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How Lake Forest's Jack Traynor picked Dartmouth

Feb 06, 2015   |   by Jon Kerr   |   Chicago Tribune

Jack Traynor
Lake Forest senior Jack Traynor plans to continue his playing career at Dartmouth next season. (Brian O'Mahoney, Pioneer Press)

The regular signing period for football, soccer and men's water polo is today, with several area athletes committing to their colleges of choice.

That group included Lake Forest linebacker Jack Traynor, who will continue his football career at Dartmouth. A first-team Pioneer Press All-Area Football selection this season, Traynor set the Illinois high school record for career solo tackles with 378.

Because Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships, Traynor did not sign an official National Letter of Intent today. But he did write a first-person essay for Pioneer Press detailing his decision to attend Dartmouth. Here are his words (edited by Pioneer Press freelancer Jon Kerr):

For any high school senior, deciding where they will spend their undergraduate college career is almost certainly the biggest decision they will make. Much time is spent researching and thinking about what collegiate atmosphere provides the best environment for them to thrive and succeed. Obviously, there are many factors that play into that decision, making it an incredibly tough one. However, for those aspiring to continue their athletic careers at the next level, there are even more variables to juggle. Because this daunting decision was made even more complicated, I feel lucky to have found such a perfect fit for me at Dartmouth.

Throughout the recruiting process, I maintained the mindset that I am making a 40-year choice, not a 4-year one ... And while I listened to people and respected what they had to say, I've always been someone who makes up his own mind. I was excited to see the college firsthand on an official visit.

On Jan. 16, I stepped off the plane in Boston. Dartmouth is located in Hanover, New Hampshire, a two-hour drive northwest of Boston. As soon as I arrived on campus with my dad, Carl, I got the distinct impression that Dartmouth valued its football program as well as its players. ...

... Academically, I had a pretty good idea of what Dartmouth had to offer. I'm pretty sure I want to study engineering, and I was already intrigued by the opportunities Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering provided. This intrigue transformed into pure excitement on Saturday morning of the visit. After a brief meeting with other recruits to describe all of the schools at Dartmouth, I had a one-on-one tour of Thayer with an engineering professor. To be able to visualize myself learning in such advanced facilities and hear firsthand the philosophy of Dartmouth's engineering program convinced me my education would be one that would serve my future well.

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