For a school with only 400 students, The Governor’s Academy in Byfield knows how to dole out the championships.
Four of the Govs’ fall teams — boys cross-country, volleyball, girls soccer and football — racked up New England Prep School Athletic Counsel (NEPSAC) championships. The girls soccer and football teams also took home Independent School League (ISL) titles after going undefeated.
“It’s going to be a really expensive fall,” said Governor’s Academy athletic director Roberta McLain. “I have six banners to purchase. We certainly win a lot of championships and have a lot of banners on our walls. But six in one season is pretty significant.”
It’s a pleasant dilemma for McLain to be sure, and one that she feels would be impossible if she hadn’t fought against sports specialization.
“As an athletic director, I firmly believe that playing multiple sports makes you a better athlete, even in your primary sport,” said McLain. “My biggest battle as an athletic director is the specialization. Convincing parents that their kid can play football and still play hockey here. And that is a trend all over the country. So, for us to have so many top-level Division 1 athletes who are playing multiple sports at a level where they are going on to win championships is pretty awesome.”
For The Governor’s Academy, having multiple-sport athletes playing year-round is about more than diversity. It’s also about necessity.
“Without the kids playing multiple sports, it would be tough to field a team,” said football head coach Jim O’Leary, who coached the Triton Regional High football team in 2008 and 2009. “We are such a small school that three of our four captains are going on to play Division 1 lacrosse. The captain of our hockey team is our cornerback. So that certainly helps us when kids can come over and play different sports. That’s great.”