By Wendell Maxey, King Sports Information and Social Media Liaison
This past Spring when the Coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 lacrosse season at King School, Sean Mullen (‘21) used his time wisely to learn from the setback and experience as a student-athlete. Not only did Sean excel through remote learning courses, but he also implemented a rigorous training schedule that provided him the flexibility and opportunity to get better and think bigger.
For the lefty attackman and Varsity starter since his sophomore year, the hard work continues to pay off. Along with getting back on the field and playing with Express North this summer, the Stamford native also announced his commitment to the admissions process at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York to play lacrosse.
“Back in April, I designed a thorough workout plan consisting of lifting, shooting, and conditioning. I feel that this strategy was useful because it brought the same disciplined structure I am used to at school back into my day,” explained Sean, who played an integral role in the Vikings advancing to the NEPSAC McCoy Cup semifinals in 2019.
“As soon as I stepped back on the field in June, I noticed that all the work I had put in the spring had been incredibly useful. My main focus for the rest of the summer is to prepare myself for the college level.”
Taking a break from training and working out, Sean took time to look back on closing out the 2019-20 school year, talk about his decision to choose to play lacrosse at RPI, provide some valuable advice for fellow student-athletes striving to play in college, and goals for his upcoming Senior year at King...
Before talking about your training and playing lacrosse this summer with Express North, what did you learn the most about juggling remote learning at home and uniting as a lacrosse team at King this past spring?
For me, the transition to online learning was very smooth. It truly felt like my classes picked up right from where we left off on campus, which is a testament to King’s level of organization and proactivity. I felt that working from home allowed me to really focus and get on top of all my work. I know for many of my classmates, the work from home period was less than optimal. However, I believe that it is times like this spring that define our school's character. Being able to persevere through an unprecedented pandemic in a rigorous school environment with such little time is truly an amazing feat. On the lacrosse side, our team obviously had to deal with losing our season, which for any athlete is heartbreaking. But, thanks to coordination from field coaches, strength coaches, and athletic trainers, we were able to have frequent competitive, at home workouts. In addition to the workouts, we would meet weekly as a team to check in and make the best with what we had.
What is your approach to summer when it comes to training and competing with Express North?
Express has been on top of everything in regards to play this summer and staying safe. While tournaments are still a little up in the air, Express directors have worked hard to provide non-contact practices and clinics. The reason I joined Express was to play with the best and push myself to a new level as a player. So, my aim is to not only continue pushing myself, but also to prepare myself for the college level.
How do you feel like you are growing as a player? What is your focus on this Summer as you look ahead to next season?
The quarantine was a great time for me to focus on my game. I am incredibly lucky to have a goal and a weight room to use at my disposal. Back in April, I designed a thorough workout plan consisting of lifting, shooting, and conditioning. I feel that this strategy was useful because it brought the same disciplined structure I am used to at school back into my day. As soon as I stepped back on the field in June, I noticed that all the work I had put in the spring had been incredibly useful. My main focus for the rest of the summer, as I previously mentioned, is to prepare myself for the college level with both Express and my trainer, Alex Joseph.
You recently shared the news that your commitment to the admissions process at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to play lacrosse. What was that decision like for you and what made RPI stand out compared to some of the other programs you considered?
There were three main components that made RPI an easy decision for me. The first was RPI’s academic style and programs. RPI is very much a technical education, versus the liberal arts style which I had previously looked at. In addition, RPI was the only school I looked at that had its own undergraduate business school, fitting my interests of business and finance. Within the business school, there are so many great tracks and degrees, all of which pertain to my academic focus. The second piece for me was the lacrosse program. Coach Scott Hackett-Dalgliesh has built a great team culture revolving around the same core values I believe in as a player: Relentless Effort, Dogged Passion, and Competitive Excellence. Out of all the programs I visited and looked at, RPI stood out as the best fit for me both as a player and a teammate, with the strongest vision for the future. The final piece was the overall feel of the school. RPI has incredible, state of the art academic and athletic facilities that stood out to me from the very first time I stepped on campus. In addition, the feedback I got from several current players was great and made RPI a no brainer. A special thanks to my family, King coaches, Express coaches, trainers, teammates, and friends for helping me get to this point. Also, a special thank you to Coach Dalgliesh at RPI for the opportunity.
For other student-athletes going through this process, what words of advice or recommendations can you share?
Hard Work Pays Off - Always go above and beyond what is expected of you no matter the circumstances: practice, game, showcase, etc. If that means spending extra time working on your own, paying close attention to making yourself better, you will be amazed at the results you will see.
Academics - Make sure to always better yourself not just on the field, but also in the classroom. Most college athletes do not play professional sports, so preparing yourself for academic excellence in college not only makes your image engaging to colleges, but also sets yourself up for success.
Trust The Process - The recruiting process is often long and stressful. Do not be discouraged if you do not get the best look from your dream school the first time. Be sure to stay in contact with your list of schools and focus on your own improvement rather than expecting success. Ultimately, finding the school that is the best all around fit for you is most important.
Value Connections With An Open Mind - The number of connections I have made through the past few years between college coaches, club coaches, high school coaches, teammates, opponents, trainers, college players, etc. is enormous. Maintaining good relationships with whomever you meet in the process is important because you never know where you might see those same people later in your life. In addition, be open to hearing about different schools from other people. You may come across a school that is new to you but has incredible programs of your interests.
Looking ahead to your Senior season at King, what are some goals you have for yourself either on the lacrosse field or in the classroom?
In the classroom, I plan to push myself with a number of challenging courses that will prepare me the best for college. I would like to graduate with King Scholars, completing a very successful 4 years at King. I am also taking on two club leadership roles that I look forward to. On the field, I, along with my teammates, are hoping that we can have a fall soccer season. I have loved my time on the King Varsity Soccer team these past few years and I would hate to miss out on my senior season. As far as the spring goes, I am optimistic that we will have a successful lacrosse season. As a co-captain, I hope to help lead our team to a FAA championship. This is a goal I see as very possible given the young and hardworking nature of our team. We have a number of players that are very capable of stepping up and playing large roles next year. I could not be more excited for my senior year at King!