Playing college lacrosse is a dream come true for Austin Reda. The Huntington High School senior inked an NCAA Division I letter of intent to attend St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens and play on the Red Storm’s lax team.
“I chose St. John’s because the coaching staff made me feel very comfortable and I felt the campus was a good fit for me,” Mr. Reda said. “I value the balance between the very competitive Division I lacrosse program and the high quality education that St. John’s provides. I am weighing my options between business and psychology.”
Mr. Reda tallied 26 goals and 17 assists from his offensive midfielder as a junior. He’s expected to play a key role on the Blue Devil squad next spring. The teenager expressed thanks to Huntington coaches Kevin Travis, Julian Watts and Eric Triolo and Long Island Outlaws club coach Mike Brennan for their contributions to his success.
“I started playing lacrosse in first grade and was coached by my dad through seventh grade,” Mr. Reda said. “I knew in eighth grade that I wanted to play lacrosse in college. Until then, I was equally serious about basketball, but ankle injuries forced me to make the decision to stop playing after ninth grade.”
The highlight of Mr. Reda’s career up to this point has been being selected to play in the Long Island Showcase’s Nassau v. Suffolk Top 20 Rising Juniors Game. “We beat Nassau in a very competitive game,” he said.
The Huntington teenager said the individual who has had the “most profound impact” on his lacrosse career was the late Jerome Merkerson. “Merk was my trainer for years and taught me how to shoot and dodge,” Mr. Reda said. “But more importantly, he gave me a new outlook on lacrosse and made me tougher and more confidant, which has helped me on and off the field.”
Mr. Reda enjoys the off-field camaraderie just about as much as the on-field competition. “One of the best parts of playing lacrosse is the bond I have with my great teammates, specifically Garrett Moya, Matt Gelb, Ryan Stieve, James Shea and Matt Mattiace,” the senior said. “I will miss playing with them.”
A fine student, Mr. Reda has formed many relationships with the district’s teachers. “My experience at Huntington High School has been incredible,” he said. “I have made great friendships and learned a great deal. I truly enjoyed my time here. The teacher I have grown closest to at the high school is Ms. [Stacey] Byrnes, my junior year physics teacher. She is one of the nicest people I know and a great teacher who makes me and all her students feel comfortable in her classroom.”
The teenager cited high school faculty members Kelly Krycinski, Kenneth Donovan, Camille Tedeschi and Joseph Cohen as among “some of the other great teachers” he has studied under.
Mr. Reda is busy prepping for his final season in a Blue Devil uniform. “I enjoy all of our games, especially our home games and have extremely high expectations for our team this year as we aim to win a county championship,” he said.