Lower School Athletes to Watch

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Spring sports are in full swing as lacrosse, crew, tennis, baseball, track, and many others finally hit the fields after a long and relentless winter. Although our teams are captained by juniors and seniors, there are many lower school athletes that hold crucial roles to their teams’ success.


Russell Thorndike ‘21, #22 on the boys varsity lacrosse team, is in the start of his second season on the team.  Even as a second former last spring, Russell was a key player in his first season and is looking to build off his success. He started playing lacrosse in the fifth grade, wearing jerseys for his school and club teams. Currently, he serves as a starting attackman for the Groton team. With a total of 29 goals last season, he is likely to put up many points on the board this season. Russell’s skill and leadership are apparent in his statistics, but even more so among his teammates. Teammate and captain Patrick Ryan ’19 said that “players look up to him even as a freshman,” and that Russell “has lots of potential with hard work.”


On the baseball field, Walker Smith ’21 is the one to watch. Although it is his first year on the team, he is looking to make a big impact. Walker is a strong hitter, but his favorite part of the game is fielding, where he plays at center field. Walker has played baseball for almost his whole life, starting at five years old. He is a reliable outfielder with few mistakes, and his strong foundations in the sport are evident from watching him play. Although the baseball field was covered in snow for the first few weeks of the season, Walker and the varsity baseball team are excited to get out there field and engage in America’s pastime.


Anya Hanitchak ’21 is another athlete to look out for. Anya is rowing on the girls varsity crew team for her first year as an incoming freshman, but has rowed since she was thirteen. During practice and races, Anya enjoys the camaraderie on the crew team and being down by the water in the spring weather. She is rowing on second boat this year, and hopes to make big strides as she kicks off her Groton rowing career. Girls varsity crew only has two home meets this spring, but Anya is among the strongest members of the team, and has potential to become a serious asset to the program.


Last but certainly not least, Grace Mumford ’21 has been making an impact as a new member of the girls varsity lacrosse team. She says she loves the “competitiveness and team spirit” of playing lacrosse and her love for the game is apparent in her skill and tenacity. Grace started playing lacrosse as early as the third grade after watching her older brothers compete at the high school and college levels. In addition to playing for Groton’s team, she also plays club lacrosse outside of school. She plays at both defense and midfield. Even as one of the youngest members of the team, Grace has already proven herself a valuable member of the team in its first games of the season.