October 6, 2008

Oct. 6, 2008

Part One (Sept. 2008): Free Fall? | Peer Review: Shannon Smith
Part Two (Oct. 2008): Passport to Campus | Peer Review: Gordie Wells

Recruiting is a topic on which families, prospects, coaches and others expend considerable resources, time and emotion. Lacrosse Magazine will delve into many of the sub-topics involved in a series of articles, augmented by personal stories from young men and women that have recently completed or are in the midst of the recruiting process.

This article appears in the October issue of LM, a US Lacrosse publication available exclusively to its members. Join today to start your monthly subscription.

Gordie Wells, LaSalle College (Pa.)

by Gordie Wells, Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

For lacrosse players, the summer after your junior year of high school is unlike any before. Instead of hanging out with friends or hitting the beach, this summer means recruiting tournaments -- hoping to do well in front of the right school, the right coach, the right program.

For me, it started back in March when I e-mailed coaches of schools where I had an interest. Responses varied. I continued to update them on my team and how I was doing. Our team won the state title, so I thought this would be easy. Coaches would be all over a starter on a championship team!

Not so fast. Yes, some of my teammates received scholarship offers, some even before our junior season. I was not one of those players. So, on to the college visits!

I narrowed my choices to schools where I thought I'd be happy without lacrosse, since you never know if you are going to be cut, injured or just not able to handle it. To my surprise, some choices were narrowed for me. In June and July, I heard from four schools that said their recruiting class for 2009 was full. Knowing that recruits could not sign before November, I didn't know if it was because I was not what they were looking for, or if they were really "full."

So, I moved on. I just wanted a school that was right for me. With that in mind, my first stop was an unofficial visit to Mount St. Mary's University, a small school (2,100 students) in Maryland with Division I lacrosse.

When I first got there, I met with a counselor who told me about the school and answered the questions I had. I was then given a tour of the campus. It was fairly small, but they were building new housing and updating older buildings, so it was nice.

Once we came back from the tour, two lacrosse recruits and I met with assistant coach Joe Connor. He first took us over to the school cafeteria where we had lunch and talked about the lacrosse program. It was very laid back, but he was definitely into his team and their program. We then went over to the new Waldron Family Stadium. The weight room, offices and locker room were great. You definitely start thinking about your name over one of those lockers!

After the tour, we met with the head coach, Tom Gravante. I was a little nervous meeting him, because it was really the first coach I sat down with to talk about my strengths and weaknesses and how I would fit in. He wanted to know what other colleges I was visiting. I really didn't know what to say. I didn't want to list a bunch, because I didn't want to look like I just wanted to play lacrosse somewhere, but then I didn't want to say nothing and look like other coaches didn't want me! So, I told him three other schools.

The whole process took around four hours. Then we headed home. Everyone was very nice at Mount St. Mary's and the sports facilities were great, but I'm not sure if it's the right fit for me. We'll see. I planned to visit Hobart and Arizona State as September continued.
Wells helped LaSalle College (Pa.) to a state championship and the top position in Lacrosse Magazine's annual year-end high school rankings.
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