Ever since Briggs Ballard learned he could play lacrosse while also studying finance and business development in college, he focused on turning that goal into a reality.
“From the day I realized I could play college lacrosse, it has been my biggest dream,” he said.
That dream came true on March 4, when Briggs committed to play for Texas Christian University (TCU), a Division 1 school with a lacrosse team that competes in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association. It’s an impressive step for the talented young athlete, who has been passionate about lacrosse since the age of three, when a Rowland Hall parent who moved to Utah from the East Coast created a mini lacrosse team for the community as a way to introduce students to the sport.
“I was a little too young to suit up,” Briggs said about the experience. “However, my brother [Boston Ballard ’20] played and I was always there watching and waiting for my turn. As I watched the older kids, I knew I wanted to play, and from that day on lacrosse was my sport. When I got my chance, I hit the ground running.”
And he’s excelled: by third grade, Briggs was playing competitive club lacrosse, and by sixth grade, club box lacrosse, and he was a member of youth teams at both Brighton High School and Corner Canyon High School, where his eighth-grade team won the state championship. In ninth grade, after a family move, Briggs began playing for Highland High School, where, as the only freshman on the varsity team, he led in goals, assists, and total points, earning him Freshman of the Year and Most Valuable Player accolades. When COVID-19 canceled his sophomore season, Briggs decided to use the time to think about how to take the skills he’d been building to the next level. “During quarantine, I decided I needed to push myself and play at the highest level of high school lacrosse,” he said. After making the team at IMG Academy, a prestigious sports training facility and boarding school in Florida, Briggs chose to spend his junior year there, where he practiced seven days a week and traveled the country playing top teams.
“It was a difficult decision to move away from my family and to leave Rowland Hall, but I decided to go for it and spent my junior year at IMG,” said Briggs. “The experience was one I will never forget; I learned so much about lacrosse and myself.”
He also learned just how much he appreciates his family and the Rowland Hall community: Briggs returned to Utah for his senior year, where he’s been enjoying time with friends, wrapping up his studies in the Upper School, playing lacrosse (of course!), and preparing for the next chapter of his story.
To celebrate Briggs’ decision to play lacrosse for TCU, we asked him to share more about his athletic journey. The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
You're a Rowland Hall student who has pursued the sport you love (but one that's not offered by the school) alongside your studies. How have you juggled both responsibilities?
Juggling the rigor of Rowland Hall and the intensity of my lacrosse schedule has been challenging. I've had to learn to manage my time and plan ahead. I've done a lot of homework and studied on planes while flying home from tournaments. Even though Rowland Hall does not have a lacrosse program, the school and teachers have been very supportive and have always worked with me. Along with the challenges, playing for other schools has also been a blessing in many ways. It has enabled me to meet and socialize with kids outside of Rowland Hall and it's really expanded my social circle.
Can you briefly describe how you connected with the TCU team and how you made your decision to join them?
The lacrosse recruiting experience has been both awesome and stressful. I've had to really consider what level of lacrosse I want to play and balance that with the kind of college experience I want. My options were all over the board, from D1 schools to some smaller D3 schools, and several club options. Ultimately, I was heavily recruited by TCU, which happens to be where my brother goes to school. My brother has several friends currently on the TCU lacrosse team and because he knew I would love TCU, he had them reach out to me and from there the coach reached out. I fell in love with everything TCU has to offer, including their D1 lacrosse program. In addition to the lacrosse program, TCU checks all of the academic boxes for me and I can't wait to be a Horned Frog!
How did you feel when you officially committed to play for TCU?
I felt proud of myself and like all of my hard work paid off. I felt like I had finally done it and was relieved to have made a decision. The feeling of finally committing is a feeling I will never experience again and I am so grateful for how everything worked out.
What are your top memories from your lacrosse career (so far)?
My top memories of my lacrosse career so far are traveling all over the country with my parents and my best friends/teammates. I have played with several of the same kids since we were in the first grade and they have truly become some of my best friends. The summer tournaments are always memories; staying together as a team and playing the sport we love are memories I will never forget. Finally, last year, my IMG team traveled to Indiana, where we played Culver Academy, one of the best teams in the country. While we did not come away with the win, playing in front of so many people, and in a nationally televised game, is a very cool experience and a major memory for me.
Tell us about the skills you built at Rowland Hall that you'll be taking with you to TCU.
I strongly believe Rowland Hall has set me up to succeed at TCU both academically and socially. Rowland Hall has taught me how to learn, how to be a critical thinker, and how to manage my time. Rowland Hall is a one-of-a-kind school and I cherish my time here and the education I’ve received. I know I will be a strong writer and contribute to the TCU community because of my Rowland Hall experience.
Is there anything else you want our community to know about your athletic and academic journey?
Just that I am beyond grateful for everyone who has supported me and helped me on my journey. My Rowland Hall friends have always been so supportive and encouraged me to keep on with lacrosse. From the teachers and staff to my friends, family, and coaches, I will forever be thankful for all of you.
Lastly, GO FROGS!