Penn’s connections to the state of New York run deep. It’s one of the most heavily represented states in the undergraduate population, thousands of alumni live there, and many current students will end up moving there after graduation. It might be no surprise, then, that Penn women’s lacrosse finds its roots in New York as well.
Between just three counties in the southern part of the state — Rockland, Westchester, and Nassau — there are 14 members of the team who call New York home. Considering that the Red and Blue only carry a 33-person roster, the Empire State clearly holds a strong presence in one of Penn’s strongest athletic programs.
It’s no coincidence that so many of the Quakers come from New York. They are largely a product of the recruiting timeline that coach Karin Corbett has followed over the past several years, looking for future members of the team early in their high school careers as sophomores.
“I think that the New York kids are used to the city,” Corbett said. “They go into New York City, so they’re comfortable with that, and I think their parents are more comfortable because they’re looking at a 15-year-old not a 17, 18, 20-year-old. I think for a lot of kids that were freshmen, sophomores thinking about college, it was more of a natural thing for them to be comfortable at a place like Penn.”
While the timeline for recruiting has recently been pushed back, there are still reasons why New Yorkers might be more likely to end up as a part of Penn women’s lacrosse, reasons that largely stem from greater exposure to the program.
“The teams that go to the playoffs, that last longer, you get to see them play,” Corbett said. “New York has later championships than the South, so they’re still playing a little bit longer.”
This recruiting system has provided many of the players with some familiar faces when they first come to Penn. Junior midfielder Erin Barry, who hails from Manhasset in Nassau County on Long Island, already knew two upperclassmen on the team from her high school when she arrived as a freshman.
“[That] definitely was something I was looking forward to coming in here,” Barry said. “When I was a freshman in high school, they were both on my team, both my captains, so I knew that when I was coming in here, it was going to be something similar.”
The cycle continues once these New Yorkers get to Penn, with younger athletes looking to emulate their success.
“We have my high school Twitter retweeting everything from Penn, so it definitely gets some younger girls’ attention, and I’ve had a couple girls who are in middle school with my brother be like, ‘I watched your sister’s games,’” junior goalie Mikaila Cheeseman said. “It definitely brings a lot of attention to the program, which we love.”
For Cheeseman, who is from Suffern in Rockland County, being noticed on Twitter isn’t the only way her high school life has positively influenced her time at Penn.
“[Sophomore midfielder] Abby Bosco is from my hometown, so we get to travel back and forth with each other,” Cheeseman said. “That’s something I take for granted sometimes, but it’s great having one of my best friends here with me.”
Players like Barry and Cheeseman don’t only motivate younger players to want to come to Penn. Their success drives Corbett to look at Manhasset and Suffern as schools that can provide talented recruits for years to come.
“If we get a kid from a high school who we feel has taken the coaching really well, is tough, you’re more apt to go back to that program,” Corbett said.
And more often than not, those programs tend to be in New York.