While the squeak of the hardwood at Bliss Gymnasium sounds off during an Ithaca High Basketball practice, there’s some more commotion just down the hallway.
IHS senior Ryan Sposito has been on a tight workout regimen for the past few months that includes lifting three times a week at the gym in Ithaca High School, but that’s not all he’s been doing to get ready for the lacrosse season. The Army commit has also gone over to Cornell twice a week to work on his footwork and stick skills indoors in order to be ready to roll for his final campaign in a Little Red jersey.
Sposito, who had been playing basketball for most of his life, dropped the sport for his final year at Ithaca because he wanted to shift his full focus this winter to being at full strength for lacrosse.
“It was definitely a tough decision,” said Sposito on leaving basketball. “I played basketball throughout my whole life and dropping it for my senior year was tough, but I just had to think about my senior year of lacrosse and college. I think it’s going to better me by not playing basketball this year because I want to become more physically fit and even better at lacrosse.”
The program that Sposito is on has been something he has done for a few years now, but he’s never been able to dedicate as much time to it as this winter with no more basketball. At Ithaca High, he’s had more of a focus on Olympic style lifts, in order to get more assimilated to the type of training he’ll see at West Point, but that’s not the only college style work he’s been doing.
He’s also been working under the supervision of Cornell Associate Director of Athletics for Athlete Performance Tom Howley, as it is an NCAA violation for Sposito to workout under a plan given to him specifically by Army.
“He’s been giving me almost what Cornell does, so I’ve just been basing my workouts off of that,” said Sposito. “Pretty much, my grandpa (Cornell Lacrosse coaching legend Richie Moran) told me one day that he wanted to get me on this plan. So he got in connection with Howley and we met one day and it’s been working out pretty well.”
Sposito will stick on this plan until March, when the lacrosse season itself comes more into focus. With the dark and cold days that the Finger Lakes area can bring, it can be tough to think of the grassy lacrosse field during the spring, but Sposito has stayed motivated.
“My main motivation is to become what I want to be one day,” said Sposito. “I want to be a top player in Division I lacrosse, so I just think about that every night and push forward with that especially when I don’t want to work out.”
A big priority for Sposito along with the training has been his academics. The senior was already committed to the Division I institution during his junior season and he has a big plan in store for not only West Point, but what’s he’s going to do after his college years.
“It was pretty much based off of where I want to be after school and after I serve in the Army,” said Sposito on his college choice. “I want to go get my MBA after that, so I think that serving my country and the resume I’ll be able to get after graduating would be a huge accomplishment.”
Before he leaves for West Point this fall, Sposito and the Little Red have some unfinished business on the field. Ithaca won the Class A Section IV Championship for the first time since 2013 last spring and with plenty of experience leaving the team due to graduation, Sposito doesn’t want to take a step back.
“I think we’re going to be young this year,” said Sposito. “I want to make a point to the team that we’re going to set our goal to win the sectional championship.”
Along with the team goal of returning to the New York State Tournament, Sposito has a goal for himself as well.
“The main goal would be to become an All-American,” said Sposito. “Other than that, I just want to keep playing how I’ve been playing and see what comes of it.”