The typical incoming freshmen have little idea of what to expect from college. But Harvard freshmen Brianna Laing, Natasha Rachlin, and Robyn White are not typical.
These three women’s hockey players all hail from Noble and Greenough, a preparatory school in Dedham, Mass., known for its excellent athletics programs. The women’s hockey program in particular has sent six players to No. 4/5 Harvard in the last four years.
“I’m very excited and very proud of them,” said Noble and Greenough women’s hockey coach Tom Resor. “It speaks a lot to the type of kid that we attract at Noble.”
Along with Laing, Rachlin and White, sophomore Mary Parker said that nearly ten students from Noble are current freshmen at Harvard.
“We are very fortunate that we have kids here who are very good at a lot of things,” Resor said. “We pride ourselves on giving them a lot of opportunities academically, athletically, and service-wise.”
Although it might be easy to conceive that many Noble and Greenough hockey players choose Harvard simply to follow their peers, Parker and Rachlin said that their decisions were made without much influence from upperclassmen or fellow classmates.
“It was all separate,” Resor said. “[Though] it happened over a similar timetable. They were all independent of each other in the process.”
Even so, all three conceded that the relationship between the upperclassmen and freshmen could have indirectly influenced the players’ decisions. Resor noted that when players go on their visits, the happiness that Noble graduates have at Harvard is “almost contagious.”
Additionally, the three touched upon the excellence of Harvard itself—academically and athletically—as a reason for why so many players choose to attend.
“Harvard obviously has awesome academics, and a great hockey program, and a great team, and awesome coaches,” Parker said. “I think that [combination] just draws a lot of players wanting to come here anyway.”
“For girls who want an Ivy League education and want to continue playing hockey, especially if you’re from this area…it’s hard really to beat [Harvard],” Resor added.
In addition, the Crimson women’s hockey team plays at an up-tempo pace with a heavy emphasis on passing—a style very similar to Noble and Greenough’s system of play.
However, early on in freshman year, the differences between Noble alumnae and other teammates diminish on the ice.
“I wouldn’t say I think of [non-Noble players] any differently,” Rachlin said. “I guess you know [Noble alumniaes] style of play more than others, but you learn the others’ style as the year progresses.”
According to the players, problems with team chemistry are virtually nonexistent, despite the fact that nearly one-third of the team came from the same high school.
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