More Sports, Less Stress

Students seek out a lower-stakes athletic environment by playing in the CYO sports league.


CYO Untouchaballazz Instagram

Sion juniors compete in the CYO 2022 Winter Basketball League on their team, the Untouchaballazz.

Sophie Gromowsky, Print Co-Editor-in-Chief

For many teenagers, sports make up a large part of the high school experience. Some choose to join their high school teams, while others play on club or travel teams. Between practices, games and tournaments, both options commonly require a significant time commitment for students and their parents, and play is typically highly competitive, with many athletes attempting to earn college scholarships and the opportunity to play at the collegiate level. But for high schoolers looking to participate in sports without the high stakes competition or intense time commitment, there is another option: CYO.

Catholic Youth Organization, or CYO, is a faith-based sports league for grade school and high school students. Its goal is to “provide the best possible environment in which your children can grow spiritually, mentally and physically through an authentically Catholic approach to youth sports.” according to the CYO website

Sports offered through the league include basketball, cross country, football, track and field, tennis and volleyball. In order for students to be eligible to join a team, they must attend high school at Bishop Ward, Bishop Miege, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. James Academy, St. Michael’s, St. Teresa’s Academy, Notre Dame de Sion, Pius X or Rockhurst.

Currently participating in the CYO 2022 Winter Basketball 11th Grade Girls League are juniors Maggie Axtell, Ava Townsend, Cat Knopke, Livvy Cavaliere, Grace St. Peter, Caroline Vogt, Mae Trotter, Ellie Hutchin, Maya Neenan and Natalie Stapp

“We’re called the Untouchaballazz with two Z’s on the end,” Knopke said. “Our unofficial coaches are two Rockhurst boys that we’re friends with who also play on a CYO team.”

The Untouchaballazz kicked off their first week of games Saturday, Dec. 3 with a loss against the St. Thomas Aquinas Scrubstitutes. The final score was 61-21.

“We already knew going into it that we were going to lose because all the girls we were playing against actually play basketball,” Hutchin said. “But it was just fun to see everyone bring out their competitive side.”

The team also participates in weekly practices, sometimes competing against other teams.

The Untouchaballazz hold weekly practices and compete against teams from other Catholic high schools. (CYO Untouchaballazz Instagram)

“My favorite thing so far was the practice where we scrimmaged the Rockhurst team,” Cavaliere said. “We went to Drive5 and got a little court to ourselves and we all scrimmaged each other.”

Knopke, Hutchin and Cavaliere all participate in sports through Sion, as well. They described the experience of playing CYO as completely different than competing for an official high school team due to it being less pressure and having the opportunity to play with many of their friends.

“Dance is very high pressure. You have to know what’s going on, and you have to help lead,” Cavaliere said. “But when it comes to CYO, we kind of just have fun and it doesn’t really matter if you know what you’re doing because we all just have fun more than we care about winning.”