By Lauren Yingling ’21
In a recent change in rules, post-graduate students, commonly known as PGs, will no longer be able to join football teams in the MAPL league. Up until this upcoming year, Hill has been able to bring in a handful of students for a fifth year of high school to the school’s football program. These players often sign up for this additional year hoping it will help them in the recruiting process for college.
In previous years, PGs have played a special role in the Hill community. Having multiple seasons of high school football under their belts, PGs have been able to bring new skill sets to the team that give the team an upper hand in areas it may have been lacking in.
Cooper Sugden ’21 describes PGs as “mentors to younger kids, especially to third and fourth formers who aren’t ready to fully play.”
Hill’s past addition of PGs allowed for a new style of leadership on the team from the perspective of new and perhaps more experienced students. Meanwhile, the physical capabilities of these post-grads have, at times, been greater than those of younger and less experienced under-formers on the team.
Head Football Coach Jeff Hollway has no doubt in the team and their capabilities despite the loss of PGs.
“[It takes away] four of our potentially best players, so that might leave a hole in a few spots. But over time, the younger guys will step right in,” Hollway said.
Despite the previous advantages PGs have brought to the Hill School Football Team, many of the current players are also very optimistic of what this change will mean in terms of team morale.
“It’ll be tricky,” Andrew Chirieleison ’21 said. “[But the] guys will have had to be here for at least two years. They will have grown up at Hill.”
A common view shared between the players and coach is the excitement for better matched games with other schools. This rule isn’t exclusive to Hill and applies to everyone in the MAPL league. The range for players is exclusively 9-12th grade. Younger players will no longer be playing against significantly older and bigger players. This should create a more evenly matched playing field. This promotes more competition from a variety of teams who may have previously been out of Hill’s skill range.
While on the surface this rule looks like one that could hurt the team in the short term, its potential impact on the players and culture of Hill may be quite beneficial. It will give younger players the chance to step up as well as provide more evenly matched competition for the team inside the MAPL league.