After a stellar athletic legacy at Spence, Frances Lodge ’15 joined Princeton’s Women’s Track Team, trading her Sabers uniform for the Tigers and competing in the NCAA Division 1 and the Ivy League. She recently capped her collegiate athletics career as her team’s captain, commanding an impressive third-place finish in the Heptathlon at the Ivy League Outdoor Track Championship with plenty of life lessons along the way.
“The most rewarding experiences were always those shared with the team,” Frances shared as she reflected on the importance of collaboration with her teammates. “The beauty of track and field is that the diversity of events brings together an extremely wide array of people.” “As a heptathlete, I in particular was able to appreciate the range of people and personalities that made up our team—heptathletes compete across seven different events, and thus my practice schedule exposed me to nearly every event group…. It is a very special feeling to be able to work together toward a shared goal, and celebrate not only my own victories, but those of my teammates.”
Frances also learned “to find a way to love all aspects of the sport,” and “that the beauty of being part of the team was about much more than just winning races (especially as those wins came far less frequently than they did in high school!).”
“I eventually learned to find fun in the more mundane aspects of the sport—the daily repetition of practice, the drills I hated, the heavy lifts I hated even more—and find a sense of pride and accomplishment in even the smallest of improvements,” Frances shared.
For Frances, this grueling training schedule was easier to adjust to thanks to her experiences at Spence, in which she earned numerous titles across several sports, including seven school records and multiple awards. Her athletic repertoire include being Spence’s first NY State Federation medalist with her podium finish in the pentathlon, collection of wins and still a record holder in the 100 hurdles at the AAIS Track and Field Championship, a top-10 finish at the New Balance Nationals in the 400 hurdles and a two-time runner-up and an individual championship at the Loucks Games in the pentathlon. She also was the dynamic setter on Spence’s volleyball team and was a three-year captain and four-time league all-star, leading her team to the AAIS and NYSAIS state championship in 2013 with a 21-0 record.
Frances was as respected as she was a decorated student-athlete at Spence. Mirroring the honor at the end her career as a Saber as the prestigious Lunnetta Spirit Award recipient, this spring at Princeton she was awarded “The Myers Award: Awarded annually to a member of the Men’s and Women’s Track Team who have distinguished themselves in scholarship, athletic performance and character.”
“At Spence, it was the expectation that every student balance her academic work with an often equally demanding non-academic schedule—whether it be athletics, or one of the many other extracurricular pursuits,” Frances shared. “While my workouts, coaching, and competition routine changed dramatically at Princeton, I think I was ready to confront those changes because of the practice I had at Spence.”
“Many of those support systems continued through college,” Frances added. “For my first year at Princeton, Mr. G (my coach, and the current coach at Spence) would help me map out my race plans the night before every meet. He attended nearly every heptathlon that I competed in—and was there to watch me compete in my final meet this past May.”
Despite the time and effort Frances put into training, she emphasized that it was important to her to balance athletics with her overall college experience.
“You have to be confident knowing that if you show up on the first day of freshman year and sustain a career ending injury, you will still be happy with where you are,” Frances shared. “The experience of college is so much more rewarding when you have a balance, and are able to enjoy all the other aspects of being a college student.”
Now that Frances has completed college, she’ll take on new challenges as an investment banking analyst. Congratulations, Frances!