Griffin (2016 - UVA) and Miles (2018-UPenn) Anchor Lawrenceville's Defense This Year, Leading them to a Prep A State Championship!
Quietly competitive and humble are the two thoughts that came to mind last week when I got the chance to talk to Blue Star players Miles (2018) and Griffin Thompson (2016). Both goaltenders for the Lawrenceville School, they have been anchors for the Big Red this season on defense. Griffin, a senior and the current starter, is committed to play for the University of Virginia while his younger brother Miles is a sophomore and committed to the University of Pennsylvania. Read further to understand what makes these Blue Star players excellent role models and great goaltenders!
When did you start playing lacrosse?
GRIFFIN: As the oldest, I was the pioneer for the goalie position in the family. I started playing lacrosse in kindergarten and was playing midfield at the time. It was around this time that I was playing three sports in the spring: ice hockey, soccer and lacrosse. I was often late to lacrosse practice because I was rushing from hockey or soccer practice beforehand. In third grade, coming right from soccer practice, my lacrosse coach put me in goal. I actually liked it because I was exhausted from soccer and still had my shin guards on! Since then I have always played goalie.
MILES: I started playing lacrosse when I was in third grade with the local team, Princeton Lacrosse Club (PLC). I wasn’t really that into it until the next year when Griffin started playing competitive summer ball. That was cool to see as a young kid and made me want to play more lacrosse.
What other sports did you play?
GRIFFIN: I think I was a little more athletic than Miles (chuckles). Growing up I played a ton of travel and rec sports.
MILES: I played everything I could possibly play; little league baseball, soccer, ice hockey, golf, tennis etc. Right now I still play JV Hockey for Lawrenceville.
When did the college lacrosse switch get flipped?
Griffin: Right after my first year of summer ball in 5th grade I realized that I really wanted to focus on lacrosse and I would do anything to put myself in a position to play college lacrosse. That spring I went down to the final four and watched UVA win the national championship and said to myself, “Wow this is a school I want to go to.”
Miles: Same as my brother, after my summer of 6th grade ball I wanted to play in college. We went down the final four that year and I loved watching those guys play. Seventh and eighth grade is when I started getting more serious about my training.
Miles (left), their Mother Sarah, and Griffin (right) after their Prep State Championship win over Hun
Do you have any other siblings?
We have a sister, Nina, who is a 6th grader at PDS, who also plays lacrosse (not goalie!). Our mom is a teacher there as well.
While we're on family, we have to give a shout-out to your Mom and Dad who drove you everywhere!
Absolutely. Thank you Mom for 8 summers of straight driving! We obviously wouldn’t have been able to do it without her sacrificing all her time year after year.
The combination of always looking forward and not caring about the immediate past are traits that make a great goalie. They support us in that.
Are there any guys at Lawrenceville who you looked up to?
G: There were two prefects I had, Jon Salemi and Alistair Berven. Both of those guys “showed me the ropes” and taught me what it means to be a student-athlete at Lawrenceville. Whether it was talking about a lacrosse game or just school in general, those guys were always there to hang out with me and talk. They were real mentors.
M: It’s obviously my brother. He has shown me the ropes, he’s a great role model and he pushes me as a lacrosse goalie.
Has there been a defining moment in your Lawrenceville lacrosse career?
G: My defining moment came during my freshman year. I had been splitting time with a senior as we entered the INTER-AC Championships in Philly. In the quarterfinals of the tournament we played Penn Charter under the lights. It was my first big game with a lot at stake and we wound up winning and I will never forget the feeling I had after that game.
M: Right before my spring break freshman year I broke my right thumb (which is a big problem for a goalie). I went on the spring break trip with a cast and didn’t play very well. Griffin was out with a serious hip injury so our Coach put an attackman (who had previously played some goalie) in net. When I got the cast off I got the nod to start in the Hun game and I made some big saves. Now that Griff is a senior and healthy I am more than happy to be backing him up.
Our relationship has gotten to the point where we both know what’s going on with each other even if we don’t say it. We can tell from each other’s mannerisms and body language. We push each other in practice naturally; when one of us makes a big save it gets the other amped up to make the next big save.
How do you guys push each other?
G: I think I can speak for both of us here. We have a very close relationship. When we moved into our house in Princeton 14 years ago both Miles and I began sharing a room and since then we have lived together. Our relationship has gotten to the point where we both know what’s going on with each other even if we don’t say it. We can tell from each other’s mannerisms and body language. We push each other in practice naturally; when one of us makes a big save it gets the other amped up to make the next big save.
M: In practice we do a continuous 3 vs. 2 drill where Griffin and I are playing in net against each other. Like he said, one big save will lead to another big save by the other, only to be upped by yet another big save!
Miles in net versus the Hill School this year
Griffin Celebrates after Lawrenceville's Prep A State Championship Win
Core values your parents instilled in you?
They both bring a very competitive attitude towards everything they do – it’s not a vocal parent that’s screaming but rather a very quiet competitiveness that they exhibit. They both are always looking forward to the next game, the next quarter and they don’t dwell on anything for too long.
For example, when we have a bad game we will come home to a warm dinner on the table and neither Mom nor Dad will ask too much about the game. They don’t ask whether or not you played well, they just want us to recover naturally, over dinner, talking about our day with our sister. Being a family. If the game comes up in discussion, they will immediately jump to the next game or the next task, always reminding us that obstacles can be overcome. Often times, after a bad game my dad will take me or my brother out for ice cream and we will just chill on a park bench near Palmer Square. Again, it’s an example of this quiet competitiveness. The combination of always looking forward and not caring about the immediate past are traits that make a great goalie. They support us in that. Some of the best goalies are laid back guys who don’t dwell too much on the past.
Do you take part in any community service?
G: In 8th grade I worked with the Trenton Bridge Program which was really cool, they work with young kids to teach lacrosse in Trenton and the surrounding communities. I also did Lawrenceville School Camp, a sleep away camp for underprivileged boys and girls, two summers in a row. In addition during my sophomore summer I went down to Charlottesville, VA and volunteered at Lacrosse the Nations.
M: Like my brother, I am going to be a counselor at the Lawrenceville School Camp this summer for two weeks. The camp is aimed at giving underprivileged kids a summer experience they wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, last summer I did a similar type of camp near Rider University, at Home Front.
You need to stay focused on being the best person you can be.
Outside of lacrosse, what do you enjoy spending your free time on?
M: We are pretty busy with school and everything else but I actually like to cook when I have the time.
G: In fifth and sixth grade Miles would watch the cooking channel right before he went to bed and then wake up early and try to make the dishes he saw the night before! It was pretty amazing for a kid that young to be doing that.
I like to spend time with my family in an unstructured way. I especially like to go to the farm where my mother grew up and work on projects for my grandmother. It keeps everything in perspective.
Do you have any words of advice for kids going through the recruiting process now?
G: Stay humble throughout the whole thing. Don’t let yourself think that you are all set for life after you find a school because you’re going to slip if you think that way. You’re going to let yourself down if you commit and coast! Work hard every day. You are being recruited based on your potential to play in college.
M: The biggest piece of advice I have is to take your time. It’s not a race to be committed first and you need to make sure you love the school and love your decision. Also, you need to stay focused on being the best person you can be, don’t get lost in all the media and hype.
Based out of Basking Ridge, Mt. Laurel & Princeton, New Jersey, Blue Star Lacrosse is a leader in the lacrosse industry focused on developing lacrosse players from youth through high school. We run year round lacrosse training with camps, clinics, box lacrosse and travel all-star teams. Our All-Star teams are among the most competitive in the country. What separates us is our level of dedication, communication and our ability as teachers of the game that we love!