Expanding the Season
It is exceedingly tough to be a tri-varsity athlete at Lawrenceville in 2020.
It is exceedingly tough to be a tri-varsity athlete at Lawrenceville in 2020. While nowadays there are certainly students who participate on a varsity team in all three seasons, they are few and far between. Lawrentians, like most teenage athletes across the country, usually have one main sport of focus. In order to be successful, they have to specialize in that sport if they want an opportunity to play at the collegiate level. While the Lawrenceville Athletic Department does offer athletes the option to get an exemption from one interscholastic season in order to play their sport outside of School for an extra season, this option has several limitations.
For one, exemptions are only offered for returning varsity athletes. Any new student, no matter how much experience or skill they have in their sport before coming to Lawrenceville, cannot obtain an exemption, making it difficult for them to focus on their main sport outside of its Lawrenceville season. Secondly, there are not always great opportunities to practice and improve outside of Lawrenceville for certain sports. Big Red athletics should strongly consider giving interscholastic teams more time to compete throughout the year, providing them at least two seasons of activity, or at least allowing teams to have organized practices with their coaches outside of their conventional seasons.
Boys Varsity Crew has been one Lawrenceville’s most successful programs in the past few years. Yet Lawrenceville’s success has not come from just the spring season, for the Big Red Crew puts in substantial work in the winter offseason as well and the older rowers have the opportunity to row in the fall. However, the fall program is limited primarily to seniors and a select number of juniors only if seniors do not fill the roster. Expanding the fall program to all Lawrenceville rowers would have a huge impact on Big Red Rowing. “Our success in the spring depends on the work that people put in in the winter,” said Head Coach Ben Wright P’10 ’21. The opportunity to row year-round allows many boarding schools in the United Kingdom to be extremely successful, earning them the reputation for having the best prep school rowing programs in the world.
Many members of both the Boys and Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Teams obtain exemptions to play club hockey outside of Lawrencevlle in the fall. Few members of Boys Varsity Ice Hockey actually play an interscholastic sport in the fall. In addition, the Loucks Ice Center is available four times a week for all players who want to use it, and captains often organize practices on Fridays with those who show up. With so much hockey in the fall, why not allow Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Head Coach Keith Dupee and Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Head Coach Nicole Uliasz to become more involved instead of only allowing them to just watch the action?
Big Red Track and Field (TF) is the only program offered at the varsity level for multiple seasons. TF athletes have the opportunity to run, throw, and jump in the winter and spring. In addition, many of the long distance runners are on the cross country team in the fall, further building their aerobic capacity and endurance. Thus, it is no coincidence that Big Red TF has consistently been one of Lawrenceville’s most successful programs, with athletes consistently breaking School records because of sustained practice throughout the year.
No doubt, there are complications with a potential program reconstruction to give sports multiple seasons or opportunities for organized practices outside of their respective seasons. For instance, the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) has an agreement for schools to not allow organized sports outside of their seasons, so a change at Lawrenceville would require amending the MAPL regulations. Nevertheless, many Lawrentians feel that our teams have more potential but cannot develop enough simply due to the limited time we have in one interscholastic season. Allowing teams more than one season will give athletes a greater sense of fulfillment by being able to play their preferred sport more and will build a more successful Lawrenceville athletics program overall.