| November 15, 2011 - "The main thing was the coach," explained Alex Paroda when asked why he decided to sign his National Letter of Intent to play at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland. "Tom Gravante displayed a lot of character and a lot of things I look for in a coach. He seemed to take the players under his wing and treat them as more than just lacrosse players."
Fans of upstate lacrosse remember that Gravante was a standout player at West Genesee High School in the '80s and played on four national championship teams at Hobart before starting his coaching career at "The Mount" in 1993. He was named Head Coach in 1995.
After taking an official visit (on Halloween weekend), and spending time on the campus, Alex knew that he had found his school. He was also excited about the team's schedule. "The first four games we play this year are top-ten teams. We've got Delaware, Georgetown, Towson and Maryland. I really want to play that kind of intense style." The Mount plays in the Northeast Conference (NEC), a twelve team league that includes Bryant, Sacred Heart and Robert Morris. Mount St. Mary's has won the league title in both the last two years.
Most of the team is made up of players from Maryland and Alex is expected to be the only Section Five player on the roster next fall. He listed Loyola and Sacred Heart as his other top choices, and both schools recruit heavily in the Section.
Before he leaves town, he has one more year at McQuaid Jesuit. "I feel like we are going to have a good season. We have a lot of different threats this year. It's not just one person, so it's going to be hard for other teams to defend against us. We have a solid attack and one of the best goalies in Section Five (Pat Sheridan). We have a solid defense, so I think it's going to be one of our best years."
Alex says the credit for his success goes to his father, John, as well as his numerous coaches at McQuaid and his club team (Blaze). He plans on working on shot accuracy and "putting on a few pounds" before he leaves next fall.
More images are available in the gallery.