This week on the #FridayFeature for Outside the Box: The Episcopal School of Jacksonville (ESJ) Eagles.

ESJ comes into their 13th season with Varsity Head Coach/Program Director, Mel Hicks (7 seasons), Varsity Assistant Krista Grabher (3 seasons), JV Head Coach Jordan Smith (5 seasons), and JV Assistant Anne Lamb Frye (1 season). As a private school in Jacksonville, the Eagles find themselves with the opportunity to allow 6th-12th grade girls to play at the Varsity and JV levels. This private school exception has allowed Coach Hicks to develop girls at the middle school level against high school competition, which has brought great success to the Eagles. The Eagles have procured 5 district titles, and 4 All-Academic Award winners, including a District win over Bolles last season bringing them into the Regional Playoffs.

ESJ is led this year by Senior Attacker and Captain, Stela Chepenik, who has acquired several awards in her career including: Captain (2018,2019), Team MVP (2018), and Team Most Valuable Attacker (2017). She also recently committed to play lacrosse next spring at Embry Riddle. Joining Chepenik on the Eagles squad are underclassmen standouts looking for another district title: Knox Greene (sophomore) midfielder, Winnie Pajcic (sophomore) defender, Izzy Ritch (sophomore) midfielder, and Sofia Chepenik (freshmen) midfielder. With this young, vibrant team, Coach Hicks is instilling the message of rising up through adversity, and competing at the highest potential.

Play to your strengths, work on your weaknesses. Have fun and always give your best, even on your worst days
— Head Coach Mel Hicks

Good luck in your district playoffs, Eagles!

Follow the Eagles on social media: @ESJGIRLSLAX