St. Patrick School, Washington — a winner in more ways than one

The grade seven girls track and field team from St. Patrick School, Washington, pose with their coaches and their first place trophy. From left to right: coach and co-athletic director Kathy Werstein, coach Nick Chiras, Sadie Gorsage, Kate McDougall, Ella Reed, Maya Anthony, coach Kristy Gorsage and coach Zach Gorsage.

WASHINGTON — St. Patrick Grade School, Washington is “a force to be reckoned with,” commented principal Cassi Smith, after an incredible year of sports victories and accomplishments. With an enrollment of only 187 students from Pre-K through grade eight, the school set several records during the 2023 — 2024 school year.

Co-athletic director (along with Kathy Werstein), assistant girls basketball coach, and grade eight teacher Jeff Draeger believes the key elements are dedicated coaches along with motivated student athletes who are all made to feel a part of the team.

We do not have try-outs and we don’t cut anyone.”— co-athletic director Jeff Draeger


“While our accomplishments are amazing, I think the best part is every student is part of the team. We do not have try-outs and we don’t cut anyone. Every student gets the opportunity to learn what it means to be a member of the team,” stated Draeger.

Most students start playing on the teams in fifth grade, and while they may not see a lot of game time at that stage, they learn in practice. “They learn from watching the seventh and eighth graders who model the proper behaviors and work ethic.”

When asked how athletics and academics fit together at St. Patrick, Draeger said, “Our programs are based on the strong belief that athletics and extra-curricular activities play an important part in the development of our students’ physical, mental, emotional, and moral growth.”

Fellow students, fans, parents, and coaches of the grade eight girls basketball team at St. Patrick School share their joy with the team, winners of the first place state trophy in their division.

He added, “We believe that our programs offer training for living in a society that is based on cooperativeness and competitiveness. The basic principles of good sportsmanship and high ethical standards prevail at all times.”


We are proud to put Christ and virtue in the front and center of everything we do.” — co-athletic director Jeff Draeger

The school has partnered with Virtue=Strength™ (formerly SportsLeader), which is a virtue-based program for Catholic schools. “Each week, our coaches are emailed a ‘Virtue of the Week.’ This virtue is then discussed and celebrated at practices throughout the week with our student athletes. It is also displayed throughout the school, gym, and campus,” Draeger said.

He emphasized, “We are proud to put Christ and virtue in the front and center of everything we do.”

The accomplishments of the St. Patrick Irish sports teams this year included:

  • Girls cross country qualified for state for the first time in the school’s history;
  • Grade eight student Jayce Hughes qualified for the boys’ state meet;
  • Girls’ softball team won a regional championship for the second straight year;
  • Boys baseball team won a regional championship, the first since 2020;
  • Both grade seven and grade eight girls basketball teams won state – and both were undefeated;
  • Grade eight girls volleyball team finished fourth in the state, the highest ever, and brought home its first state trophy;
  • Grade seven girls track team won state by one point;
  • Sadie Gorsage won the high jump state individual title;
  • Several athletes broke school records in hurdles, shot put (both boys and girls), and high jump.
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