Onteora star earns Division I scholarship
Onteora star, Freeman Sportsperson of Year signs National Letter of Intent with Bearcats
Justin Lane became Onteora High’s first golfer to get a Division I college scholarship after signing his National Letter of Intent Wednesday morning to attend Binghamton University.
“I’m very excited for our program to have a player of Justin’s caliber joining us,” Bearcats coach Bernie Herceg said. “He’s such a great talent.”
Lane became the first to win both the Woodstock and Wiltwyck club championships last year and was the Freeman’s Sportsperson of the Year. He became the second youngest to win the Ulster County Men’s Amateur Championship (Herdegen) this past summer. He repeated as Wiltywck champion and was runner-up at Woodstock.
The 17-year-old Lane received an athletic scholarship that covers 80 percent of his tuition, room and board plus books. This is before any academic scholarships are added. He will major and attend Binghamton’s School of Management.
Lane was originally headed out of state. He had verbally committed last year to Maryland.
“This past spring I had a little change of heart,” he admitted. “I was not entirely sure if I had made the right decision, because obvi-
ously I was still very young, very early in the process. I know one time me and my dad talked about, ‘You know, if you’re having second thoughts ...’”
“At the time, it was a tough decision to make. The reason I probably had chosen Maryland was because I wanted to go to a big school with the whole Big Ten atmosphere,” he said, “which is understandable because it might not be the most smart thing for someone to do.”
He had also visited Binghamton, Jacksonville, Rutgers, Siena and the Naval Academy during his initial college search.
“I talked to the coach at Binghamton and asked if the offer was still there and
he said yes,” Lane said. “I talked it over with my family. For me it was the right decision to switch and go there both financially and athletically.
“I really liked the coach a lot and the facilities out there are fantastic and are close to home. The amenitites of being an athlete are really nice and, financially, it was smarter.”
Lane had some misgivings about the much larger Maryland.
“It’s not necessary for what I had in mind. Obviously, the goal was to play golf and do well in school but, at a school like that, sometimes those things can get lost,” he said.
“In March, I thought, ‘Maybe I should revisit the situation again. It probably happened within a week or two when I completely changed. It happened very quick. It made more sense
after sitting on it a couple of months.
“It wasn’t a sudden epiphany, but it did make more sense after looking at it and taking more time to make a decision.”
“I was a little bit surprised to hear from him,” Herceg said.
“He was obviously not expecting a call back,” Lane said. “I think what helped me was that he hadn’t really been recruiting much more over the winter, so it wasn’t like people had taken my spot, so that worked to my benefit.”
Herceg noted Lane’s experience of playing in tournaments of all levels.
“He has such a drive and ambition,” added Herceg, who also praised Lane’s maturity and character. “Without a doubt, he was a highly recruited player and we’re thrilled to get him. He’s a game changer,
an impact player.”
Lane revealed that he looked at nowhere else but Binghamton and, had that fallen through, he would have remained at Maryland.
“If he (Herceg) would have said, ‘No, there is no spot,’ I would have stayed.
“The whole situation up there is better for me,” he noted. “Since I made the decision, I’ve been there probably three times. We went out most recently in early October for their home tournament. I spent the weekend up there.
“I’ll probably go and take another visit and stay with the guys in the dorms sometime in the winter.”
Lane will keep in the shape in the weight room over the winter. His spring plans include the Section 9 state qualifier tourney and, in June, defending his Herdegen title.
Justin Lane signs letter of intent to attend Binghampton University. Surrounding him are, from left, golf coach Scott Via, Onteora Principal Lance Edelman, sister Nicole Lane, mother and father Tracy and Kevin Lane, and Athletic Director Lou Cioffi.
Justin Lane is the first Onteora golfer to earn a Division I scholarship.