New Athletic Rep Profile: Manoc Joa-Griffith
On Saturday, May 29, Manoc Joa-Griffith ’22 was announced as the Athletic Representative for the 2021-22 Student Council.
On Saturday, May 29, Manoc Joa-Griffith ’22 was announced as the Athletic Representative for the 2021-22 Student Council. As the most improved player on the Boys Varsity Indoor Track team during his III Form year and a player on the Boys Varsity Soccer team, Joa-Griffith understands the Lawrenceville athletic environment well. Even though he was just appointed Athletic Rep, he already has many initiatives planned to ensure that Big Red Athletics come back better than ever next year.
For his first line of initiatives, Joa-Griffith plans to meet with faculty members including Director of Athletics Tripp Welborne H’58 P’21 ’24, Associate Director of Athletics Nicole Stock, and other members of the athletic department in order to discuss his plans, most of which revolve around “returning the hype to Lawrenceville [athletics].”
Due to the cancellation of interscholastic athletics in the fall, as well as Covid-19 restrictions during the Spring, Joa-Griffith believes that the school needs to regain a sense of community that large athletic gatherings typically would provide. One such initiative would involve the revival of the Big Red Dog Pound, “a hype team that goes around to various games and brings the hype up.” The increase in school spirit would help to “drive the athletes and motivate people to come to the games.”
In addition, he hopes to increase advertisement of less-watched sports games such as softball and water polo. “Obviously, sports like football and basketball have huge turnouts, but I would really like to get some more people at other games that don’t get watched as much. This would help people learn more about the game and engage with the Lawrenceville community,” Joa-Griffith said.
Joa-Griffith also plans on bringing professional athletes to Lawrenceville to talk about their athletic careers. Although many of the schools’ teams have coaches who used to play their sport in college, “sports are [constantly] evolving,” so he wants to bring in current players to give advice to and educate current athletes. Joa-Griffith believes that this will allow Lawrentians to be “an athlete in the modern rule,” as they can learn the ins and outs of the modern version of the game.
On a similar note, Joa-Griffith hopes to incorporate sports psychology into the athletic department by having the school counseling team come around to encourage each team and give players the opportunity to talk with counselors individually—much like the strength and conditioning team do. “I know plenty of athletes [who] feel really stressed right before a meet or a game, and they have no one to talk to, [so] they end up wallowing in fear, and that stress is just really bad for their body,” he said. A sports psychologist could be helpful in helping athletes de-stress, leading to better performances. However, Joa-Griffith does recognize the difficulty of implementing this initiative—it could be difficult to fit these meetings into Lawrenceville athletes’ already tight schedules.
Overall, Joa-Griffith is most excited to return to a maskless Lawrenceville and see roaring crowds cheering their peers on. “Just having a crowd is such a morale booster. Having people there, cheering you on, knowing your name, saying your number—it makes it a lot more personal,” he said. The prospect of meeting with people in-person without masks is very exciting to Joa-Griffith, as he hopes new students will finally be able to get a taste of what normal life at Lawrenceville is like.
Joa stated, “I feel like this [upcoming] year is really what we make it in terms of Student Council, and we have a great platform. We’re coming off a year that was fully [defined by] Covid-19, [but] now we can have full crowds bringing back that hype. I expect people are going to be very enthusiastic and ready to get back into normal Lawrenceville life.”