It takes a rare breed of student-athlete to have both the athletic skills and brain power to earn a spot at a critically-acclaimed Ivy League school like Harvard, but five of Long Island's brightest did just that.
Here's a look at the five Long Island student-athletes from the Class of 2012 who provided their commitments to attend Harvard in the fall:
Dwyer, an attackman who led the Garden City Trojans to a No. 1 rank in the country and a New York State championship, heads to Harvard after tallying 39 goals and 75 assists in his senior campaign.
Dwyer's elite field vision helped him consistently find scoring opportunities for teammates, as he essentially quarterbacked an offense that absolutely dominated the rest of Nassau County. Dwyer ranked No. 12 on ESPNHS' list of the top 100 boys lacrosse players in the nation, and he snapped Garden City's all-time career assist record in early-2012.
Freeman, a superb boys' soccer player from Half Hollow Hills East High School in Dix Hills, NY, scored the game-winning goal in his team's 5-0 victory over Smithtown West on Nov. 4, 2011 in the Suffolk Class AA quarterfinal round. Freeman wrapped up the game with two goals and an assist, including one goal with his left foot.
Freeman wrapped up the year with a team-high 19 goals and 17 assists, leading Half Hollow Hills East to a 16-2-1 record, good enough for first place in Suffolk League II.
McDonagh is one of three St. Anthony's Friars from the Class of 2012 to commit to Harvard.
He wrapped up his senior campaign tied for the team lead with 39 goals, and tied for first with 25 assists. St. Anthony's went 15-3 and upset Chaminade, 8-6, in the Class AAA Long Island/New York State CHSAA championship game.
Nicolia scored 35 goals and added 15 assists to lead St. Anthony's to its fifth straight CHSAA Class AA title in girls' lacrosse.
She was a perennial threat in front of the net, as opposing defenders had trouble preventing her from firing from close-range.
Yeager, a standout member of St. Anthony's Class of 2012, heads to Harvard after committing to its swim program. Yeager was just one lane away from Olympic legend Michael Phelps at the NABC Christmas Meet in Annapolis, MD in late-2011, and he hit an Olympic qualifying time in the 200 backstroke.
Eric Holden has been covering Long Island high school sports since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.