Athlete of the Issue: Chris Higginson

Chris Higginson ’14 has had a remarkable athletic career during his time at Groton, boasting numerous athletic achievements. He is most notably the starting center attacking mid and a captain for boys’ varsity soccer. Chris has played on the team every year since coming to Groton in fourth form and has been a critical part to the team’s success throughout the years. While he enjoys keeping things fun and laid-back, being a captain has forced him to adjust his demeanor on the team. “In past years, I would joke around a bit more in practice. As a captain, I need to lead by example for the younger players,” he noted.

Though Chris has changed his approach because of his leadership role, he still makes sure that the players don’t take themselves too seriously. In fact, he believes that changing to that mindset was a catalyst for the remarkable success of last year’s team. After a dismal 0-6 start, the 2012 squad ripped off nine straight wins to close out the season. According to Chris, “We’d been training hard at the beginning of last season but weren’t getting the results that we wanted. Once we started having more fun during practice, we started winning, and they built off of each other as the season progressed.” Though he takes his position as a captain seriously, he also makes an effort to keep things light-hearted as well.

Chris’ play has inspired coaches and players alike. Ted Goodrich, one of the coaches for the boys, said that Chris “is a D-1-caliber  player” and that “he is a unique weapon because he is equally dominant with both feet—a skillset that few possess.” Teammate Tyler Sar ’15 stated that “[Chris] is very encouraging and never puts the team down.” Jared Belsky ’15 also praised Chris’ leadership skills. “He plays the game with passion, and his leadership is a great asset for the team.”

In addition to soccer, Chris also runs track & field, specifically the 400m, 200m, and 4x400m relays. While he considers soccer his primary sport, he has also greatly enjoyed running track. One of his favorite sports moments at Groton was when he beat Ross Coneybeer ’14 in the long jump and threw the javelin farther than he did during a practice. “Many people last year, including myself, were new to the team, and running track was a great way of getting to know people,” Chris said. Anwar Mapp ’16 sees the similarities between Chris’ attitudes in soccer and track. “He is able to keep things light-hearted and makes things fun during practice,” he remarked.

When he is not out on the soccer pitch or running track, Chris is heavily involved in the Arthropod Club, which, according to him, is “the biggest and most influential club on campus.” With a grand total of one meeting since its inception, the club is preparing for its first meeting of the year. Last year, the club had seventy members, and the number has increased to eighty-five this year.  “This [the size] is a tremendous step forward for the club. We have plenty of groundbreaking ideas, and the school needs to be ready,” he said.

Evidently, the closure of Chris’ athletic career at Groton is bittersweet for him. When asked about how he felt about playing in his final seasons at Groton, Chris said that he felt a little nostalgic. “I’ve played on the soccer team ever year I’ve been here, and it was sad to have played our final home game. Also, we’ve beaten St. Mark’s for the past two years, and I certainly want to beat them again and wouldn’t want to lose against them for once.”

Though he cannot compare anything with the miracle soccer season that was last year, this season has certainly been memorable for Chris, with “a great group of new players this year” ready to carry the team forward. As evident by his extraordinary athletic talent and strong leadership, Chris’ contributions will be sorely missed in the years to come.

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