Recruiting Advice from Instructor Mike Ruggerio

Mike began playing lacrosse when he was 11, and immediately fell in love with the game. In high school, he was not only a starter on his varsity team, but he became captain his senior year. After high school, he was recruited, and to this day continues to play college lacrosse. Mike is currently majoring in history and plans to go on to graduate school to continue his history degree. Check out what he has to say about his recruiting experience.

Where do you play college lacrosse and why did you choose that program?
Actually, I played at three different schools. Out of high school I got recruited to a D2 school in NC, Catawba College, and there were some transfer issues. I ended up red shirting it during my time there. It definitely wasn’t my first choice and it didn’t end up working out. I ended up going to junior college in PA for two years, and I didn’t like that too much. I didn’t look into junior college too well, but they had offered me money.
Now I play at Castleton State College, in Vermont. I love it. It actually was my number one choice out of high school, but money was tight at the time. It seemed like fate that I got a second opportunity this time around.

What other colleges did you consider and what was the determining factor in your decision?
I looked at Castleton and Catawba, and then I also Plymouth State and Southern Maine. Unfortunately, when it came down to it, the deciding factor ended up being where I got a scholarship.

Did you have any positive or negative surprises about the program once you were on campus?
Well, at Catawba I was surprised at cliquey the team was there. That could have been, and was probably just the year I was there, but it didn’t seem like a very big family atmosphere. Once I came to Castleton, however, everyone acted like family. The coaching style was different and everyone treated each other differently. We would hangout on and off the field. It became more of a second home, and it was exactly what I needed.

How did being a collegiate student-athlete shape your college experience?
Personally, being a student-athlete keeps me motivated and driven to make sure I do well on and off the field. In high school I struggled with keeping my grades up, but now that is such a larger factor in college and it is a direct correlation to my time on the field.. If I want to get playing time, I have to show I am serious in my academic life.

Given your recruiting experience, what advice or tips do you have for current recruits?
My advice for students going through the recruiting process would be that it is important to not just go with the money. Just because the school is throwing money at you doesn’t mean it is going to be the best fit. It is imperative to visit every school and see what the atmosphere is going to be when the kids are hanging out, especially away from the coaches.

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