Written by Eric Cooperman, W'04
April 30, 2004
How to Balance a Lacrosse Stick With a History Book
Achievement has been deeply ingrained into the psyche of Greg Voigt from the earliest of ages. "My dad was a college lacrosse coach for 27 years, and I guess I had a stick in my hand since the time I could walk," Voigt reflected.
Voigt has taken his lifelong passion of lacrosse from high school to Penn while concurrently maintaining his academic prowess.
The balance between school and sports has always been a challenge, but Voigt takes it in stride. "Balancing sports and academics is always a tough thing for athletes to handle. To be good in both requires huge amounts of time and commitment," Voigt said. Fortunately for the junior standout, supporters of both his scholastic and athletic endeavors have constantly surrounded him.
Two of Voigt's most fervent supporters are his parents, led by his coach father. "My parents are two of my favorite people in the whole world. They have always been there for me and have served as excellent role models. They are two really inspiring people," Voigt explained.
With such an excellent support network behind him, Voigt chose to further both his sports and academic careers at Penn. "I chose Penn because it was a place where I felt I could get a great education while playing lacrosse at the same time. In short, I felt it was a place where I could fulfill my academic and athletic goals."
As a double major in environmental studies and history, Voigt continues to strive for greatness off the playing field, as he is hoping to one day pursue a career in environmental law.
So how does the average student balance such a rigorous course load with an intense lacrosse schedule? The key lies in the fact that Voigt is anything but average. "It's tough, but you find a way to fit everything in. Time management is a huge key to success. I'm always busy with either lacrosse or school, but I like it better that way," said Voigt. And again, Voigt does not have to carry on his struggle alone. "Coach Voelker always stresses the importance of school over sports, which definitely helps. Class always takes precedence."
Juggling such a heavy load has both its similarities and differences with Voigt's high school experiences. "The challenge has always been the same. I have always tried to do my best on the field and in the classroom," Voigt said. "In a sense, it's the same game, just a different setting."
However, Voigt cannot say the same about the level of competition he has faced on the lacrosse field. "In high school, I could let my talent separate me from everyone else, but in college, everyone is big and fast and athletic."
Voigt cites his ability to compete as his major advantage. He has taken his will to win from high school and transformed it into an ability to achieve against stiffer collegiate competition.
Voigt views his contribution to the Penn lacrosse team as similar to his dedication to academic achievement. "I always look to help my team any way that I can so that we can be as successful as possible," Voigt said.
Although another competitive Ivy League season is ahead, Voigt's dedication and focus could help the Quakers reach the NCAA tournament for the first time in a number of years.
Voigt is focused on maintaining his academic and athletic balancing act for now, but will it continue in the future? "Lacrosse has always been something that I have done for fun. Coaching is always a possibility, but right now I'm really interested in pursuing other career options," Voigt said.
If Voigt does enter into the coaching realm, he says it would be to help younger players mature and progress as he did over the years. "Lacrosse has done a lot for me and it's always nice to give back," Voigt explained.
With his sights set on an Ivy League title, environmental science and history, Voigt has a lot to carry in his stick's netting. His focus and commitment to everything he undertakes, however, should point him and his teammates toward the goal.