On­te­ora star earns Di­vi­sion I schol­ar­ship

On­te­ora star, Free­man Sportsper­son of Year signs Na­tional Let­ter of In­tent with Bearcats

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Stribl mstribl@free­manon­line.com @MStribl on Twit­ter

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.

TANIA BARRICKLO — DAILY FREE­MAN

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.

FILE PHOTO

Justin Lane is the first On­te­ora golfer to earn a Di­vi­sion I schol­ar­ship.

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