Athlete of the Issue: Bradford Rawlings ’19


Edward Guo ’19

Bradford Rawlings ’19 chases after a defender from Berkshire.

Bradford Rawlings ’19 is a three-year Senior and a defenseman on the Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team. In the Fall, he was co-captain and starting goalkeeper for the Boys Varsity Soccer team. Ryan Sellew ’21, his lacrosse teammate, said, “Brad has developed as a player and a leader throughout his years on the team. He has gained the respect of every player.”
When did you start playing lacrosse?
I started in sixth or seventh grade, but I played lacrosse locally in Lakeville, [which] was not very competitive. [In] my freshman year at Housatonic High School, I started as a long-pole defender until we lost our goalie. I took his place for a couple of years and returned to pole last year on Hotchkiss Varsity. Now I am a pole and back-up goalie.
What are you looking forward to for the rest of the season?
I am looking forward to soaking up my last chance to be a part of the team. I am excited for the memories with this team that I will never forget. We have a great and fun group of guys this year, so the entire season will be one to remember.
How has your Senior year gone in terms of athletics?
Overall, pretty good. I had an unfortunate injury at the start of the soccer season, but the [season] started with a big bang. [We] almost beat Berkshire and,[we did] beat Avon, [which are both] top teams in the league. I broke my hand in the Avon game though, which took me out of goal for the rest of the season, unfortunately.
How does the lacrosse team look for this season? What will you be working on most?
Definitely more of a team mentality. The pieces seem to be coming together quicker than they did last year. [Head Coach Mr. Andrew] D’Ambrosio took a different approach by starting at the basics and then [building] into doing complex plays and sets, which made it easier to focus on the little things. Now, we are just piecing all these things together.
What are the greatest strengths the team has going for it right now?
A lot of the team [is made up of] hockey guys, who are very close, so the bond will be strong. We brought in some new, good [players], while we also have experienced returners, which a majority of our defense is made of. Other than that, our strongest points will come from what D’Ambrosio will pound in[to] our heads – like winning more ground balls and fifty-fifty plays.
What games will need the biggest crowds?
Last year, we had a few unfortunate losses because of simple mental mistakes in the last few minutes. [Against] Berkshire, we were ahead in the first quarter but lost by two points in the end. This year, it will be the games that go down to the end that matter the most. The Berkshire game will be big, the under-the-lights game will be a big challenge, but a good game to see. Taft is the last game of the year, and they stole some of our recruits, so we’ll be fighting for revenge and will need a big crowd for that [game].
Do you plan on continuing athletics in college?
Had I not broken my hand, I would have gone for soccer, but at that point it was already late in the recruitment process. But I was never sure I wanted to take on the commitment [of playing in college], so the best decision seemed to focus on other things at that point.
What did breaking your hand half-way through the soccer season teach you?
Breaking my hand created a large challenge for me during the fall of my senior year. I was hoping to play at the next level and hopefully use it to find myself at a strong [college]. When I broke my hand, the coaches I had been in contact with just disappeared. Having to watch the soccer team play without me, knowing I could not help in the way I could before, and then trying to find the motivation to deal with the college process became a daily struggle.
What has been the highlight of your sports career at Hotchkiss?
The highlight of my sports career at Hotchkiss is the game [in which] I broke my hand during this soccer season. We went to play Avon, who was one of the top seeds in the league at the time. We unfortunately had some injuries and did not have our entire squad, but we came with a passion I had never seen from the soccer team in my three years on the team. I broke my hand in the first 15 minutes of the game, but knew I could not let it change how I was going to play. We had to fight to the last minute of the game to pull out the win, but it was the best feeling when the team came together as the final whistle blew. I would go back to that game right now if I could.
If you could give advice to an athlete beginning their Hotchkiss sports career, what would it be?
Coach D’Ambrosio told the lacrosse team that we need to “stop waiting to lose.” This is the best advice I could give to any athlete coming into Hotchkiss. Everyone seems to have this idea of what athletics used to be here and complains about it instead of trying to change it back to what it could be. With this negative look on the athletics, it becomes very hard as an athlete knowing people aren’t confident in what our teams can do. So my advice for athletes and students is to forget about what athletics used to be and be confident in your teams.