Nick Garofano was originally recruited by Williston to play hockey. As a football running back, however, he eventually would rush for more yards and score more points than any player in school history. So what Division 1 sport will the Yorktown Heights, NY, senior be playing next year at the U.S. Military Academy?
Lacrosse, of course.
Mr. Garofano, a three-sport athlete and four-year honor student, signed his national letter of intent with Army West Point Wednesday in a ceremony in the Dodge Room of the Reed Campus Center. He’ll be joining a Black Knights lacrosse team coached by Joe Alberici that reached the Patriot League championship game last year and took the league title in 2010. “On his visit to West Point, he just fell in love with the whole place,” recalls his father, Ralph. “The coaches were just awesome and stayed in touch with him.”
In his three seasons of lacrosse at Williston, Mr. Garofano has scored a total of 77 goals with 69 assists. He was named 1st team All WNESSLA Division 2 after his sophomore season and his junior season, and he was selected as the William LaBelle Offensive player of the year for WNESSLA Division 2 after his junior season. As a player, he has stood out for his athleticism, his strength, and his determination, says his coach Christopher Dietrich. “He’s faster than most of the people who try to cover him. He’s got a really strong shot. He’s just a relentless competitor.”
That same competitive fire also came to serve him well in school, once Nick arrived at Williston, says his father. “He just jumped on board and became very intense in the classroom,” he recalls. “I don’t know if he would have been able to go to an Ivy League-type school or a West Point and be prepared in the classroom without going to Williston. I know he wouldn’t.” Adds his mother, Anna, “His determination and perseverance have made him a well-rounded young man. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
For his part, Nick credits Williston with providing him with a challenging but supportive environment. “What is so special about the program is that my coaches and teammates all want to see me succeed and pushed me to the best of my abilities, something that is very important to me,” he says. At the same time, says his father, Nick always pushed himself. “He woke up in the morning and went to the gym, always watches what he eats, lifts like a maniac,” he says. “He works hard.”
As dedicated as he is to lacrosse, Nick is not ruling out continuing his football career at West Point. That would not surprise his Williston coaches. “There is no question in my mind that Nick would be a tremendous college football player,” says Mark Conroy, Williston’s director of athletics and head football coach. “He is the finest running back I have had the privilege of coaching during my career.”
Whatever he ends up pursuing, Nick is sure to approach it with that same determination that helped him set athletic records at Williston, say his coaches. As an example, Mr. Dietrich recalled a lacrosse game last year against Taft. “The boy who was covering Nick was a senior, a very, very good defensemen. Nick has a competitive fire. When he is playing against someone who is supposed to be better than him, who is supposed to shut him down, those often are his best individual performances. We won that game 9 to 8.”
As for Nick, he had 5 goals and 3 assists.
View photos from the signing ceremony on Williston’s Flickr site.