Athlete of the Issue: Andrew Popp

Andrew Popp 2-Allie Banks

Andrew Popp batting against Governor’s Academy (A. Banks ’16)

 Andrew Popp ‘14 has been an important part of Groton athletics for almost four years now, and this year his influence has been felt on the fields more than ever. A tri-varsity athlete in soccer, hockey, and baseball, Popp is a captain of both the hockey and baseball teams. Throughout his years in the Groton uniform in all three of his sports, Popp has shown himself to be a leader and a competitor on the field and on the ice.

In baseball, Popp is a fixture in the outfield, patrolling left field for Groton. In addition, he batted leadoff last year in the lineup, and currently hits second, a spot typically reserved for one of the top contact hitters on the team. In hockey, Popp plays defense and anchored the second line last season.

Andrew first started to feel at home on Groton sports teams with his arrival on the JV soccer squad in the fall term of his Third Form year. “The older players on the team took me under their wing and really helped [me] come along with my skills. They were willing to work with me and that really led me to get into sports here.”

Out of all the great games Popp has taken part in throughout his Groton career,  two moments stand out. “The Frozen Fenway game – playing in that place with so much history was incredible – and the baseball team’s comeback against St. Mark’s. I hit a single and stole second in the final inning, and for us to win after being almost done in that game was awesome.”

Popp has taken his important role as a captain to heart and strives to lead the younger players on his teams. His goal is “to show teammates the right way to play the game. How to prepare for the games and be into every play, to be active even when a play isn’t going on.”

Andrew’s teammates have definitely noticed his leadership. Ejaaz Jiu ’15 says, “He is a great captain. He leads by example and has the qualities and personality of someone you want to follow.” Will Corman ’16 adds, “He is a hard worker and a quiet, good leader.”

And members of the teams are not the only ones struck by Popp’s leadership. Bill Riley, the coach of the varsity hockey team, says, “Popp has a great way about him. He is a quiet, reflective leader, but is vocal when there is need. He has been steady and consistent these past few years. Andrew is willing to play any position, and that’s really helped the team.”

Mr. Riley went on to say that Popp was a big reason for the team’s success this season. The hockey team advanced to the playoffs and won a playoff game for the first time in its history, making the team one of the most successful hockey teams in Groton School history.

Popp says that the one thing he’s taken away from his Groton School career is “to focus on the little things, to be mentally and physically ready for each game, that you have to take extra reps outside of practice in order to really improve.”

After soccer and hockey seasons, Popp is in the midst of his last season, playing baseball. He says, “It’s pretty surreal. I always heard from seniors how fast the year goes by, but I never really believed it. Now that I’m here, I have to appreciate the experience and enjoy this last term.”

The baseball team enters this season with high expectations, coming off of a very successful season last year. “I think we can have another good year; we have a nice core group,” he says.  With Popp as a leader on the team, it is in good hands.

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