Athlete of the Month: Nick Halliday

NickHalliday

Photo by Sofia Manekia

In the spring of his fifth grade year, Nick Halliday ’16 decided to quit baseball in favor of a different sport, lacrosse, with his friend Rory Helstrom ’16. Both no longer wanted to baseball, as there was not much action involved. Now, the two are the only seniors and captains of the boys lacrosse team at Princeton High School. For Halliday, the transition between the two was simple due to his father exposing him to lacrosse. Halliday’s father played lacrosse at Princeton University, which initially sparked Nick’s interest in the sport.

“My dad has influenced my play my whole life. From playing in the backyard to him being one of my coaches from sixth to eighth grade … he has always pushed the fundamentals like catching, passing, and ground balls. He told me that if I can do those three things, I will be helpful on any team I am on,” Halliday said.  

Between his fifth and eighth grade years, Halliday played club lacrosse for Lightning Lacrosse, based in Plainsboro, along with Helstrom. In their freshman years, the two athletes made varsity as swing players, meaning they practiced with the varsity team, but played most of their games with junior varsity. Being sidelined for varsity games, however, did not stop Halliday from trying his hardest.

“I have been trying to [improve] as a player for the past three years so I can be in the position I’m in now. I want to lead the team to the best of my capability,” he said. “I really want to give everything I have to accomplish great things with this team.”

One of his most memorable moments with the high school team was his first game as a freshman. Not expecting to be called onto the field, Halliday was surprised to hear the coaches announce his name and instruct him to go onto the field with his two older brothers Zachary Halliday ’13 and Kevin Halliday ’14.

“I was proud of that moment … I was starting off my high school career on a good foot and I wanted to take what I learned that day and improve on every aspect of my game,” he said.

Having two older brothers on the team really helped Halliday enjoy lacrosse his freshman year. His siblings introduced him to older players on the team and showed him how much fun the sport was. In addition, the two pushed their younger brother and wanted him to become the best player that he could be by making sure he didn’t slack off and that he worked his hardest whenever they were doing drills.  

While getting support from his older brothers, Halliday developed strong friendships with other players on the team, most notably Helstrom. The two players depended on and helped each other reach his full potential on the field.

“Rory and I have played lacrosse together forever, and he has pushed me to be the player I have become,” Halliday said.

“He’s an amazing guy and an amazing teammate. I wouldn’t be where I am without him. He keeps me on task as a fellow captain and is very vocal and leads by example. [I] wouldn’t want to play with anyone else,” Helstrom said.

Although being an important and supportive member in the eyes of his teammates, the coaches believe that the athlete is not given enough credit for all that he does for the team’s well-being. “Nick Halliday very much fits into the unsung hero award: He is a player that goes out of his way to help his teammates, to make his teammates play better,” said Coach Peter Stanton. “He does the little things that don’t always get the most attention but really make a big difference to the team.”

Looking ahead, Halliday is not planning on playing lacrosse in college, but if he changes his mind he wants to play at the club level.

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