Perhaps it was predestined that Chelsea Marlborough would be headed to Harvard University.
It was a sign of things to come three years ago, the summer before her freshman year, when a North Carolina coach kidded Marlborough for purchasing a Harvard lacrosse shirt at a camp store. As Marlborough recalled, the store offered only Harvard gear.
“I guess my fate was decided way earlier before I realized,” she said. “Four years later, I still have the shirt that I bought and little did I know that two years after that an offer was going to be coming.”
Marlborough likes the Harvard Crimson look. The Mattituck High School senior will be wearing Harvard gear for years to come — as a member of the school’s women’s lacrosse team.
Marlborough said she was officially was accepted into Harvard on Dec. 12. She received the acceptance letter Friday. “You’re always biting your nails until you get the actual acceptance,” she said. “Even when people tell you you’re set, it’s not a done deal until you see it on paper.”
That paper was sitting on a table in front of Marlborough Friday in a signing ceremony at Mattituck High School that included Mattituck/Southold coach Matt Maloney, athletic director Gregg Wormuth and Marlborough’s parents, Carol and Ken.
“It’s hard to contain your happiness when you get that,” said Marlborough, who had previously verbally committed to Bryant University before decommiting.
Signing with Harvard is doubly impressive, given the academics and athletics. The mere mention of the school is enough to raise eyebrows. “Academics are the most important thing with me and athletics are a great bonus,” said Marlborough, whose brother Dylan plays lacrosse for Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
An All-League midfielder, Marlborough was selected to the Under Armour Underclassmen All-American Team for Long Island. This spring she will enter her sixth season with the Tuckers.
“I think she just picked up things along the way that as a coach you really can’t teach,” Maloney said. “It’s just an athletic sense and we talk about it a lot — lacrosse IQ. I think she has a very high lacrosse IQ. It probably comes from the academics, but she’s been able to transfer the academics onto the playing field.”
Marlborough’s intelligence helped her when she took over handling the team’s draws last season following the graduation of Katie Hoeg. “On the draw it’s constant adjusting and reading the other player and trying to put the ball where your teammates have an advantage, so in that aspect, [she was] extremely bright on that circle for us and on the defensive end as well,” said Maloney.
Marlborough earned 51 draw controls last season in addition to racking up 25 goals, six assists and 32 ground balls.
More than anything, though, Maloney may value Marlborough’s toughness the most. “She plays virtually the whole game for us and as a midfielder and the high-level teams we’re playing against, she’s just been a rock for us,” he said. “I think she has been a cornerstone for what Mattituck lacrosse has been building for the last four or five years.”
Three other Mattituck seniors — defender Alex Beebe (NCAA Division II champion Adelphi), defender Ashley Burns (Wagner) and midfielder Jane DiGregorio (Davidson) — signed national letters of intent last month. Another Mattituck player, junior attack Francesca Vasile-Cozzo, recently verbally committed to LIU-Post, an NCAA Division II team.
Marlborough has the academics for Harvard. She said she is currently the class salutatorian, with an unweighted average around 98.786. She is undecided over what she will major in.
“I’m really going in with an open mind,” she said. “I want to explore everything and anything but I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up in the medical field. I love helping people.”
“The academics are just unbelievable and the network of people there,” Marlborough said. “It’s like anything you want to study, you know you’re going to get the best quality of it. When I step on campus, I just feel instantly happy. I feel at home there.”
The thought of playing in the famed Harvard Stadium, billed as the nation’s oldest stadium (it was built in 1903), excites Marlborough. When walking around the campus, she said can sense a special aura about the place.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “It’s indescribable and it’s so humbling to be in the presence of such brilliant minds.”
Photo caption: Mattituck/Southold senior midfielder Chelsea Marlborough, flanked by her parents Carol and Ken, will play for Harvard University. Mattituck coach Matt Maloney, left, and athletic director Gregg Wormuth took part in a photo session Friday. (Credit: Bob Liepa)