BLS “Playing Sports in College” Panel


Students gather online to talk about college sports. (Source: Lauren Choy (II))

On January 13, the sixth annual “Playing Sports in College” presentation was hosted over Zoom. The event was open to current Boston Latin School student-athletes and featured four successful  BLS athletes that have taken their skills beyond high school, both at the collegiate and professional level.

Among the panelists was Packy Naughton (‘14), who played baseball at BLS. In the panel, Naughton explains that BLS was challenging for him academically, but throughout his time at the school, he began to realize that he had a possible future in baseball. His hard work and dedication led Virginia Tech to recruit him. Naughton continued onto the major leagues, where he currently pitches for the Los Angeles Angels. He emphasizes that although he missed out on some things in high school for baseball, the hard work only made him more successful.

Aside from Naughton, the other panelists consisted of hockey player Frank Linso (‘19), who was a hockey player at BLS and currently plays hockey for the United States Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut, as well as lacrosse player Quinlan O’Brien (‘21), who is currently on the Johns Hopkins University women’s lacrosse team. The fourth and final panelist was Holly Gillis (‘21), who now plays women’s basketball at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

After the Zoom meeting, Gillis further explained her personal recruitment process and her experiences at RIT. She elaborates, “The athletic community is pretty tightly knit because we all go to each other’s games and support each other.” Gillis never had trouble choosing between academics and basketball, as both her BLS and RIT head coaches always made it clear that academics come first.

BLS also played a pivotal role in helping Gillis manage her time between athletics and academics. “BLS taught a lot of time management skills,” she says, “[because] it’s hard and you have to stay on top of your schoolwork.” Although Gillis played basketball at BLS, other opportunities came from Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teams, where she played for a Newton-based team called Basketball to the Limit. The team’s head coach had several college connections and was able to find more opportunities for Gillis at the collegiate level. Regardless of this time with her AAU team, Gillis still described her experiences with BLS basketball as “great, [because] you get to be part of that family and you get to play more.”

Gillis also emphasizes the difficulty of managing time at the collegiate level and the responsibilities that come with being a student-athlete. She states, “We had 6:00 A.M. practices and lifts all of last semester. I had to wake up at 4:00 A.M. and I was falling behind in school.” Despite this, Gillis stresses the importance of having a strong support group. She concludes, “My teammates helped me get back on track. Then it all works out.”