA over 16 appearances (10 starts) with Low-A South Bend earlier this year. He was recently moved up to the Cubs’ High-A club and will continue his progression at that level with the Rangers.

Visit Holy Family Fire Baseball’s website to learn more about our teams.


Meet the Writer. Alex Smith is currently working as a full-time journalist for Cox Media Group in Nashville, Tennessee. His first book, SEC Football’s Greatest Games, will be available from Rowman & Littlefield in September. Alex is married to fellow Holy Family alum Bridget Smith, née Stone (’10).