Providence students support girls volleyball at a home game (Providence School photo)

More than half of high schoolers in the country play sports, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are an integral part of growing up.

“Students who participate in sports learn the value of hard work, organization, discipline, integrity, and teamwork, among other things,” said Evan Covell, athletic director at Providence School in Santa Barbara.

In fact, student-athletes at Providence tend to do well in school because they exercise for a couple of hours every afternoon.

“It is good for our bodies to move, especially after sitting in class all day,” Covell said.

Providence has served the community for more than 60 years as an independent Christian school. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1 and an average class size of 13, teachers connect with students and create an atmosphere that fosters character and faith, including in athletics.

“Athletes who attend Providence are given specific attention and put on training plans to develop over their four years,” Covell said. “Since our teams tend to be smaller in the number of participants, no student-athlete gets lost in the mix.”

Coach Elwood discusses strategy with a senior girls tennis player

Coach Elwood discusses strategy with a senior girls tennis player (Providence School photo)

For example, on the track team that Covell coaches, he and the assistant coach assess each athlete and then write a training program to help that student succeed.

“When needed, I will change a workout accordingly and assign paces to fit the needs and benefit each individual,” Covell said. “We see this type of individualized coaching in all of our sports at Providence.”

Those sports included cross country, track and field, basketball, beach volleyball, volleyball, tennis, golf, and flag football.

“As we grow in enrollment, we are looking to add new sports to our program,” Covell said. “This fall, we added a boys beach volleyball team. We have 10 boys participating in this inaugural year. Providence athletics are rapidly growing and having success. I am focused on building a program with a tradition of consistent success.”

As it is, the small team sizes mean teammates bond well with each other.

“Our teams become like families, with big brothers and sisters walking alongside the younger student-athletes through the ups and downs of high school,” Covell said. “Our teams are bonded. They are proud of their history.”

That pride among teammates is due in no small part to the dedicated coaches.

“Our coaches are especially gifted,” Covell said. “They simultaneously teach the fundamentals of their sport while training and teaching the higher-skilled players to grow in their skills. Our coaches are not only teaching the physicality of their sport but also the mental side of things, all while caring for the social and emotional component of being a high school student-athlete.”

Providence School boys beach volleyball team defeats New Roads school in Santa Monica

Providence School boys beach volleyball team defeats New Roads school in Santa Monica (Providence School photo)

The Providence difference is clear when looking at its competitive success: Last season, it had three Frontier League championship teams — girls tennis, girls track and field, and boys track and field. It also had many individual Frontier League champions in track and field and tennis. Additionally, the top girls beach volleyball pair was a runner-up in the league tournament.

This season, the girls indoor volleyball team won the 2022 Condor League championship, and the girls tennis team has been ranked as high as No. 2 in California Interscholastic Federation Division 4 polls.

“They are playing well with a chance to make a good run in the playoffs,” Covell said.

For more information about Providence School and its athletic program, visit