By Gianna Addario
---- — Some athletes have natural ability bestowed onto them; others have to work a little harder at their craft.
Raymond Horgan has always been the type of athlete who always wanted to better himself. He realized at a young age that lacrosse would become a big part of his life, and the only way to do that was to immerse himself in one of the best high school programs in the country, Deerfield Academy.
In the eighth grade, he made the decision to attend the boarding school nearly two hours away from his home in Marblehead. It was at Deerfield where Horgan, a long-pole defender, thrived both academically and athletically, helping the Big Green to a 15-1 record as a senior this past spring.
Much like his decision regarding high school, he knew he wanted to take his lacrosse skills to the next level and committed to West Point during the winter of his junior year. Now a freshman in his first semester at the Academy, Horgan has just returned from Cadet Basic Training to start classes and preseason for lacrosse. Army already has a strong lacrosse program, and Horgan is looking to add to the team’s success.
The Army Black Knights are in the Patriot League with fellow Division 1 schools such as Colgate, Holy Cross and Boston University. Last year they finished 8-6 under head coach Joe Alberici. In 94 seasons, the Black Knights have amassed 725 victories, trailing only Johns Hopkins, Syracuse and Navy in all-time wins at the Division 1 level.
The lacrosse season doesn’t officially begin until February, but the team has already started preseason practices.
“We haven’t been on the field as a team yet,” said Horgan. “Instead, we’ve been lifting weights and conditioning. Captains practices will be starting up in the upcoming weeks.”
Horgan began a six-week Beast Barracks or basic training in early July. Beat Barracks is the initial military training program that each cadet (athlete or or not) goes through at the Academy. The program involved training in land navigation, hand grenades, First Aid, mountaineering and repelling and other things regarding military equipment.
“Beast was rigorous and challenging, both mentally and physically,” Horgan noted. “However, the excellent military training that I received was invaluable and unmatched.”
Though students don’t declare majors at West Point until the fall of their sophomore year, Horgan has a packed schedule this semester taking seven classes, along with daily duties as a cadet.
“The biggest adjustment for me so far has been learning how to manage my time effectively and maximizing efficiency in my daily endeavors,” said Horgan, who also made college visits to Princeton and Harvard.
“West Point overwhelms cadets with many different tasks and duties that must get accomplished in a limited amount of time. As a result, learning how to adjust to the West Point culture has been my biggest challenge.”