It probably is a little premature, but the parents of Gilman seniors James McIntyre, Corey Popham, Lorne Smith and Ben Wilson may want to start setting up a car pool schedule for next lacrosse season.
McIntyre, Popham and Wilson already have signed national letters of intent to attend Princeton and Smith expects to receive his admittance letter from the Ivy League school "any day now."
If all goes as planned, Princeton coach Bill Tierney will have four new Gilman alumni on the Tigers' 1996 roster.
"There's a long tradition of Gilman-to-Princeton student-athletes, especially in lacrosse and that's because of the successful nature of both programs," said Tierney, who guided Princeton to a national championship last season. "Now, with [Gilman coach] John Tucker getting the program ultra-successful, we want their players even more."
Michael Allan, an All-Metro attackman who helped lead Gilman to a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference Championship last season, is one of two former Greyhounds on Princeton's current roster. The other is senior defenseman Josh Miller, a 1991 graduate of Gilman.
Tucker, who has built Gilman into a juggernaut in his eight seasons at the helm, admires Tierney for getting Princeton's lacrosse program to where it is and he hopes Gilman can continue to be the school's unofficial feeder program.
"I respect his style of coaching and I don't hesitate to recommend players to him," said Tucker. "We're proud of the growth of our program here at Gilman, but I'm more impressed by the individuals who make it up. They're not only tremendous athletes, but excellent students and for four of them to be admitted to a school like Princeton is quite an achievement."
While he admits that their presence should help ease the transition from high school to college, Popham, a four-year starter in goal for Gilman, insists that his decision to attend Princeton had nothing to do with the fact that three of his teammates were considering the same institution.
"It will be nice having someone I know to complain about fall practices with but I didn't want to go there because they were JTC going," said Popham, an Annapolis native and a four-sport athlete who has made the 45-minute commute to the Roland Avenue school for four years.
"I had about five schools in mind, but Coach Tierney impressed me the most and I thought the education I would get at Princeton would be something I couldn't pass up."
Smith, another four-year starter for the Greyhounds, has been playing on the same team with McIntyre and Wilson since the sixth grade and he looks forward to having them as teammates for four more years.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound attackman visited Duke, Georgetown, North Carolina and Loyola and was reluctant at first to even make the trip to the New Jersey campus, but he once he got there he was immediately sold on the place.
"I was getting sick of the trips but I went there and spent one night and liked the place and the people. It made me rethink the whole thing," said Smith, who has considered studying marine biology.
"With their academic reputation, it's hard to pass up the opportunity. The academics are what drove me to Princeton. Lacrosse can only take you so far, but a Princeton education is something that can help take me places in the future."