Friday, March 6, 2009

Fall 2009

Bridgton Academy is pleased to announce a dramatically revamped fall sports schedule for the coming fall 2009 season. In particular, the spring sports of lacrosse and baseball will begin a full and aggressive fall schedule of practices and games, joining with the Academy’s traditional fall sports of football, soccer, and golf.

“This move ensures that all of our athletes, including those playing lacrosse and baseball, get a great opportunity for broad exposure to college coaches during the critical first half of their year at Bridgton,” said Brad Smith, the Academy’s Director of Athletics. “Given our athletes’ status as post-graduate students, recruiting focus on them must be in the fall before early decision and regular application deadlines, financial aid form due dates, and national letter of intent dates stack up throughout December, January, and February.”

This move builds upon the existing fall baseball and lacrosse programs and will ensure an exciting and very busy campus come September, October, and November. “We typically have some level of athletic training taking place for all of our student athletes during the fall, but this new emphasis will ensure that all of our athletes are fully engaged both academically and athletically right from the time they arrive on campus,” Smith said.

This change also alters the way the start of school with take place. Starting this fall, all students will report to campus at the end of August with the first week being filled with an intensive pre-season for the athletes mixed in with school orientation and other activities. Those not competing in varsity athletics will also report early to participate in experiential programs showcasing the great outdoors of Maine.

Bridgton has traditionally fielded strong football and soccer programs each fall, followed by nationally ranked prep basketball and junior hockey squads during the winter. However, spring sports have often dealt with difficult Maine winters, limiting access to fields until late March or early April. This annual challenge often meant Bridgton’s nationally recognized lacrosse program and perennially strong baseball program struggled to get in home games and get quality outdoor practice time.

In addition to the weather, there is another critical factor that makes the move opportunistic. College athletic recruitment tends to be very focused on the months of September through January. In order to maximize BA’s spring athletic programs’ exposure to interested college coaches, it only made sense to build a legitimate fall schedule, thus directly addressing college coaches’ scouting schedules and recruiting needs.

The Academy’s action adds to a fall athletics schedule that currently features a football team that plays a predominantly college JV schedule against schools such as Yale, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, and Holy Cross, among others. The soccer schedule is evolving towards a mix of college JV and NEPSAC (New England Prep School Athletic Conference) schools. The golf team will continue to play in the NEPSAC and MAISAD leagues. Baseball will play up to 16 games against college club teams and other year-round baseball programs. Lacrosse will participate in several college showcases as well as play 12-15 games versus college club teams and other U-19 select teams.

“We are excited about our decision. We feel it will give your young men a chance to better engage and get into the rhythm that is Bridgton Academy. Being a PG only school means we have to ensure that every day counts, knowing that there isn’t a “next year” for our students. We attack that challenge right alongside our students. It is one that we both embrace,” said Grady Vigneau, Bridgton’s Head of School.

Look for a finalized fall athletics schedule to published by mid-May or earlier.