Independent School League (New England)
The Independent School League (ISL) is composed of sixteen New England preparatory schools that compete athletically and academically. Founded in 1948, the ISL's sixteen members compete in eighteen sports in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC). Notable to the league, they do not allow for schools to have postgraduate students compete in athletic competition, and consequently, many of the member institutions do not offer postgraduate programs. ISL schools are also not allowed to give athletic or academic based scholarships, and are only allowed to give need-based ones. The teams that make up the ISL are some of the highest rated schools in New England both academically and athletically.
|Independent School League|
Charter members of the Private School League were Middlesex School, Belmont Hill, Brooks, Buckingham Browne & Nichols (BB&N), The Governor's Academy, Milton Academy, Noble & Greenough, St. Mark's, and Thayer. Like the Ivy League, the ISL began as a loose affiliation to promote football among academically rigorous, Northeastern schools; however, administrators formalized the league during 1948.
For 2017-2018, with the departure of St. Paul's, a new addition to the Independent School League is Tabor Academy (Massachusetts), joining the league in 2017 after playing as a non-league competitor against several of the schools for many years, and being one of the original founding members.
|School||Location||Colors||Team name||Established||Enrollment||Joined ISL||Rivals|
|Belmont Hill School||Belmont, MA||N/A||1923||420||1948||St. Sebastians, BB&N, Roxbury Latin|
|Brooks School||North Andover, MA||N/A||1926||370||1948||The Governor's Academy|
|Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
|Cambridge, MA||Knights||1883||1,025||1948||Belmont Hill School, Noble and Greenough|
|The Governor's Academy||Byfield, MA||Governors||1763||375||1948||Brooks School|
|Groton School||Groton, MA||Zebras||1884||350||1972||St. Mark's School|
|Lawrence Academy at Groton||Groton, MA||Spartans||1793||375||1973|
|Middlesex School||Concord, MA||Zebras||1901||350||1968||St. George's School|
|Milton Academy||Milton, MA||Mustangs||1798||1,000||1948||Noble and Greenough|
|Noble and Greenough School||Dedham, MA||Bulldogs||1866||625||1948||Milton Academy
|The Rivers School||Weston, MA||Red Wings||1915||491||1973||Noble and Greenough|
|Roxbury Latin School||West Roxbury, MA||Foxes||1645||300||1974||Belmont Hill School
Noble and Greenough
|St. George's School||Middletown, RI||Dragons||1896||350||1981||Middlesex School|
|St. Mark's School||Southborough, MA||Lions||1865||325||1948||Groton School|
|St. Sebastian's School||Needham, MA||Arrows||1941||350||1973||Belmont Hill School|
|Tabor Academy (Massachusetts)||Marion, MA||Seawolves||1876||515||2017|
|Thayer Academy||Braintree, MA||Tigers||1877||675||1948|
ISL schools are noted for high tuition, wealthy students, academic excellence, superior college placement, athletics, and in many cases, storied histories. For example, the ISL features one of the United States' ten wealthiest boarding schools, Groton.
Each school's athletic program is run by an experienced and well-respected administrator, many of whom rose to their positions after successful coaching careers either at their present school or prior to their arrival.
|Belmont Hill School||George Tahan|
|Brooks School||Roberta Crump-Burbank|
|Governor's Academy||Claudia Barcomb|
|Groton School||Robert Low|
|Lawrence Academy||Kevin Potter|
|Middlesex School||Kenneth Risley|
|Milton Academy||Lamar Reddicks|
|Noble & Greenough School||Alex Gallagher '90|
|The Rivers School||Bob Pipe|
|Roxbury Latin School||Tony Teixeira|
|St. George's School||Rachel Horn|
|St. Mark's School||John Levandowski|
|St. Sebastian's School||David Hinman|
|Tabor Academy||Conan Leary '97|
|Thayer Academy||Rick Foredsteiré|
Member schools compete in the following sports:
- Cross Country
- Field Hockey
- Ice hockey
- Swimming & Diving
- Track & Field
|ISL 7||ISL 9|
|Belmont Hill||Groton School|
|Governor's Academy||Middlesex School|
|Lawrence Academy||Noble & Greenough School|
|Milton Academy||The Rivers School|
|St. Sebastian's||Roxbury Latin|
|Tabor Academy||St. George's School|
|St. Mark's School|
- In 2017, Lawrence Academy (ISL 7) and Brooks School (ISL 9) claimed the league championships and both teams went on to win their respective NEPSAC Bowl Games.
- 2016 Brooks won the ISL going 7-1 (4-0 in ISL 10) by defeating Lawrence Academy 20-0 in week 8 to clinch the title and a Bowl Game
- 2012-2013 St. Sebastian's and The Governor's Academy won the Independent School League both going undefeated (9-0),and both won their respective bowl games.
- 2011-2012 Governors Academy won the Independent School League Championships.
- 2010-2011 Lawrence Academy and Rivers won a share of the ISL championship.
- 2009-2010 Lawrence Academy won the Independent School League Championships.
- 2008-2009 BBN won the Independent School League Championships.
Boys' Ice Hockey
|Keller Division||Eberhart Division|
|Belmont Hill School||Brooks School|
|Lawrence Academy||Groton School|
|Milton Academy||Middlesex School|
|Noble & Greenough School||The Rivers School|
|St. Sebastian's||Roxbury Latin|
|Thayer Academy||St. George's School|
|Tabor Academy||St. Mark's School|
2018-19 Champions: Lawrence Academy (Keller) and The Rivers School (Eberhart)
In 2017, The Rivers School won the ISL Eberhart Division for the third time in four years (2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17) and qualified for the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Stuart/Corkery Open Tournament, becoming the first ISL Eberhart Division team to do so. Rivers defeated Belmont Hill School and Phillips Exeter Academy to reach the final, where they lost to Kimball Union Academy.In 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 season St. Marks School won the New England Prep Small School Championship, and in the 2014-2015 season Brooks School won the New England Prep Large School Championship. Both teams were from the Eberhart division on the ISL.
In 2011-2012 Lawrence Academy won the Independent School League Championship, as well as the NEPSAC championship defeating Nobles in the final round (3-2). In 2010-2011 Milton Academy went to win the Independent School League championship for ice hockey and then continued the success to win it all in the NEPSAC championship. In the 2009-2010 hockey season Nobles won the ISL championship. In the 2008-2009 hockey season Lawrence Academy won the ISL championships.
In 1988—then Governor Dummer Academy—won the Eberhart Division and the NEPSAC Div. II Championship defeating The Gunnery School. That win propelled GDA into the prestigious Keller Division where it has competed since 1988-89.
Of all the schools in the ISL, it is the newest, St. Sebastian's, that has had the most first round NHL draft picks (5). Their 5 picks are more than any high school in the US. Their most recent was in the 2015 NHL draft, when Noah Hannifin was drafted 5th overall to the Carolina Hurricanes.
In 1948 eight local private schools banded together to form one of the first high school soccer leagues in the area. A number of the schools had been competing informally and a structured league was desirable. Full round robin play was not achieved until 1952 but has been a constant feature since that year. The original eight schools included Belmont Hill, Brooks, Browne & Nichols, Governor Dummer, Milton, Nobles, St. Mark's, and Tabor.
In 1948 a championship cup was procured and was named in honor of Richard Gummere, a longtime teacher and coach at both Browne & Nichols and Haverford College; the Gummere Cup is undoubtedly one of the oldest secondary school soccer trophies in the country. In 1968 Middlesex joined the group and in 1971 Roxbury Latin competed before joining permanently in 1974. 1972 saw Tabor leave the league and Groton join. That brought the league to ten schools where it remained until 1984.
The original Private School League had expanded during this time and had grown into the 16 school Independent School League. In order to include the six ISL schools not in Gummere Cup play at the time (Lawrence, Rivers, St. George's, St. Paul's, St. Sebastian's, and Thayer) the Athletic Directors created a separate ISL soccer league in 1980.
Because full round robin play was not possible at that time, North and South Divisions, each with eight schools, were established. A Championship Final was held on the Wednesday following the regular season.
Both the Gummere Cup and ISL competitions operated simultaneously from 1980 through 1983. Due to the ban on post season league-sponsored play no finals were held in 1982 and 1983. In 1984, a full round robin schedule was adopted and all sixteen schools began competing for the Gummere Cup.
The ISL has a tradition of providing a high level of play in soccer, fielding many competitive teams each year and sending numerous athletes to various college programs across the country each year.
|School||Number of Championships||Most Recent Championship|
|Noble & Greenough School||19||2018|
|The Rivers School||4||2015|
|St. Paul's School||3||1992|
|Buckingham, Browne & Nichols||1||2017|
ISL lacrosse has sent many players to top division one (D1) lacrosse universities, and has had numerous All-Americans.
Boys ISL Champions: Groton School (15-0)
Girls ISL Champions: Milton Academy (15-0)
Girls' Ice Hockey
The Independent School League has produced some of the finest players in New England High School Basketball history in addition to being an incredibly deep and competitive league. Since 2000, ISL players have earned the Gatorade Massachusetts State Player of the Year award six times: Mike Jones (Thayer Academy, 2003), Richard Roby (Lawrence Academy, 2004), Stevie Mejia (Lawrence Academy, 2008), Nate Lubick (St. Mark's School, 2009 & 2010), and Azar Swain (The Rivers School, 2017).
Brooks School won its fifth consecutive ISL Championship in 2019 posting a perfect 15-0 record in league play for the fifth consecutive season. At the end of the 2018-19 season, Brooks' ISL winning streak sat at 84-straight victories while its overall winning streak was snapped by Hamden Hall in the first game of the season, ending a run of 66-straight victories.
The 2018 and 2019 ISL champion was the undefeated (13-0 and 10-0) Tabor Academy basketball team. Prior to Tabor joining the league and earning their 2018 and 2019 championships, Noble & Greenough had won the previous 14 Independent School League Championships. (2004-2017)
The Governor's Academy claimed the 2016 ISL Championship with a 12-4 record.
In 2012, Belmont Hill won the ISL championship by beating BB&N 11-1.
In 2011, Lawrence Academy capped of an undefeated ISL season(16-0,18-2 Overall) by defeating Rivers 13-2 and winning the league title.
BB&N is the 2010 ISL champion after completing the first undefeated season (20-0) in school history.
Belmont HIll, Lawrence Academy, St. Sebastian's, Milton Academy, and Governor's Academy are also consistently at the top of the league.
Brooks was the preeminent team in the ISL from 1999 through 2007, claiming seven championships in nine seasons.
Only a few ISL schools participate in crew, but among those include: Belmont Hill, BB&N, Brooks, Groton, Middlesex, Nobles, Thayer, and St. Mark's races eight-man boats, and does not compete with the other ISL schools in head-to-head regattas. The regular season ends with the NEIRA regatta, with the top two boats automatically entered into the National Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio. Almost every year, a New England boat wins the national title. Some perennially strong crews include BB&N, Groton, Middlesex, Nobles, and Brooks, but Belmont Hill has been the most dominant program of late, they have won eight consecutive New England Championships (2003–2010) and four National Championships (2003, 2006, 2007, 2010) with its first boat.
Most ISL schools participate in golf, though St. Mark's and Governors’ are the only ones with their own golf courses. Schools which participate: St. Sebastian's, Belmont Hill, Brooks, BB&N, Governor's Academy, Lawrence Academy, Middlesex, Milton, Noble & Greenough, St. George's, St. Mark's, Thayer Academy, Rivers School. In 2018, Tabor Academy will also join the league.
The schools play match play and their season takes place in the spring as opposed to the fall (Most publics and Catholics play in the fall.) There is a league championship each year awarded by a point system, and there also is a stroke play championship (The Kingman Cup) each year.
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- "Boarding Schools with the Largest Endowments (2017-2018)". boardingschoolreview.com. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
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- Riper, Tom Van (2006-12-11). "America's Most Expensive Prep Schools". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
- "2017 ISL Standings". isleague.org. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
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- "2017 ISL Eberhart Standings". isleague.org. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
- "Four Rivers Teams Earn NEPSAC Tournament Invitations". The Rivers School. 2017-02-27. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
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- "2016 CURRENT STANDINGS - Girls' Soccer - Independent School League". islsports.org. Archived from the original on 2017-05-21. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
- "CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY - Boys' Lacrosse - Independent School League". islsports.org. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
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- "Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year Awards - RealGM". basketball.realgm.com. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- "Winning Weeks". brooksschool.org. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
- "For Brooks boys' basketball, it's 66 straight wins in ISL - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- "Boys' Basketball, Hockey Claim ISL Titles". The Rivers School. 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
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- "http://www.nobles.edu/athletics/team.cfm?gender=Girls&season=Winter&activity=Basketball". nobles.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-17. External link in
- "For St. Sebastian's, the (extra) hard work has paid off - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
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