Middle School Athletic News: Cross Country Girls Win as a Team

Middle School Cross Country, 9/14/2023: In this small school league, the races are run co-ed, however in the results they separate the boys and girls teams. Student athletes participated in their first meet on September 12, and Mount Madonna’s girls won as a team, shared Coach Nicole Silva Culbertson. Pierce Culbertson came in 1st place; Rory Kayne, 2nd; and Minami Wu, 4th.  In addition, Nyah Melton was 11th;  Nina Garcia, 12th; Sophia Krawetz, 13th; and Sera Krawetz, 14th.  Results for the boys team are: Aiden Powers, 7th, Felix Alvarado, 8th, River Russell, 9th; Ryan Henderson, 12th; and Jules Moutafian, 15th. Congratulations, Hawks! It’s going to be a great year.


Middle School Ultimate Frisbee, 6/6/2023: It’s a wrap for Mount Madonna School’s inaugural Ultimate Frisbee team! While none of the eight middle school students who joined the team had played before, they all showed up eager to learn. The team picked up the skills of the game quickly and had a great season!

“Ultimate Frisbee is a unique sport,” said Coach John Welch. “There are officially no referees. Players work out any conflicts according to the ‘spirit of the game’. It’s a welcoming sport for people who aren’t used to playing competitive sports, but also lets people use their skills from sports like soccer or football.”


Middle School Lacrosse, 2/2/2023: This school year, Mount Madonna School (MMS) expanded its athletic program with its first-ever middle school lacrosse team! Middle School Athletic Director Nick Cabassa said offering lacrosse was an experiment to see if there was enough interest – and there was plenty!

“All the schools in our middle school league were just trying the sport this year with a few games in hopes of continuing with longer season next year,” said Cabassa.”It went very well, and I look forward to growing our program and continuing to offer it here at Mount Madonna in the future.“

Third grade teacher Madeline Hayes coached MMS’ inaugural lacrosse team.

“The middle school girls did amazing throughout the season in practice and at our two games against local private schools,” commented Hayes. “Mount Madonna won both! This is a major success, especially for our first season. We learned a lot about lacrosse skills, drills, and game rules this season.

The lacrosse season began in November and concludes in early February.

“As my first coaching experience, I was interested in lacrosse because I played when I was in middle school too,” added Hayes. “Though some rules have changed since then, we learned how to play the game together. I cannot emphasize how proud I am of each player for trying something completely new and giving it their all!”

MMS parent Nicole Silva Culbertson, who is also an MMS science teacher and coach, was also quite upbeat about this new athletic offering.

“It was so much fun to watch the kids play in the lacrosse season,” said Silva Culbertson. “This was a new sport to all the girls and that didn’t intimidate them at all, as they won all their games! Pretty awesome to start a sport as undefeated! The girls all played hard together and showed great sportsmanship and team camaraderie!”



Middle School Cross Country: Patch.com, 12/1/22, “‘A Good Sport’: Watsonville Star Student Athlete,” by Bea Karnes. Mount Madonna School eighth grade student Kenzie Culbertson is recognized for her positive character and athletic accomplishment. Well done, Kenzie!




Middle School Cross Country, 10/20/2022: Well done, Hawks! MMS runners competed in the Santa Cruz County Small Schools League finals, with Pierce Culbertson taking 1st overall for second-sixth grade girls, with a time of 11.56 for the 1.75 mile course. Felix Alvarado finished 14th for second-sixth grade boys. In the seventh-eighth grade race, Romy Sirk-Traugh finished 2nd overall, and Rory Kayne, Minami Wu and Kiko Horne finished 10th, 11th, and 12th respectively. In the seventh-eighth boys race, David Monclus finished 9th and Aiden Powers, 16th. See complete results here. The meet was held at Anna Jean Cummings County Park in Soquel.


Girls Basketball, 10/19/2022: “The girls had a great game,” said Coach Nick Cabassa. “Each one has shown growth and perseverance throughout this entire season. I am really proud of their development and how they work so well together on and off the court.” The Hawks met the Griffins for an game at Kirby School, and as one MMS parent observed, it’s all about “try, learn, grow!” Athletics and team sports are great for positive character development. GO HAWKS!



Cross Country, 9/28/2022: Mount Madonna School’s first on-campus middle school cross country meet was a success all around! Thank you to all who volunteered to help the event run smoothly and the runners stay on course. A special BIG thank you to Aumao and Jose for marking the course!



Flag Football, 9/23/2022: The Hawks played at Green Valley Christian School, in what looks like a lot of un and a wonderful, team-building experience for these student athletes.

While the Hawks didn’t win the game, team members were reminded that the greatest lessons often come from failures and not successes. “The kids were fantastic given the minimal amount of practice and experience!” shared a parent. “They were all very attentive and were giving their all – it’s an E for effort and A+ for  attitude!” Go Hawks!


Girls Basketball, 9/19/2022: The Hawks met Wavecrest of Santa Cruz Montessori for a season-opener game, and won, 38 to 32! Mount Madonna School (MMS) hosted the game, as a last-minute change of venue was needed. MMS parents and students volunteered and helped to run the scoreboard and set up chairs to make this game happen.

“I am extremely proud of the team as they played great and showed good sportsmanship throughout,” said Coach Nick Cabassa. “I am so happy to get our season off to a winning start, and this game built a lot of confidence for our team. As far as I am aware, I don’t think any of our previous basketball teams in any league has ever won a game, so I am happy to be a part of this historic first one.”






Cross Country, 9/15/2022: “Our middle school cross country team did a fantastic job at its first meet at Monte Vista,” said Coach Nicole Silva Culbertson. “The Hawks girls won first place, collectively as a team, with a low score of 25; and the boys also ran well.”

Following are some of the top individual Hawks finishes: Kenzie Culbertson, 2nd; Romy Sirk-Traugh, 3rd; Pierce Culbertson, 4th; David Monclus, 6th; Kiko Horne, 7th; Rory Kayne, 12th; Aiden Powers, 12th; and Felix Alvarado, 20th. Additional athletes competed, see the complete results here.

Cross Country, 9/14/2022: Mount Madonna School has 15 fifth-eighth grade students on the team this year. “Students are dedicated,” commented coach Nicole Silva Culbertson. “They are showing up before school at 8:00am to run and train on the hills and beautiful trails throughout the Mount Madonna property. The athletes work hard and are all positive supporters of each other while running.

The team will compete in six meets with other small schools in Santa Cruz County, as well as the larger, local public schools. For their races, the athletes run between one and a half to two miles and different locations throughout the county.


Santa Cruz Sentinel, Name Dropping, 9/12/2022:  “Cabassa Named AD.”

Nicholas Cabassa, a teacher at Mount Madonna School, was recently appointed as the school’s new middle school athletic director. Cabassa has taught fourth grade at the school for eight years, and has also served as coach for middle and high school athletics.

Mount Madonna School serves students preschool through 12th grade and features an active middle school program for students sixth through eighth grades.

“We are thrilled that Nick Cabassa is serving as the middle school athletic director,” said Mount Madonna Head of School Ann Goewert in a prepared release. “As a teacher and athletic director, Nick understands the importance of offering a variety of sports and is eager to expand the middle school sports offerings.”


Girls Volleyball, 4/1/2022: Kudos to fifth through eighth grade girls volleyball team, 16 athletes strong who ended a brief season on March 31 with a home game. While the Hawks lost to Wavecrest Junior High School in a very close tiebreaker, one parent remarked it was “the best game of the season!” Earlier this week, the Hawks persevered for a win in a match with Gateway School. The team may play one final match following spring break.

The team was coached by Sam Lee, and juniors Bella Cambell and Mariah Cohen and sophomore Sophia Manzur stepped up to help with coaching and reffing while Coach Lee was away this week.

“In watching this team play, it appears they have created a good team environment and enjoy playing with each other,” observed Middle School Athletic Director Michael Sarmiento. “Most of the girls are relatively new to volleyball and I enjoyed seeing our more experienced players being so supportive of those new to the sport.

“Getting to see student-athletes compete again is well worth the challenges involved in bringing sports back into our community,” continued Sarmiento, following the match. “I’d like to thank our middle school families for their cooperation and support. In spite of our short season, the desire shown by our student-athletes to learn and grow provides optimism for the future of MMS Athletics. Go Hawks!”

Middle school soccer, 2/18/2022: Congratulations on winning their first game, to the sturdy – 22 athletes strong – middle school coed fifth to 8th grade soccer team! On February 10, the team competed against Tierra Pacific, and won 5-2. Eighth grader Mateo Borrego scored four goals, while classmate Nikowa D’Costa Hemp scored one.

“The team had a fantastic first game,” said Coach Nicole Silva Culberston. “They were fast, worked well as a team, were positive and genuinely had a great time. As we ended up outscoring the opposing team significantly by the end of the first half, many of our older more advanced players were kind enough to support our newer and younger players on the team which is always great to see. We are excited to see how we will continue to play throughout the rest of the season, which goes until the end of March.”

Luis Hernandez is coaching the team along with Silva Culberston. Following are images from a recent practice session. For a schedule of all upcoming games, check the school website calendar.