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RISE Hamilton Athletics

Neil Caynan has been the athletic director of RISE since 2021. Prior to joining RISE, Neil served as the athletic director and dean of students at St. Hilary School. Neil is in his 19th year of teaching and brings over 25 years of experience coaching basketball at schools throughout Marin County including Marin Catholic, Marin Academy, and Terra Linda High School. 



All student athletes at Hamilton should strive for excellence in all that they do on and off the court/field.


Closely tied to excellence is the notion of 'grit'.  Grit is one determinant of excellence in our culture.  If a student is going to persevere through the education system and become a productive citizen, s/he will need to develop 'grit'.


In Angela Duckworth’s book Grit she believes that grit can be grown from the 'outside in' by engaging in extracurricular athletic activities.  She says that grit is created by engaging in a fun yet difficult activity and learning to persevere.  For example, a student athlete who likes soccer can learn to work very hard and develop skills to be able to play, move up within the ranks of the team, and ultimately compete against other skilled opponents.  This lesson in perseverance will spill over into other areas of life.  Duckworth states, "There are countless research studies showing that kids who are more involved in extracurricular activities fare better on just about every conceivable metric – they earn better grades, have high self-esteem, are less likely to be involved in high risk behavior and so forth.” Duckworth also points out that kids from low income families tend not to have as much grit as their more privileged peers.  She theorizes that this could be because they often do not have the opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities.


Many Hamilton School students do not participate in extracurricular athletic activities because their parents either do not have money to pay for league fees and/or are unable to provide transportation to and from the practices and competitions.


It is clear that as students leave Hamilton School and join their peers in high school, they are NOT trying out or joining any of the high school sports teams.  When a small sample of Hamilton students was asked why they do not try out, many indicated feeling insecure about lack of experience in athletics.  Hamilton Athletics wants to change that!! 


Participating in a sport in high school is ultimately important for academic success and for continuing to create perseverance and a sense of belonging that keeps students in school.  Because Hamilton School realizes the value of sports in creating excellence and grit, an athletic program has been created for 2nd - 8th grade students.

Grit is a determinant of success in our culture.  If a child is going to persevere through the education system and become a productive citizen they will need to have GRIT.

After school athletic opportunities for students in 2nd-8th grade


Boys Soccer

Girls Soccer

Cross Country



Girls Basketball

Boys Basketball


Track and Field


Boys Soccer

Girls Soccer

As noted above, we believe that through these athletic teams our kids will benefit tremendously. As our kids leave Hamilton and matriculate to high school they have limited athletic training because as also mentioned above they have not had the opportunity. In Marin County, so many of their more privileged peers have had athletic opportunities from a very early age.  We are trying to level the playing field and create equity so that they at least know they can run, play soccer, basketball, etc. by the time they enter high school and will be able to join a team which ultimately will lead to a higher rate of academic success.


Marin County is a tough place for our kids because there is such a discrepancy in the lives of students from low income families and their peers from more privileged homes. If our kids are going to feel comfortable trying out for soccer, cross country, basketball, wrestling, etc. they need to have some experience or they will not have the confidence to even attempt to join a team.

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