The decision to transfer is one littered with uncertainty, but for two members of Penn men’s lacrosse, their expectations have been far exceeded.
A pair of juniors, Tim Sanford and Kyle Gallagher, from Denver and Hofstra, respectively, are nothing short of ecstatic about their decisions to come join the Quakers.
Sanford transferred to Penn for his sophomore season for a variety of reasons.
“I had a great experience at Denver — the program was very high-caliber and so were the coaches," Sanford said. "But I was kind of struggling with and battling injuries my freshman year there, which prompted me to start looking into other programs that provided better academic opportunities in the case that my injuries persisted.”
“I ended up landing at Penn, where the academic opportunities are obviously unmatched. One of the most enticing draws of Penn, though, was the proximity to home. I’m from New Jersey, and it has been huge for me being back on the East Coast.”
For Sanford, the transition has been ideal both socially and academically.
“Socially, it has been different in many ways," he said. "Penn is much more diverse than Denver, which has meant that I’ve had a lot more social and academic opportunities that I might’ve not had otherwise. I felt as if I was able to integrate into the group of guys easily and felt like a had a place here from the start."
Gallagher, though, is only just beginning to get settled in. He spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Hofstra and was a crucial competitor for the Pride. His reasons for transferring were a bit more lacrosse-centric than Sanford’s.
“I felt that here at Penn, I had the potential to step into more of a leadership role than I would have had at Hofstra," Gallagher said. "I know that I can make an impact here. As long as I can get the ball, I will be able to contribute to the success that I believe we’re going to have this season."
Gallagher found that Penn provided a steep learning curve academically, but he has been able to adapt to the change.
“Academically, it is without a doubt more rigorous," he said. "The workload itself is a lot more than what I was used to — not saying that I was able to slack off, but I did have much more free time. But I am not afraid of doing more work. My goal is to graduate with one of the best undergraduate degrees in the country, as well as making a tangible impact on the field along the way.”
Despite the challenges of moving to a completely new school, Gallagher feels that the social transition went as he expected.
“Obviously, transferring anywhere means you are moving into a new group of guys," he said. "Everyone is different, and you aren’t familiar with how these new guys work. The first couple weeks are always weird, and I didn’t expect to immediately integrate into a group who is so tight-knit. But I met a couple of the guys this past summer, got a great vibe from them, and knew that I could see myself being fully integrated quickly. I feel settled in after a semester here, and the guys on the team are amazing.”
On the field, Sanford and Gallagher both have the same goals in mind: winning the Ivy League Championship and advancing deep into the NCAA Tournament.
“Honestly, I think we can go as far as anyone else. This team has as much potential as any other top program in the nation, and as long as each one of us can play our role in that, we have a great chance of doing what we want this season,” Gallagher said.
Sanford’s vision corresponded to that of his teammate.
“We have a very strong team, and as of right now I don’t see any major weaknesses," he said. "This season has promise, and I truly believe sky is the limit for us. Our depth and talent is exciting.”
The new members of the Red and Blue clearly have high expectations for their program this spring, and the next step to reaching their goals will come on Saturday, as the Quakers take on No. 5 Duke in Durham, N.C.