By Zach Smart
In order for one to be part of the athletic community as a player, they must be a student first. It’s the most mundane, overused cliché that’s been recycled by coaches everywhere.
They are still imperative words of warning powerful enough to send even the most indifferent fifth-year senior to the library.
Even at the prototype “dumb jock” schools and Universities routinely ducking the long arm of the NCAA clearing house after using academically ineligible players, athletes are cognizant that academics are first on the agenda.
At Mahopac, student-athletes know the immeasurable potency of the pencils outweighs any other facet of their young lives. This mentality has been ingrained in these kids from the very start. Mahopac is a Blue Ribbon school of excellence.
Located in an area recognized for SAT and ACT prep classes, college counselor services, and tutors, the emphasis on academics is always present. It is simply the Westchester Way.
For a Mahopac lacrosse team decked with conscientious students, goalkeeper Brandon Crecco exemplifies academic prestige.
The senior, headed to Vassar in nearby Poughkeepsie, boasts a 107.0 weighted GPA. His course load includes AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Government and Politics, and a bevy of others.
Not too shabby for a second semester senior, given the debilitating, laziness-inducing illness known as senioritis.
Crecco is interested in pursuing Biomedical engineering. Ceramics and art have evolved into engaging subjects as well.
Vassar’s unique blend of the sciences and art helped draw Crecco. The personality and win-now mentality of head coach Marc Graham, a defensive guru (Graham served as the defensive coordinator at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.) helped sell Crecco on the burgeoning lacrosse program.
A key recruiter during his stay at Trinity, Graham has tapped into recruiting markets from Long Island to Colorado.
“(Graham) is a relatively new coach and he’s trying to get a lot of new recruits and amp up the program,” said Crecco, a captain who backbones the Indians’ callow defense alongside senior long stick middie Brendan Hynes.
Crecco played a major role in helping the Indians gut out a 6-5 victory against pesky Brewster last week. He registered eight saves, but it was two crucial stops down the stretch that closed the deal for Mahopac.
That win snapped an agonizing two-game skid. The road ahead does not get much easier for Mahopac (5-3).
The Indians renew a cross-town rivalry with plenty-tough Yorktown (8-1) at Mahopac High tomorrow. The Huskers are coming off back-to-back wins against CT power Darien and Somers.
“They’re all really good shooters,” said Crecco. “They’re all scoring threats, all game.”
Crecco found lacrosse almost by accident.
As a fifth-grader, he wasn’t too hyped about playing the outfield on a local baseball team. Then he spotted a horde of his friends carrying lacrosse sticks, pads, and helmets en route the turf. They implored him to ditch the glove and toss the rock around with them.
Taking them up on the offer, Crecco had discovered his new labor of love.
For a young man known for his wisdom, Crecco made a smart decision.