Sam Gravitte is no stranger to starring roles.
A member of an acting family, he has been at home on stage since he was a youngster and will be playing the lead role in the Ridgefield High School production of “The Pajama Game.”
And there’s there lacrosse.
The 6-foot-2 longstick midfielder’s size, speed, athleticism and footwork made him a target recruit of some of the nation’s top programs, with recruiting interest soaring this summer after strong performances at several showcase tournaments, including the Battle of the Hotbeds, in which he earned a spot in the all-star game.
For Gravitte, decision day came yesterday, as first reported on Twitter.com/joe_lombardi.
“I was looking at a bunch of Ivy (League) schools like Yale, Brown and Princeton,” Gravitte said. “They’re all great programs and when I visited the guys there, they were terrific. But I just got a singular impression when I went to Princeton. I knew it was the one for me.”
As you’ll soon see, Gravitte’s rise in lacrosse – and his interests off the field – make for one of the more interesting and unique stories for a major D-I lax recruit.
What were the main factors in your decision?
Academics, the level of lacrosse and the team. When I visited Princeton, all the elements came together for me.
Obviously, it’s one of the most prestigious schools in the country and I’m incredibly lucky to be a part of it.
I also want to be part of a winning program, and with six national championships in the past two decades, Princeton is just that.
When I met with Coach (Chris) Bates, it was terrific. He’s a guy that wants to win and is going to do some great things in the future, and that’s the kind of guy I want coaching me.
The last thing was the exceptional guys at Princeton. These guys are some of the best in the country, on and off the field, and it’s an honor to be considered worthy of that.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I was looking at a bunch of Ivy (League) schools like Yale, Brown and Princeton. They’re all great programs and when I visited the guys there, they were terrific. But I just got a singular impression when I went to Princeton. I knew it was the one for me.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
I think I can stay with anyone in the league. I’m the kind of guy that is always going to push himself to be better than I was yesterday and give 110 percent.
I have good feet and I love to take the ball on offense when I can.
As a middie-turned-LSM, I have good stick skills for a defenseman. I’m a team-first kind of guy and I’ll always do whatever I can to help my team have success.
How has playing football helped you develop as a lacrosse player?
Playing football has definitely been a huge part of my growth as a lacrosse player. As a running back and cornerback, I get to incorporate everything I do without the stick on the football field.
Being a running back has taught me a few things, and as an LSM, I am not afraid to push the ball and dodge, which is great because most guys will try and jump a defenseman with the ball, and they don’t expect them to pull out a juke or two.
What were some of the highlights of playing travel lacrosse the last few years and were were some of the big showcase events you competed at?
Playing summer ball completely changed my game and helped me grow tremendously. Obviously it’s become such a big factor in the recruiting process now, and it was huge in getting me in contact with the schools I talked to.
I became a defenseman in March, and had a solid spring, but the summer was where it all came out. I played with a great group of guys and I think we won three of four tournaments we went to, including the Massachusetts Summer Classic, Yale Bulldog Tourney and the Charger Tourney.
Hot Beds, our last tournament of the year, was terrific, and I was named an all-star. Playing in the all-star game with some of the best recruits in front of college coaches lining the sideline was an awesome experience, and some of the fastest lacrosse I’ve played.
What are your thoughts on Ridgefield’s state-title season in 2011 and what are the team’s goals for 2012?
Last year was great. The strength of our team was that we kept getting better the entire year. We’re incredibly lucky to have a coach like Roy Colsey, one of the best players to every step on the lacrosse field, and he’s an awesome mentor and advocate.
This year we only have two goals, as we will for the rest of the time Coach Colsey is here: win our division and win states. We have a bunch of returning guys and are looking forward to a great season.
How did your interest in singing and acting come about?
If there’s one place I love as much as the lacrosse or football field, it’s the stage.
I’ve grown up in an incredibly talented family, with a Tony Award winning mom (Debbie Gravitte, who won the 1989 Tony for Best Featured Actress in Jerome Robbins’ “Broadway”) and a dad (Beau) who’s done everything from TV to movies to Broadway.
I’ve been lucky enough to sing in concerts with my mom with great names like Marvin Hamlisch and Don Pippin.
What performances are you most proud of, and do you plan on pursuing acting at Princeton?
I do the school plays every year, and this year I’m starring as Sid Sorokin in “The Pajama Game.”
Much to my parents’ chagrin, I want to pursue a career in film and theatre, too.
Princeton has a theatre certificate program, so I plan on being a Music major and get the certificate in theatre. It’s definitely an interesting combo to be an athlete and actor, but I love it and it’s all part of who I am.
For more info on Sam, check out his player profile by clicking here.
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* For a look at how schedules for teams from throughout the region for the 2012 season are shaping up, be sure to check out the “Schedules galore” thread.