3d Lacrosse's DIII Road Trip Giving Student-Athletes An Unforgettable College Visitation Experience

3d Lacrosse's DIII Road Trip Giving Student-Athletes An Unforgettable College Visitation Experience

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DIII Road Trip 915 515.jpg
DIII Road Trip 915 515.jpg

GLASTONBURY, Conn. — Pack up the van — again. 3d Lacrosse is planning the second annual DIII Road Trip, a unique three-day adventure that leads prospective student-athletes on tours of numerous elite Division III universities and colleges in the Northeast and connects them with the lacrosse staffs at those institutions.

Following up on the wildly successful June voyage to seven different universities or colleges in New England and New York, as well as one college prep school, 3d Lacrosse’s Division III staff is planning to host the second DIII Road Trip in June of 2017, with several widely respected institutions already confirmed as stops along the way.

“We’re thrilled about the feedback we received from the first edition of the DIII Road Trip and eager to expand and enhance the offering to meet the increasing interest in the opportunity to study and play lacrosse at the Division III level,” said Seth Jacoby, 3d Lacrosse’s National Director of Division III Services.

“There’s really nothing out there to give a family the opportunity to send your son on a trip to visit this many high-caliber schools in a three-day window. And we’ve structured this so that they’re going to these schools and getting a glimpse into the quality of the academic resources and the culture, and then directly connecting them with the lacrosse staff to create an immediate interaction. The players extract a massive amount of information from each visit.”

The first edition of the DIII Road Trip, held in June of 2016, featured a caravan of more than 30 Division III prospects who made their way throughout New England and into New York. Stops included Amherst College, Wesleyan University, Williams College, Trinity College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Union College and Middlebury College, where participants attended the Middlebury Prospect Day.

The student-athletes toured the campus, visited academic buildings and student centers at each location. Participants then toured athletic facilities and spent time with the lacrosse coaching staffs at each school.

“This really was a great way to get a bunch of players to some of the top Division III schools,” said Bill Els, an assistant at RPI and a former Division I goaltender at Hofstra. A father of two teenagers himself, Els said he sees the value the DIII Road Trip can provide to busy parents.

“As a parent, this is sort of a like magical bus recruiting tour that cuts out a lot for you by packing all of this into one trip and Seth is a chaperone and teaching them about Division III recruiting and the schools the whole time,” Els said.

“And from the coaches perspective, this allows us to focus on making sure the kids experience that ‘wow factor.’ Like a lot of the schools on this trip, we feel pretty confident that once a player gets here on campus at RPI and sees it, they will want to be here. So to have this many arrive at once in an organized fashion is very valuable to us.”

Each day of the first DIII Road Trip included at least one on-field training session conducted in front of a Division III coaching staff. Last year’s trip included workouts in front of the Trinity College staff, the Williams College staff and then culminated with a stop at Middlebury College’s Prospect Day.

The first DIII Road Trip featured a bonus visit — as the trip began at the renowned Salisbury School, where participants got to experience the campus of a traditional prep school and talk with an experienced coaching staff.

Sean Mowatt-Larssen is a junior attackman at Strake Jesuit College Prep in Houston, Texas, who also plays for 3d Houston. Mowatt-Larssen attended the STX Rising DIII Showcase in June and then embarked on the DIII Road Trip. He’d been hoping to pursue Division I and Division II opportunities in lacrosse, but a conversation with his high school coach opened his eyes to the possibilities of playing Division III lacrosse.

“We looked into it and it made so much more sense because the academics at a lot of the schools were actually equal if not better than some of the Division I lacrosse schools,” Mowatt-Larssen said. “I’d still get to play the sport I love but not with as intense of a commitment level so I could focus on both sports and academics.”

The DIII Road Trip, Mowatt-Larssen said, was a valuable way for players to package numerous visits into one single trip and get the most out of their time. For players from non-traditional lacrosse regions, like the West Coast or the South, planning a trip to a single school in the Northeast can be a big enough logistics challenge for a family.

To visit seven schools, including an official prospect day, in a two-day period proved to be an invaluable experience for a player like Mowatt-Larssen, who is exploring lacrosse and engineering programs at several of the schools he visited on the trip.

“It was great because I saw campuses I liked and then by the time I left I understood why I liked those schools,” he said. “Then that helped me look at other colleges that are similar knowing more about what I liked in colleges. And by the time we got to the prospect day at Middlebury, we’d been together for several days and all of the players had gotten to know each other on the field and started to get pretty comfortable.”

To build on the momentum of the first DIII Road Trip, Jacoby is lining up a voyage for the summer of 2017 that will feature stops at perennial Division III powerhouse Tufts University, Bates College, Connecticut College, Wesleyan University, Trinity College, Endicott and a stop at Bowdoin College’s official prospect day. More stops will be added in the coming months.

The DIII Road Trip, which is open to members of the 2018 and 2019 graduating classes who pass specific academic-standing requirements, was created by Jacoby as way to give prospective student-athletes unique look into the academic and athletic life that awaits at the Division III level.

Like in 2016, the 2017 DIII Road Trip will take place in the days directly following the increasingly popular Rising DIII Showcase, which brings in excess of 50 of the nation’s top Division III coaches to New England for a weekend to see more than 150 student-athletes from across the country train and compete.

Charged with creating opportunities for players interested in Division III lacrosse, Jacoby’s newest offering is a part of 3d Lacrosse’s growing effort to bring its Division III services to more of its families, but also to families and players from any lacrosse club.

“We want our families to know and, really all families to know, that the Division III option is a valuable, rewarding, fruitful path in life that has helped thousands of men and women play the game and continue to love it while getting an education that will truly help them succeed,” said 3d Lacrosse CEO Greg Waldbaum.

“Players who go on to play Division III lacrosse are just as likely Division I alumni to build a life around lacrosse or to benefit from playing lacrosse and the sport’s network.”

With the hire of Jacoby in 2016 and with the expansion of the STX Rising Showcase Series heading into 2017, Waldbaum points to the effort 3d Lacrosse is focusing on increasing opportunities for players to be seen by Division III colleges and interact with the coaches at those institutions.

Division III lacrosse, Waldbaum said, is becoming more and more of a draw for players around the country who are connected to the game but unsure about the talent or the commitment required to compete at the Division I level.

“In fact, some of the Division III schools that are powerhouses in the sport are as good if not more respected academic institutions than some of the top Division I schools,” Waldbaum continued.

“Numbers clearly show that the Division III opportunity is available to many more players around the country than Division I lacrosse, and all too often, the conversation in lacrosse has become focused heavily on Division I as the supreme end goal. We are working to educate people, as such a singular focus may not be the best approach to this sport for families who are getting their kids into it all around the country. We want them to find a way to love it and stay involved forever and we think Division III is a great option for that.”

To learn more about the DIII Road Trip, or to register, visit the program information page https://3dlacrosse.com/recruiting-showcases/3d-diii-road-trip. More information on the STX Rising DIII Showcase can be found at https://3dlacrosse.com/recruiting-showcases/stx-rising-showcase-series/stx-rising-diii-showcase.

You can sign up directly at the following link for both the DIII Road Trip and the STX Rising DIII Showcase: https://3dlacrosse.com/signup/3d-rising-d3-showcase-and-road-trip-17-registration.

To learn more about 3d Lacrosse’s growing offering of Division III opportunities and consultation, contact Seth Jacoby directly at [email protected].