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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maryknoll strengthens its program


By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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With Maryknoll School's spirited athletic program growing both physically and in ambition, it only made sense to add another leader to help guide that growth.

Longtime P.E. department chair John Madriaga was introduced as Maryknoll's first co-athletic director last Friday, joining Pattie Heatherly, who had been the Spartans' lone AD since 1994.

Madriaga, 39, will oversee the Maryknoll girls and boys basketball programs and also direct the strength and conditioning including offseason training for all Spartan athletic teams.

"I'm excited," Madriaga said. "We want to build a solid program all-around."

In the past, Maryknoll had often been perceived as the classic underdog, given its small enrollment and lack of facilities. But with the opening of a state-of-the-art gymnasium/recreation center last fall, the school is looking at literally strengthening its teams across the board.

"With this new building, we have new opportunities," said Maryknoll president Perry Martin. "We always strive for excellence in academics and athletics, and this is an opportunity to get really good at both."

Until this week, Heatherly was the lone administrator overseeing 600 athletes on 122 different teams in grades 5 through 12. She said Maryknoll is the only school that participates full time in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, Catholic School Athletic League (grades 7 and 8) and Catholic School League (grades 5 and 6).

"Pattie is a wonderful person and a great athletic director, but one person is not enough," Martin said. "It was a huge responsibility, and she was only able to do so much it's almost impossible to do everything by yourself. Scheduling alone probably took up 50 to 60 percent of her time ...

"With John joining her, they'll be able to do more to get down to the coaches' and athletes' level."

Madriaga's area of specialization is strength and conditioning. He has a master's degree in administration and curriculum from Gonzaga University, with a focus on physical fitness and self-perception. Madriaga also is a certified National Strength and Conditioning Instructor.

"Having athletes who are bigger, stronger and faster will make a difference," Martin said, adding that a strong athletic program can make the school more attractive overall.

Until last fall, all of Maryknoll's court sports teams either practiced on outdoor courts or had to rent gym time from other locations. Every game was either at the opponents' gym or a neutral site.

"Everybody talks about home-court advantage, and we never had that before," Martin said. "Now we do, and it's added to the aspect of school spirit at our games ... We want to be able to draw the best students possible, we want them to come because of what we have to offer. This facility, along with a strong athletic program, might help sway more students to choose Maryknoll."

Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com