Germantown Friends School Athletics celebrated the five student-athletes from the Class of 2022 who have committed to continue their athletic careers in college. Lindsey Burnham, Sam Butler, Zack Idinopulos, Anna Macdonald, and Clare Meyer signed their ceremonial Letters of Intent, at Scattergood Gymnasium, in front of a crowd of cheering teammates, coaches, students, faculty, staff, parents, and family.
"All of these young people represent our school in a plethora of ways each day in the classroom. They clearly love the academic rigor of their courses and working with their teachers. They are also leaders in our wider school -- team captains, social justice advocates, singers, and artists. Through their sports, they are exceptional and have been recognized by coaches of top programs and recruited to join the elite college sports ranks," said Katie Bergstrom Mark, Director of Athletics.
The Athletic Department caught up with the college-bound athletes to find out more about their collegiate athletic goals, favorite GFS team memories, and what they'll miss most about GFS Athletics.
Middlebury College Squash
On choosing Middlebury: "I chose Middlebury not only because they have a top-15 squash program, but also because of their rigorous academics. I felt like I could be supported by my coaches, Mark Lewis and David Cromwell, as well as my future teammates and classmates. I love the campus and their commitment to athletics, so I am excited to be joining them next fall."
Squash goals at Middlebury: "I hope to build relationships with my team like I have done throughout my junior squash career. I hope to build my squash game at the same trajectory as I have throughout the past couple years. I want to contribute in building the team and I want to position myself in the top-3 my freshman year."
GFS Squash accomplishments: "MVP in 2019; undefeated so far this year; recorded one loss from 2019-2021 (record 12-1); 5-year varsity player; top-3 from 8th grade to now; #1 on the team from 10th grade to now."
Squash accomplishments outside of GFS: "I'm currently ranked 20th nationally and 4th in the state for GU19; I am a Jr. Mixed Double Champion; and my highest ranking was 18 for GU19."
Top GFS sports memory: "My best GFS sports memory is from team Nationals in 2020, right before the pandemic started. Just having dinner with my teammates and bonding with the team was unforgettable."
What Lindsey will miss most about GFS Squash: "I’ll miss the close-knit family that GFS Squash has been for me over the past five years."
"The transformation Lindsey has made through her intense training is eye-opening. She has gone from being a savvy junior player to developing the athletic mindset and dedication of an elite athlete, which has helped Lindsey take her talent to the next level," noted Bergstrom Mark.
Pomona College Track & Field
On choosing Pomona: "Everything I learn about Pomona makes me love it even more - it's incredibly beautiful (and sunny), super diverse, and seems to me to be filled with super intellectually interesting people. I'm very excited to be challenged there."
Track & Field goals at at Pomona: "To qualify for DIII Nationals."
GFS Athletic honors: "In Track: All-League in the 400; 4x400 league champion; part of DMR that was #1 in PA last year, #6 in school history, #16 in the US; earned a 9th place finish at Nationals. In Soccer: 2-time FSL Champion, All-League Honorable Mention."
Best GFS sports memory: "Getting the chance to run at Hayward Field in Oregon was a pretty unforgettable experience."
What Sam will most most about GFS Athletics: "Even though it's corny, it will no doubt be all the friends I've made. Playing sports at GFS has given me so many memories and has helped me make so many bonds that will undoubtedly last long beyond college."
"Sam has the unique aspect of being a two-sport athlete," said Bergstrom Mark. "When he plays soccer, he is out-strategizing and out-hustling opponents, playing a physical and hard-nosed game. His peers on the soccer team would agree that he is the epitome of a solid teammate and leader. And when Sam is on the track, he is precise and laser focused, having put in all of the hard work to race in top form on the highest stage."
Wesleyan University Squash
On choosing Wesleyan: "I chose Wesleyan University because the atmosphere felt similar but not too similar to the community we have at GFS. The class sizes are pretty small; this allows for more engaged learning and the ability to have closer relationships with teachers. Additionally, the squash program was just what I was looking for. The team and school care a lot about athletics, but said athletics will never trump the importance of the education received at Wesleyan. Lastly, I loved the facilities."
Intended major: "My intended major is College of Social Studies; it is a PPE major -- philosophy, politics, and economics."
Squash goal at Wesleyan: "My goal is to play top-5 on the team and to improve my squash overall."
GFS Squash accomplishments: "My GFS Squash honors include being a varsity player from 8th grade to senior year, captain my senior year, top-3 on the team all four years of high school, and number one this year. Lastly, I finished with a 4-1 record at Nationals my freshman year."
Squash honors outside of GFS: "My personal squash honors include being a 2018 U.S. Junior Mixed Doubles National Champion, top-80 nationally in all age groups, and #13 in the state."
Favorite GFS Squash memory: "My freshman year when the seniors would take all of us to Chipotle every couple Fridays after practice. I chose this moment rather than an actual “on court" moment because it made me appreciate and feel part of a team. This was especially meaningful to me because I was only a freshman, the upperclassman scared me a little, and the gesture of taking me to Chipotle made me feel appreciated."
What Zack will miss most about GFS Squash: "To be honest, I think I’ll miss the lack of pressure the most. At GFS most of the athletes are only playing for fun and the love of the game. This creates a great environment. I am a little nervous that college sports will have more pressure associated with them. While I welcome this, and look forward to it, I remain grateful for how much fun I had on the GFS Squash team."
"Zack has travelled all over the world to play squash, and competed in and finished above-seed in the Dutch Open (Netherlands) and the European Open in Germany. While his play on court is exceptional, the legacy that Zack will leave with our program is one of impeccable sportsmanship and honest calls, under the most intense pressure, and bringing his best to the spirit of the game!"
Pomona College Cross Country, Indoor & Outdoor Track & Field
On choosing Pomona: "I chose Pomona because of its unique position in the venn diagram overlap of academically rigorous schools that also have competitive athletic programs. Pomona's track and cross country teams are top-ranked in DIII, but the athletes still prioritize the academic side of the experience more so than some of the DI programs I talked with, which appealed to me because ultimately, I want to go to college for a great education. The So-Cal weather isn't too bad either."
Intended major: "I'm not sure what I want to study yet which is another reason that a liberal arts education was a good fit, but as of now the PPE major (philosophy, politics, and economics) is one that's right up my alley of interests."
Pomona athletic goals: "To qualify for nationals in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, and to make lifelong friendships with my teammates. I want to race well while maintaining a good GPA and taking advantage of the resources and opportunities at my fingertips."
GFS Athletics honors: "2019 and 2021 All-League in Track (no sophomore season); 2021 All-League in Cross Country; 2021 Friends League mile champ (5:01); PAISSA #1; Nike Regionals #1 in first XC season (2021); 5K and 1K school record holder; 2020 soccer team captain."
Top GFS sports memory: "It's impossible to choose just one, but probably all of the desserts we received on overnight trips from Olive Garden and Carrabba's by telling the wait staff it was one of our birthdays."
What Anna will most post about here GFS teams: "The coaches are so special. I'll miss Conrad a lot; most of my success has been his doing. I'll also miss our program's sense of humor. Honestly, running can be painful and monotonous and I wouldn't have stuck with it if it weren't for all of the laughs and the cheery atmosphere the upperclassmen worked hard to cultivate."
"As we keep in mind the storied tradition of GFS Cross County and Track & Field, Anna has smashed records, lifted up teammates, valued input from coaches, and really had fun competing!" said Bergstrom Mark. "It is certain that she will continue to shine at Pomona because of these qualities as well as the sibling support that she and Sam have for each other; it's contagious and will continue to lift them both."
Dartmouth College Basketball
On choosing Dartmouth: "I chose Dartmouth because I think it is a school that will both challenge and support me -- upholding the balance of athletics and academics that I desire in my everyday life. Also, the school and basketball program alike have an incredible culture that I can't wait to be a part of."
Basketball goals at Dartmouth: "My goals at Dartmouth are to make an impact on their team. I want to be a part of rebuilding a team that has an incredible championship history."
GFS Athletics accomplishment: "In Basketball: Captain 2020/21 & 2021/22; Team MVP 2021; Friends School League Basketball All-League Honors (First Team 2019/20); 5-year varsity starter. In Lacrosse: Captain 2021/22; PASLA league MVP; Team MVP 2020/21; FSL All-League Honors: Honorable Mention 2017/18, First Team 2018/19 & 2020/21; US Lacrosse Academic All American 2021."
Basketball outside of GFS: "Four seasons of AAU basketball; Philadelphia Roots 2002."
Favorite GFS sports memory: "My greatest memory of GFS basketball is from our last game of the 2020-2021 season (and the last game we would play with our senior captain Desiree Norwood). We were playing Abington Friends School, a game we were a little bit nervous about coming in because AFS was a program with a great reputation who had won the league the previous year. I think we all felt intimidated walking into their gym (at least I know I did), but we played our hearts out because we had nothing to lose and, as our coach likes to say, "everything to prove," and we won. I will never forget how proud I was walking out of their gym not only having given Desiree a great ending to her incredible career at GFS but also knowing that we had given AFS a battle they hadn't expected. Another great memory was winning the Lacrosse league championship with my sister in 2018."
What Clare will most most about GFS Basketball: "I think I will most miss the culture that our team has -- and I know that everyone says that -- but I truly think that the relationships that I have because of this program are invaluable and they have helped me grow in so many ways, teaching me leadership, accountability, and so much more."
"Clare has made this journey special, partnering with her coaches and her best friends and teammates, to make any team she is on intense and competitive. She unapologetically strives for excellence," said Bergstrom Mark. "An exciting thing about Clare is she is only at the beginning of her basketball development. I would not be surprised if we turned on the TV some day and saw Clare suiting up in the WNBA."
"It has been a privilege to follow these student-athletes on both the lacrosse and soccer pitches, on the squash and basketball courts, and on the track and cross country courses representing Germantown Friends School. They each have made a lot of sacrifices to get to this level. Our community will be following from Coulter Street in your next steps of your careers!"