Elite athletes at Lawrenceville

I’m curious if a student-athlete needs to train at Lawrenceville everyday and sport only offered in spring- how can that happen if on campus 11 hours a day. How does Lawrenceville support serious student-athletes looking to be best in country if they are on campus all day, evening long.

IME those athletes typically do not end up at Lville because part of being at Lville is the “all in” lifestyle. There are equal academic opportunities elsewhere.

Depending on the sport, athletes make do with what’s available. Runners can run XC, indoor track, outdoor track. Swimmers will often play water polo in the fall, swim in winter, row in the spring.

There are athletes who participate in club outside of school but very few do so during the academic year. From what I have seen, this is something the school does not fully support or is willing to accommodate.

But then again, a true National level athlete is rare, and one may find that there could be exceptions to the rules. Even so, I don’t believe it is possible to attend the school without compromise on either the sport side or the academic side. (If that is the level of commitment we are talking about)

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This is helpful, thank you!

I would direct this question to the athletics director. But as @TonyGrace says, boarding school life (at ALL boarding schools) is about participating in many areas of interest, not just one. I’d suspect an athlete who wants to be the best in the country is better off at home so he/she can meet his/her athletic goals more easily.

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I should mention that Lville does currently have a “one of the best in the country” athlete, but she is a runner and can therefore do her sport for all three seasons. She is likely an exception to the norm.

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To elaborate on what TonyGrace said, the “being on campus 11 hours a day” is very heavily dependent on how involved you are.

Firstly, when you’re out of season, there are “lifetime” options which let you do basic workouts for a very small time commitment, so that you can focus on your actual sport with the extra free time you get. Additionally, under COVID, they’ve introduced optional twice weekly practices for off-season sports (with the actual coaches and teammates).

Furthermore, many kids (mostly day students) participate in hockey, football, or lacrosse leagues throughout the year. I even know an international boarder who would go to outside fencing practices in the evenings three times a week, and take time off from classes to travel to other parts of the country for tournaments. To aid in this, the school provides sports exemptions for experienced athletes. Anyways, it’s certainly not impossible, but you’ll probably have to sacrifice something else in order to do an outside sport (for example, a lot of clubs have their meeting times in the 6-8pm timeslot).

She is also a day student, which offers additional flexibility.

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Again to my earlier comment, what is the point of going to such a school if you cannot be involved? Their are many excellent schools where that level of involvement is not part of the culture.

I will add that much of what is “possible”, like so much in this world, will depend of financial situation of the student. You will hear of private drivers and regular Uber rides to outside practice at all boarding schools. It is not even that rare to hear of parents who rent a home near the school for this kind of “support.”

Also, unless the rules have changed, exceptions are only granted after the first year and only for a single season each year. We explored this and it definitely felt like it was possible but not encouraged.

OP. If you are considering boarding school with an elite level athlete I will chime in and say it is a hard road. Both my kids were day students and played a sport at “elite level” outside of school and I don’t recommend. It is a huge added stress and I’ve come to realize that part of why I think homework is so out of control is because my kids had an extra 3-4 hours of commitment three times a week plus games all weekend on TOP of varsity sports which practice/play 5-6 times per week at BS.

I’ll say there are kids who make it seem easy. Those are kids who are so athletically gifted that they can be recruited for a sport while only playing that sport in season at school. This is the rare athlete and it’s a kid who is good enough to go real, high level D1 but opts for Ivy D1. That kind of kid isnt having a a hard time but that kind of kid is pretty rare.

It is doable. It is grueling. It is stressful.

I think @Golfgr8 would agree??

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There are boarding schools that prioritize the sports part of the equation and allow their kids to train at very high level all year. By and large they do this but taking academics down a notch (or two). At the academic boarding schools the strongest athletes are typically day students who either have family schlep them around or last couple years have a car to drive themselves places after class. By junior year it gets easier to waive the school sport requirement if you are seriously involved in something else. But as @one1ofeach said it is still a grueling grind since the academic workload is massive and if sports are the priority there are much better options.

This is the case for kids entering in 9th grade, anyway, the equation is different for PGs or even kids who enter as repeating 11th graders.

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I agree with @one1ofeach and also @417WHB makes good points. It is grueling for the student and also can be tough for parents - physically, emotionally, and financially - to pursue elite level of athletics that also involves club/travel teams. I also see uppers and some Sophomores receiving exemptions from EC’s for sports. I do suspect that some kids get other benefits, exemptions, or accommodations but can’t prove it. We know a couple of guys who missed school for campus visits and also missed school for tournaments. Some kids repeat and some need an extra year to grow/develop/mature. I know of a few top hockey, soccer and lax guys that have taken the PG route, also. There is a huge time commitment and commuting to club/travel practice, as well as tournaments, is a tricky endeavor to juggle. Throw in studying for ACT/SAT and APs on top of that. It also takes a lot of $$ and time for a parent to help navigate this route. I am not sure how Brandon Wu did it all with golf. I do know a couple students at a well known Ivy who sacrificed grades, and/or did not take the toughest courses, while balancing their athletic commitment. There have been previous threads about the A/I and how that plays out. If you’re interested I can try to find the posts.

We decided early on not to prioritize the sport commitment over academics. It’s a personal decision and sometimes a financial one. Due to COVID, some of our kids find there is little “room on the bench” for recruiting. The kids I know are getting D1 offers are at the very top.

As I write this, I am exhausted from it. Had no idea how hard it would be to try to do this from afar.

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Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am also exhausted thinking about how we might make this work. Your points about financial and time commitments from parents sound spot on. I am interested in threads about A/I if you locate. I’ll try to uncover them on my own as well. A couple of things that leave me scratching my head.

  1. Allowing flexibility in Junior and Senior year is a little too late. Recruiting for lax happens primarily Sophomore year and summer after 10th grade. These kids need support 9th and 10th to allow for skill development rather than after they are already secured an athletic spot in college. I guess getting ready to play at a high level in college is also important but far less stress for kid already making a verbal commitment to the admissions process at a top D1 school than one that has not been seen yet by college coaches.

  2. Yes, PG is popular… I believe that is something driven more by college coach asking student to take a PG because they want to manage rosters, positions etc. I guess some students take a PG to upgrade offers (D3 to D1 or low D1 to higher D1) but more often hear about it in lax for kid to get bigger, faster, stronger or to manage roster talent by position. Most kids doing PG that I know were asked to after committing to D1 school.

  3. Why would Lawrenceville work to bring in top lacrosse men’s coach in country if their program does not fully support elite athletes? We were drawn to Lawrenceville because of top-notch academics but phenomenal lacrosse coach clenched it for us.
    It’s scary to think the reason we want to go ultimately becomes the biggest challenge for us to navigate once there.

We need to make a decision by April 10th…don’t understand why schools can’t offer more flexibility and support these kids following their passions. Why are boarding schools so focused on well-rounded kids when colleges have been saying for years we want pointy kids going deeper with their passions than participating in a million activities. I guess in the end their philosophy works for developing the whole-child but one has to be realistic in this process and there are serious trade-offs.

Talk to the lacrosse coach!!! Ask him (her?) how lax college recruiting works at Lawrenceville. And how to fit in Club.

Yes, I’ve done this but since COVID and first year, my sense is he is still trying to figure it out himself. They are also bringing in a lot of kids already developed as juniors which are in a different situation.

Appreciate you taking the time to share your perspective. Very informative.

Thank you!

DC was accepted at L’ville a few years back. DC asked quite specifically whether Dc’s schedule (meeting coach after school, practice time 3x a week) would be accommodated. In short, DC was not going to get the time for those, nor the absences DC was going to need for national travel. DC went to a LDS, and has verbally committed to a top 15 (sport snd academic) college.

The first 2 years in HS are important for recruiting- of course that varies by sport and DC’s isn’t lacrosse; however, DC’s friends who did go to BS had significantly more resources (think flying kid across the country to meet coach on weekends) that we would have. One went Ivy and another to a similar profile school as DC. The others gave up playing at a high level- exactly why, I can’t say.

It’s ok to be “pointy”. Our other DC is going to BS so we see the value of BS. But for our truly committed-to-the-sport kid, we declined our spot (very tough to do) and have no regrets. Just another perspective if you are struggling with the philosophy of a school regarding elite athletes.

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The above link was from a few years ago.

  • Do talk honestly with the coach at your prospective school

  • Do realize that your kiddo may need to try out for a new club or travel team in the region close to your boarding school. Not sure how this works for boys lax, but this does happen for girls lax and soccer.

  • Realize that it costs $$$ to join these teams. Also, you must work with the school to arrange for your student to leave campus and to get transportation for outside practices and tournaments. We actually know a couple of parents who rented houses by their kid’s school to take them to practices and tournament$. Yes - we also knew kids who had their own car Senior year (not sure if this is allowed earlier). Other kids hitch rides with classmates or other parents by permission. One group of guys at a certain school had the trainer drive them to outside tournaments. I am not sure if this was on the up & up.

  • If you look at college rosters (which is what we did 4 years ago), we looked at where kids were coming from. There are several schools that have elite players heading to top collegiate programs.

  • For some sports, the club/travel teams are considered more important than the school team.

  • Identify and discuss your student’s expectations, as well as your parent expectations, with the school’s coach.

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Would you be able to elaborate item 3? Do you mean the Lawrenceville wouldn’t allow student-athletes to attend showcases or tournaments with your son’s club team and be away from the campus in fall weekends?

Given the new coaches background and legacy, I wouldn’t worry about your son’s exposure through these outside events. He even said he would personally invite college coaches to their spring practices on campus.

Regarding question if it was for my post above # 3.

  • It cost $$ to join club/travel teams (wasn’t referring to the school team)
  • Most schools I know of have policies about leaving campus and driving with classmates or others. You need to sign out and/or make it known you are leaving campus if you are a boarding student. There are a few weekends that are “closed” weekends, but students we know have received permission to leave for tournaments.