Carlyle, Fall 13, from Baltimore reflects on his experience at the Mountain School as a junior working to be recruited to a college lacrosse team.
1. How did you manage the logistics of a semester at TMS as an athlete?
I was extremely hesitant about attending The Mountain School. The athletic piece was one of the biggest reasons I was so tentative in coming. Although I had been admitted to TMS for the fall semester (not the spring, when my main sport lacrosse is), I felt like I would be put at a disadvantage if I left home for a semester. Even though lacrosse is a spring sport, a lot of fall ball occurs, as well as various recruiting events leading up to the winter. I assumed that if I missed these lacrosse tournaments and events, my chances of getting recruited would diminish drastically. I also assumed that my club coach and high school coach would not want me to go. So, I contacted both my varsity team head coach and my club coach and asked them what they thought. To my surprise, they said the exact opposite of what I expected. They both highly encouraged me to attend TMS. They told me that while the fall of junior year is an important one, it would not set me back in the recruiting process to be in Vermont. My varsity coach told me that a lot of college coaches would appreciate an athlete who took a risk like going to the Mountain School. He also said that because TMS is such a reputable and academically rigorous institution, going there would reflect positively on me as an athlete.
2. How did you stay in shape while at TMS?
I brought up a set of weights, which I kept in the dorm common room and used at night as a study break. Another kid brought up his own weights, so the dorm had a solid amount of weights to use, and they were available to anyone. We also had a pull up bar in the dorm, which was a big help. Lots of kids who attend the Mountain School play sports and are also looking to stay in shape. Our dorm did planks together and pushups and sit-ups. The school is situated on some 350 acres of land, and there are several trails that are great to run on. Finally, the food at the school is not only amazing, but also extremely healthy and nutritious. The four months at TMS were the healthiest of my life. I have never eaten so much salad. Just being away from Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A and eating only healthy food helped me athletically.
3. How did a semester away junior year affect college recruiting?
While at TMS I missed out on far fewer lacrosse events than I anticipated. Your weekends are free at TMS, and you are allowed to leave campus if you want to. And although you do not want to miss too many weekends at the school, if you want to go to an important lacrosse tournament or recruiting event, you can. The faculty are incredibly helpful in transporting you to Hanover, NH (home of Dartmouth College, about a half an hour away from TMS), and from there it is easy to take a bus to wherever you need to go. There are many great lacrosse opportunities in New England. I attended weekend recruiting showcases at both Dartmouth and Middlebury while I was at TMS.
4. Any other benefits or drawbacks of TMS specifically for athletes?
There were two benefits for me. The first benefit is universal for kids who attend TMS. Although the school is incredibly challenging academically, I was far more focused on my schoolwork. Being around motivated people all the time really helped me, and I benefited academically from that. The second perk of going to TMS was that for the first time in high school, I was able to escape the pressure and stress that accompanies playing and hoping to be recruited for lacrosse. While I still thought about lacrosse, wrote emails to coaches, worked out, and played on several weekends, I did not let the sport dominate my thoughts and my life in a negative way. Being in Vermont for four months put things in perspective for me when it came to athletics.
(Below, some of Carlyle’s other athletic pursuits while at TMS)