Independent School League (New England)

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Independent School League
Established 1948
Association New England Prep School Athletic Conference
Members 16
Sports fielded 18
Region New England
Independent School League locations

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).


Charter members of the Private School League were 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.

In 1968 Middlesex joined, and in 1972 Groton replaced Tabor – both private boarding schools in the Boston area.

In 1973 St. Sebastian's was added and in 1974 Roxbury Latin was added. The league changed its name to the 'Independent School League' in 1974.

St. Paul's, Lawrence Academy, The Rivers School and St. George's – all private boarding schools – joined during the mid-1970s. In 2016 St. Paul's left the ISL.


School Location Colors Team name Established Enrollment Joined ISL Rivals
Belmont Hill School Belmont, MA              Hillies (unofficial) 1923 420 1948 St. Sebastians, BBN
Brooks School North Andover, MA              Bishops (unofficial) 1926 370 1948 The Governor's Academy
Buckingham Browne & Nichols School


Cambridge, MA          Knights 1883 1,000 1948 Belmont Hill School
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 675 1948 Noble and Greenough
Noble and Greenough School Dedham, MA          Bulldogs 1866 525 1948 Milton Academy

Roxbury Latin

Rivers School Weston, MA              Red Wings 1915 450 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. Paul's School Concord, NH          Pelicans / Big Red 1855 525 1973
St. Sebastian's School Needham, MA          Arrows 1941 350 1973 Belmont Hill School
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 two of the United States' ten wealthiest boarding schools, St. Paul's and Groton. Also, the ISL features two of the United States' ten oldest boarding schools, Governor's and Lawrence, and the oldest school in continuous existence in North America, Roxbury Latin. The ISL also boasts the only day school to make the 2006 Forbes Most Expensive Private High Schools list: The Buckingham Browne and Nichols School. Collectively, these New England schools are sometimes termed St. Grottlesex. The term is a blend, combining St. Mark's, "St. George's" St. Paul's, Groton School, and Middlesex.


Member schools compete in the following sports:

For some sports, such as ice hockey, the ISL is divided into two divisions: the Keller and the Eberhart:

Keller Division Eberhart Division
Belmont Hill Groton
Governor's Middlesex
Lawrence Rivers
Milton Roxbury Latin
Nobles St. George's
St. Paul's St. Mark's
St. Sebastian's



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.


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. The Founder's Cup was awarded to the winning school.

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 Founder's Cup is now awarded to the second placed team.


ISL lacrosse has sent many players to top division one (D1) lacrosse universities, and has had numerous All-Americans. Belmont Hill,[1] Saint Sebastian's, Saint Mark's School, Middlesex, Governor's Academy, and Nobles have traditionally been the top programs in the league.


Current ISL Champions: Milton Academy and Roxbury Latin

Boys Leaders from 2014


Milton (14-1) Rox. Latin (14-1)

Girls Leaders from 2007

Milton Academy, BB&N, Nobles, St. George's / Groton (tied for fourth) Thayer, Brooks

Girls' Ice Hockey[edit]

Many ISL schools participate in girls' ice hockey. Nobles has been the leader the past decade, winning the league for the past 12 years. The ISL has sent many women to D1 schools and to the Olympics.


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.


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. St. Paul'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, St. Paul's, 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. St. Paul's is noted to have produced some of the best crew eights in high school leagues.

School Home water Location
Buckingham Brown & Nichols Charles River Cambridge, Massachusetts
Belmont Hill Charles River Belmont, Massachusetts
Brooks School Lake Cochichewick North Andover, Massachusetts
Groton School Nashua River Groton, Massachusetts
Middlesex School Concord River Concord, Massachusetts
Nobles and Greenough School Charles River Dedham, Massachusetts
St. Mark's School Lake Quinsigamond Worcester, Massachusetts
St. Paul's School Turkey Pond Concord, New Hampshire
Thayer Academy Lincoln Maritime Hingham, Massachusetts


Most ISL schools participate in golf, though St. Mark's and Governor´s 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, and Thayer.