Playing With the Big Kids



At Poly, all varsity sports are available to both high school students and eighth-graders. For an eighth-grader to play on a varsity team, they must show exceptional talent and passion for their sport along with a demonstration of physical capability.

This fall, I played on the Varsity Girls’ Tennis team. Personally, playing on the team was incredibly impactful and one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. The opportunity to play amongst other tennis players who put me to the test and taught me so much is unmatched. The athletic learning experience coupled with the ability to bond with high schoolers was fantastic.

Bo Casey, an eighth-grader who played for Girls’ Varsity Soccer (GVS) this fall, said, “[playing on varsity soccer] was the most amazing experience.” GVS made it all the way to the NYSAIS semi-finals, losing a close match to Packer 2-0. Casey also said, “Considering I am one of the youngest on the team, I have never felt more welcomed by the players and coaches. Playing against older players has helped me develop so much as a player physically and mentally. I am so happy to have played this year on GVS.”

Another GVS player, eighth-grader Anna Brandmeyer, said, “I love playing on a team with high schoolers because it’s so fun to be part of a community with people I don’t usually hang out with.” Casey and Brandmeyer were two of four eighth-graders on the team this fall.

Nicole Bogdanos, now an eleventh-grader, was the only middle schooler on GVS in 2018. She said, “I was able to experience the
incredible energy and environment created by the team at such a young and impressionable age. Playing with girls four years older helped shape me, tactically and mentally, to become the player I am today. I will always be grateful to have had that experience,” she said.

In allowing eighth-graders to play varsity sports, Poly demonstrates yet another way younger students’ shape their minds, bodies,
and characters at school. Those who tackle the task of reaching varsity level expectations at such a young age demonstrate much of what Poly stands for. I encourage middle schoolers passionate about a sport and willing to put in the work it takes to be a varsity athlete to try for this empowering experience.