By MIKE SMITH
On Nov. 15, Harrison senior Jake Marino officially made his collegiate decision, signing his letter of intent to play lacrosse for the Minutemen at the University of Massachusetts.
For Marino, the announcement was merely a formality, as the senior had already made a verbal commitment to the university following his sophomore year.
The standout midfielder/attacker has been one of the section’s best players since making his debut on the varsity level as an eighth grader. Even as a youngster, Marino understood his ultimate goal would be playing lacrosse at the next level.
“I started to look at this when I got moved up to the varsity,” Marino said. “I started putting together highlight tapes and sending them out to coaches.”
Although Marino’s age prevented coaches from responding to him initially, the on-field play of the Husky left little doubt he had the talent to play at the next level. After an eighth-grade campaign that saw Marino tally 11 goals and 10 assists, he has matured into one of the best goal scorers in all of Section I.
In 2013, Marino tallied 36 goals on the year to compliment his 11 assists. Both numbers were high marks for the Huskies’ squad.
Marino’s play turned the heads of quite a few Division-I coaches, as the senior received looks from a number of programs, including West Point and High Point University in North Carolina. Ultimately, Marino felt at home at UMass, where he said the team’s playing style complimented his own.
“I look at the team there, and the athletes are all blue collar athletes,” he said. “I think I fit in well with that.”
Though Marino has had some contact with Minutemen coach Greg Cannella, he isn’t quite sure what role he will take with the team right away, though he does hope to contribute as a freshman.
“We haven’t spoken about where I’ll be playing,” Marino said. “But I do hope that I get to play some midfield.”
Before he suits up for UMass, Marino will have one more season at the forefront of the Huskies program. This year, he will look to lead the Huskies to an improvement over their 5-12 mark in 2013.
“This year, I’m really looking to dominate,” he said. “The goal is to maybe make All-American.”
As for Friday’s signing, the senior was grateful to see his friends, teammates and family all come out to watch him put pen to paper.
“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “I’m so happy for all the support I’ve gotten.”