It only took until October 1st for all of the nation’s Top 25 sophomores to lock down a decision.
For Aidan Olmstead, the No. 24 ranked player in the class of 2017 and a standout for Rochester-based club program SweetLax, that decision was to become a Loyola Greyhound. An outstanding student who also enjoyed a tremendous spring in helping Corning Unified to their first ever sectional title, the heavily recruited lefty also visited Cornell, Harvard, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Yale.His club coach, Kevin Martin, spoke very highly of Olmstead shortly after he committed to the 2012 national champions, praising his pupil’s stick skills and ability to see the field impeccably from his position at X.
“Aidan has some of the best vision that I’ve ever seen and every college coach that I spoke to during the recruitment process said the same thing,” Martin said. “He’s always looking to make a feed and is just a team leader who all of the kids love. When he’s on and distributing the ball, it sometimes seems like we’re unbeatable.”
Like all of the recruits who make early decisions, the upstate native will need to work even harder now that he has a target on his back after pledging to one of the nation’s best Division I programs. Though he’s slight in size at 5’10 and 150 pounds, he possesses outstanding toughness and confidence when dodging. His best performance of the summer? Down at Rutgers for Adrenaline’s Platinum Cup – hours after his helmet broke and required a visit to the hospital for work on his nose and eye. Must be the 10 years of travel hockey.
I was able to catch up with Olmstead on Wednesday night for a Q&A session:
Knowing how early the recruiting timeline is, did you ever feel pressure to perform well in front of college coaches?
My first game in the fall [of 2013] was definitely overwhelming since I’d never played club lacrosse before. Since then, I’ve just tried to play my game and try to be as much of a team player as I possibly could. I didn’t change anything or try to be too flashy just because D1 coaches were on the sidelines.
During the commitment process, no one really pressured me. Obviously as a kid growing up and watching so much college lacrosse, the recruitment was so cool. You have to take a step back and realize that you’re just a sophomore in high school – I tried to really take my time to think things through and not rush a decision like some kids do. It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid, especially considering that my dad played college lacrosse at a high level.
How does it feel to have the process over with? Also, do you feel any pressure because of your high ranking?
It’s kind of a relief but more so a responsibility to keep my grades up and keep improving now that everything that I do represents Loyola. There’s pressure but more comfortable pressure and something that I’m excited to do. Definitely feel a weight off of my shoulders. As for the ranking, I think people see that and expect you to play well all of the time. Like I said, you just have to play your game and can’t listen to any negativity, really just always have to rise to the occasion.
What was it about Loyola that stood out to you enough to pull the trigger so early? When was your visit and how did it go?
There were a lot of factors but one was that Loyola is a ‘lacrosse first’ kind of school and I loved that. Coach [Charley] Toomey and [Matt] Dwan have been at the school a long time and are great guys – I really liked the family atmosphere in the program and that’s something that I want to be a part of. The Jesuit education and small classes are also great, I feel more comfortable that a professor would know me by name as opposed to being just a number in a big class.
My visit in late September was a blast. I sat in on a philosophy class with 3 or 4 players on the team and afterwards they gave me the lowdown on how everything works at the school. I was able to walk around with coach Dwan, talk to an advisor, go to lunch and then come back to watch practice.
Any final thoughts or thank you’s to make?
I want to thank my family, they’ve been the driving force since day one and have helped me thrive. Specifically, my dad since he’s always coached me since I was young. My club coaches [Andrew] Whipple and Kevin [Martin] – and definitely my Corning coach Chris Hogue – have all really helped my game grow in some ways I didn’t even think were possible.