As Taft students make their way back to campus, or arrive on campus for the first time, among the many new faces are Post Graduates. Many of these new faces can be pretty intimidating for new freshman, as well as some seniors. The Post Graduate year at Taft allows both academic and athletic specialized students to experience another year of high school and prepare them for even more success in college. For athletic students, sometimes they have verbally committed to attending and playing their respective sport at the collegiate level, but the school or coach requires them to take another year in order to better perform their first year on a college campus. There are also others who have dreams of playing at the collegiate level and use the PG year as a way to receive increased exposure and give themselves a greater chance at achieving their goal.
At Taft there are a total of twenty-two PG’s, six of whom are playing winter sports. I had the chance to talk to Andrew Ebersol and Thomas McAleer about their experience at Taft so far and the reason behind their decision to come to Taft. Both McAleer and Ebersol hail from the New York area, Penfield and Valley Stream respectively, and have dreams of playing college hockey. When I spoke with them it seemed as their love for the game and desire to play at the next level was the driving force behind their decisions. Although Ebersol said it was more “half hockey, half academic” as he not only wanted to find the right hockey fit but the best school as well. The Varsity Hockey team sits at 10-5-1, with three of those wins coming in the Lawrenceville Tournament over winter vacation. The team went on to win the tournament in a 5-0 victory over Choate Rosemary Hall in the final. Ebersol and McAleer both noted that victory as their favorite moment of the season so far. Both stated that they are glad they made the decision to attend Taft and can’t wait to know where they’ll hopefully be playing hockey for the next four years.
Two of the other Post Graduates are Varsity Basketball stars Ben Barrett, from Oakland, California, and and Connecticut-native Tyler Arbuckle. The Boys Basketball team sits at 5-7 right now and is looking for a mid-season turn around coming off of a 41-27 win against the Trinity Pawling Pride. One of the most notable moments of the season was Arbuckle’s game winning shot in the waning seconds of their game against Kingswood-Oxford. With a little over 5 seconds left, Arbuckle took the game in his hands and rushed down the court putting up a last second floater to seal the game. Chaos ensued after the final buzzer: almost half the school, including Headmaster MacMullen, piled atop the sweaty, but victorious, basketball team.
As for Girls’ Hockey, Claudia Vira, from High Bridge, New Jersey, is no stranger to the Taft ice. After having graduated last year from Taft, she decided to spend another year on Woodbury Road in order fulfill her commitment to the Middlebury Women’s Ice Hockey team. The Girls’ Varsity has a 5-5-1 record going into the mid way mark of the season. After a 4-0 loss to a strong Deerfield team the girls are looking to start a second half run against The Gunnery.
Last, but certainly not least, Sophie Webb from Waterville, Maine, looks to contribute to Girls’ Varsity Basketball already incredible season. At 9-1, the girls are the best varsity team on campus, and look to continue their domination as they are in the middle of a six-game winning streak, and look to extend it against Loomis. As half the year is yet to come we look forward to seeing what the future holds for these aspiring athletes and people.