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Senior John Levine on Mission to Leave Lasting Legacy at Hun

By Bryan Hopper, 01/28/16, 11:15AM EST


Princeton Commit and Senior Captain John Levine looks to build upon last years success

John Levine '16, Princeton-bound Goalie for Hun Lacrosse

When did you start playing lacrosse?
Lacrosse is like a religion in Ridgewood so I started playing in 3rd grade which was the earliest possible age. In my first game no one wanted to play goalie in the second half - I volunteered and ended up really liking it.

Did you play any other sports growing up?
I played football center, guard, defensive line and a little bit of linebacker. Basically all the positions you didn't need to be fast for. I also played Biddie basketball (Ridgewood rec) basketball league.

If you are doing something, you give it 100%. That goes for everything you do in your life.

Born and Raised in Ridgewood?
Yes. I played Ridgewood Lacrosse Association all the way up until high school. Freshman year I went to Ridgewood High school and then decided to look at boarding schools.

When did you start getting serious about lacrosse?
I think every kid in Ridgewood wants to play college lacrosse. In 6th grade I got cut from the maroon summer team. After that I started working with a goalie coach who is now the assistant at Bergen Catholic (Tom Prior) and started putting in a lot of extra work with him. 

What made you choose to go to Hun?
Going to Hun was a great chance to play for Coach Whitlow and build a great lacrosse tradition, while also being at a school that is great academically. Also, my best friend's cousins in town went to boarding school and it was something I always thought was really neat.

Do you have any siblings?
Yes, I have a younger sister is in 8th grade at GW who plays lacrosse and tennis.

Whether it's school or lacrosse or anything else I want to be as prepared as I possibly can.

While we're on family, we have to give a shoutout to your mom who drove you everywhere!
Absolutely. The first year of Tri-State there was only room on the south team so she would drive me 2 hours each way to Peddie for practice twice a week. That goes to show you how incredible she is. She also drove down for all my games this year, its probably an 80 minute drive from Ridgewood to Princeton... 

What are some core values that your parents instilled in you?
If you are doing something, you give it 100%. That goes for everything you do in your life.

What motivates you?
I'm a perfectionist. And they say that perfect practice makes perfect play, which I am a big believer in. Whether it's school or lacrosse or anything else, I want to be as prepared as I possibly can. That way, when I step onto the field or into the classroom I have the confidence to perform. This fall I had to sit out for two months with stress fractures and now I am aiming to be more prepared than ever.

Favorite Part about Hun Lacrosse?
The brotherhood we have as a team. Because it's a boarding school, we get to spend a lot of time with each other which helps build our team chemistry and camaraderie. Also, each year we get new kids coming in between the post graduates and the transfers and every team is unique so it's awesome to see how it changes from year to year.

Favorite on the field experience?
Most likely the IMG game last year (Hun won in OT). You never really know what type of team you have in the beginning of the season. At one point in the second half we were down 12-7, but we never quit came out with the W. It said a lot about our character as a team and helped us find our identity early in the season. I think we also surprised ourselves a little bit!

Off the field, do you do any community service?
I help coach with Princeton Lacrosse Club – I do a lot of their goalie training.  Also, I help out with Blue Star lacrosse as much as I can.

I try to remind myself that "you are out here to have fun - so enjoy every moment.

This year you are one of four captains - how would you describe your leadership style?
Leading by example is something I firmly believe in. I'm not a big rah-rah guy. Last year during one of our games I gave a halftime speech and everyone laughed at me because I wasn't so great at giving them. As for the other guys, we have a great group of captains who all have different styles of leading which is probably the best situation you can have with four leaders.

What are you looking forward to most this spring?
Building on the success we had last year. It’s great to have a 19-1 season but it’s a whole another thing to do it a second year in a row and leave a lasting legacy at the school.

Quick Hitters

Favorite Music: country music or EDM

Favorite Movie: Miracle

Favorite Food: chicken parmesan

Favorite Subject in School: world history

Toughest Player you’ve gone Against in Practice?
Luke Prybylski or Chris Donovan.

Best Shooter You’ve Played Against?
Dox Aiken (Haverford School - UVA), Rob Kuhn (Hun School - Johns Hopkins)

Biggest influences?
A lot of the older guys that were at Hun… Chris Donovan (Georgetown), Chris Aslanian (Hobart), Brendan Rooney (Yale), Cam Dueck, Jim Janicelli (Cornell), Rob Kuhn (Johns Hopkins), Brendan Black (Villanova) can see them having success at the next level and see how hard they worked to get there.

Best Coaching Advice You Ever Got?
Between Coach Whitlow and Coach Mason at Hun, and Tom Prior (Bergen Catholic Assistant), I have had some really great teachers. When I was younger I worked a lot with Coach Prior and when I got to Hun I started training with Coach Mason. Countless hours with him in the gym before and after school...

I try to tell myself that"It’s only a game" when I need to clear my head. I try to remind myself that "you are out here to have fun - so enjoy every moment."  

It’s one thing to have a great season that’s 19-1 but it’s a whole another thing to do it again and leave a lasting legacy at the school.