Athletic Participation

Athletic Participation

Long Trail bases the success of our athletic program not on wins but on the quality of the athlete’s experience. To help ensure the greatest possible experience, Long Trail strives to provide the best possible coaching, facilities and equipment as well as to schedule competitions against optimally challenging opponents. Athletes also share responsibility in creating a positive experience by supplying commitment, enthusiasm and dedication. This means attending, with a positive attitude, ALL possible practices, games and team events. This is especially true of varsity level student-athletes. If a student-athlete knows s/he will miss a team function, s/he must let the coach or Athletic Director know ahead of time.

As a member of the Vermont Principals’ Association, we adhere to their guidelines regarding athletic programs. To be eligible to participate in our athletic program, athletes need to make sure they have submitted a completed Physical Exam Form and Athletic Participation From.

Physical Health

To participate in Long Trail athletics, all students are required to have had a doctor’s physical examination and approval within 24 months before they compete in any game or practice. Any student who incurs an illness or injury that causes the student to miss a significant amount of class or practice time or necessitates a doctor’s appointment will need to submit a return to athletic participation form that is signed by the physician before s/he can return to practice and competition.


Long Trail School firmly believes in the tremendous benefits of a well-structured athletic program and strongly encourages all interested and dedicated students to participate. We are proud of our inclusive philosophy of participation and our diverse array of sports. We never cut an athlete. In sports where multiple levels are offered, we will place an athlete at the appropriate level to ensure a positive and meaningful experience.


One of the most important aspects of participation on a team is commitment. As such, we respectfully request that all student-athletes who choose to try out for our teams, along and their parents, are prepared to commit to the team for all practices and competitions for the duration of the season. When parents and student-athletes take family vacations during a sport season, the time missed by the student-athlete can affect team performance and chemistry. It is also expected that student-athletes will arrange jobs and other activities so as not to conflict with practices, contests and play-offs.

Academics are the priority at Long Trail. Participation in all extracurricular activities is contingent on continued success in the classroom. Information on specific eligibility requirements and policies can be found here and in the Student-Parent Handbook.

Team Level & Playing Time

  • Middle School: The goal of middle school teams is to prepare participants for a higher level of competition by emphasizing individual skill development, fun, sportsmanship, and a fundamental understanding of team play, strategies, and rules. A fairly equitable amount of playing time should be expected. Attendance, proper behavior, a willingness to learn, and individual skill development are all factors in how much playing time a participant sees.
  • Junior Varsity: Junior varsity teams are for students who are not yet physically ready or experienced enough for varsity competition. In junior varsity, the emphasis shifts to a more advanced and competitive team concept. Participants should expect to play at various levels over the course of a season. All Upper School students, regardless of grade level, are eligible to play on JV teams.
  • Varsity: Varsity teams are the most competitive level and participation typically requires several years of experience and/or advanced skill. The level of play is more demanding both physically and mentally. Coaches will strive for fair playing time for students; however, playing-time decisions will be based more on skill level and less on participation. More emphasis will be place on winning, while maintaining a well-rounded sense of fun.

Participation at Multiple Levels

Some athletes may play at multiple levels within a sport but will never play more than the maximum number of games allowed for an individual in a season.

Non-School Sports

We understand that students frequently participate in sports outside of school, and we encourage that participation. However, Long Trail expects the commitment to our teams to be the students’ first priority should a conflict in schedules arise. Students choosing to participate in a non-school team event over a LTS team event should expect to face consequences as decided upon by the coach – including decreased playing time and/or dismissal from the team. The coach must be informed of any conflicts well in advance, but we do expect that all student participants will honor their commitment to our teams for the duration of the season.


The goal of interscholastic athletics is to give young men and women the opportunity to expand their educational horizons by experiencing fair and friendly competition with peers. Ingrained in that opportunity is respect for the rules, regulations, opponents and officials. Long Trail subscribes to this goal and will strive in all athletic events to achieve that objective.

Student-athletes that engage in acts of poor sportsmanship that require the coach or official to suspend that person from further practice or play shall be held accountable for those acts as deemed appropriate by the Director of Athletics. Additional school consequences may be deemed necessary if the student-athlete has been found in violation of the school’s policy on fighting.


Coaches provide a practice schedule for the season. By VPA Guidelines, Long Trail athletic teams are permitted to practice 5-6 days a week, though most teams range 3-5 practices a week. The length of practices is generally 1.5 hours. Coaches are responsible for providing supervision during meeting hours.

MIDDLE SCHOOL athletes need to have seven (7) and UPPER SCHOOL athletes ten (10) practices before they may compete interscholastically.

Students make a commitment to their teammates and coaches to attend every practice. Any student that has three or more absences from practices, games, or competitions may be dismissed from the team.

Dismissal from Team

Any student that withdraws, is suspended or dismissed from a team may not be eligible for any team or league awards. A student who is not an active member of a team at the end of the season may not attend the sports banquet as a member of that team. Any paid fees are not refundable if a student leaves or is dismissed from a team.

Rest Between Seasons

Athletes must have seven (7) days between the start of an athletic season and the conclusion of the previous season to comply with the VPA rules and regulations.

Uniform and Equipment Returns

Students must return all school issued equipment, uniforms and supplies to the coach washed and clean within two (2) school days of the final contest. Students who fail to do so will be billed for the value of missing items. Failure to pay the bill could result in the withholding of report cards and/or diplomas. All of our uniforms are made of synthetic materials. Please pay attention to the cleaning instructions. You should typically wash your uniforms inside out to help protect the integrity of the garment. Uniforms that are damaged due to improper care will be replaced at the student’s expense.

Competition Transportation

The following guidelines have been established for the safety of all Long Trail student-athletes:

  • If transportation is provided, all team members will ride the bus to and from the game*.
  • Transportation is not provided back to LTS from competitions held in Dorset or Manchester.
  • Middle school teams typically have back-to-back games so they travel to and from LTS on one bus.
  • In no instance will a student-athlete be allowed to ride with another student regardless of permission from the parent/guardian.
  • Proper bus behavior is expected for athletic teams and will be covered with coaches and team prior to each season by the Athletic Director.
  • Only team members and support personnel are allowed on team buses.
  • It is expected that team members will properly dispose of all trash. Buses will look the same at the end of a trip as in the beginning of one.
  • Athletes MUST be promptly picked up at the end of games and practices. Coaches will report to the Athletic Director any athlete who is repeatedly picked up late.
*The following exceptions must be approved directly with the coach prior to the event:
A parent/guardian who attends the event may wish to take their child home with them. In special circumstances, students may travel to the contest or may return home by other means. This may only occur if a permission note from the parent/guardian is received prior to the game or event.

Change in Sport and Two Sport Policies

Except in isolated and unusual cases, students WILL NOT be permitted to change sports during the season, or to participate in more than one sport in the same season. Students should make every effort to honor their initial commitment to any sport or activity. Exceptions must be discussed in advance with, and receive the approval of, the head coach(es) and the Athletic Director.

NCAA and Collegiate Eligibility

In order for students to participate in intercollegiate athletic activities upon completion of high school, the NCAA requires certain minimums on high school core courses and the SAT/ACT test scores. It is also necessary for high school students who wish to compete in Division I or II collegiate athletics to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. For more information, contact the Athletic Director.


Long Trail School

Dorset, Vermont

Long Trail School

Dorset, Vermont