By Paul Lonardo
Earlier this fall, millions of young students left their families and their homes to pursue an education at colleges and universities all around the country. Smithfield’s Nathan Gentile is one of those students. The nineteen year old recently began his freshman year at Georgetown University, one of the country’s most prestigious universities, located in Washington, D.C. It is the oldest Catholic school in the United States, boasting many notable alumni, including former President Bill Clinton and former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Gentile and his family were well aware that Georgetown has a lot to offer its students, but something else that the school offered him was a lacrosse scholarship. These factors combined influenced the scholar-athlete to choose Georgetown over a number of other schools that were interested in him.
Gentile grew up in Smithfield, and was in Gallagher Middle School when he left in the eighth grade for the Rectory School, a junior prep school in Connecticut. The following year he was admitted to nearby Pomfret School, a preparatory boarding school where he went to high school.
Gentile had always been athletic in his youth, but lacrosse was not a sport he played until he was in 7th grade. Growing up, he played baseball, basketball, and in particular hockey, which he liked the most and quickly excelled.
Gentile believes that his hockey background was a big advantage for when he strapped on lacrosse pads for the first time.
“I wasn’t particularly good at lacrosse when I first started,” Gentile admits, “but I kept at it and it was something that became pretty natural.”
So natural, in fact, that after four years playing lacrosse at Pomfret (as well as hockey), he caught the attention of several colleges. Besides Georgetown, the other schools who recruited the U.S. lacrosse All-American and student who earned a 3.63 GPA included Army West Point, Cornell, Boston and Bryant Universities.
“Like hockey,” Gentile says, “lacrosse is a super physical game, maybe even more so. It requires a lot of grit, which is something that has always appealed to me.”
Gentile is regarded as a harsh and tenacious defender who is very talented with the stick. He is a disruptive force, with a knack for getting the ball on the ground, according to Casey Vock, content editor for 3d Rising, a network of writers, scouts and coaches who monitor the lacrosse landscape and evaluate and report on the top talent across the country. He scraps and finds a way to come up with the ball, and is really heady when carrying up the field, able to evade traffic and protect the stick, Vock adds.
Clearly Gentile is a hardworking, hard-hitting player, whose name belies his approach to the game.
“It’s fun to be able to go out there and do what I love, and beat people up in the process” Gentile says.
With a full slate of classes and practicing every day, he is adjusting to life in a major university. It is lot different from Pomfret, where he was one of 350 students, compared to Georgetown which has close to two thousand in his freshman class alone.
“Being on a team has definitely helped me to acclimate to the whole process,” Gentile says. “It’s been fun so far. It’s only been a couple weeks, but it feels like a couple of months.”
Gentile dreams of playing professional lacrosse, but he understands the odds, so he just continues to work hard and have fun. He is studying finance at Georgetown, and if becoming a professional athlete is not in the cards, he aspires to work on Wall Street. With the strong foundation that begins with his family, whom Gentile fully credits for supporting him in his desire to play hockey since he was young, he’s sure to be successful no matter what he does. Whether competing on the manicured grass and field turf surfaces of the lacrosse field or in the concrete jungle of financial district on the streets of lower Manhattan, we wish him luck.