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Jackson Appelt’s first introduction to the coaches at his eventual college destination came as an 8-year-old. That’s when the rising sophomore at New Canaan High School (CT) attended Dom Starsia’s Graves Mountain Lacrosse Camp.
“Ever since then, I have felt passionate about Virginia lacrosse,” said Appelt, whose verbal to the Cavaliers was reported when it was made by Joe Lombardi on LaxLessons.com’s Lacrosse Insider premium coverage section. “I was fortunate to to get to know Coach Starsia and (Virginia Assistant) Coach (Mark) Van Arsdale at Graves Mountain and I always thought it would be an honor to play for such accomplished coaches.
Appelt was familiar with UVa long before attending camp. His father Garth Appelt, the president of New Canaan’s youth program, was a two-time All-America for the Cavaliers. A 1991 UVa grad, Garth Appelt was a member of the first USA U19 Team in 1988 which won the World Championship in Adelaide, Australia.
The 5-foot-7, 150-pound Appelt is a feeder/finisher with outstanding field vision who has a knack for finding the open man in good position to score, especially from the X position. He can also create scoring opportunities for himself with a variety of dodge moves.
Appelt has also found the time to become involved with an organization that has special meaning to him and several of his teammates, who have gotten together with players from Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership to start the first lacrosse-based chapter, Lacrosse the World, of the Build On organization.
“Our goal is to use lacrosse and the lacrosse community as a vehicle to fight poverty and illiteracy,” Appelt said. “This fall we will be starting our fundraising campaign to build a school abroad and bring the sport of lacrosse to the global community.
“Our hope is that other players around the country will join or donate to our chapter and use the gift of lacrosse to make a difference in the world.
Donations may be made by visiting here.
Now, here’s a Q&A with Jackson on his commitment.
What were the main factors in your decision?
My parents have continuously stressed the importance of education and I’ve always wanted to put myself in the best position to maximize my academic potential. When making this decision, academics were my first and foremost priority.
I am very honored to be part of such a respected lacrosse tradition and an historically rich academic culture.
The University of Virginia offers the perfect blend of academic rigor and athletic excellence. The entire athletic program at UVa is one of the most respected in the nation. I am humbled and honored to be part of the Cavalier tradition.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I considered Harvard, Penn, Denver, Cornell, Princeton, Hopkins and Maryland other than Virginia. I visited Harvard, Penn, Cornell, Princeton and Hopkins.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
I pride myself in my ability to facilitate and help control the offense. My quickness and dexterity attacking both sides of the cage allow me to be a threat as a dodger and passer.
I am always trying to be an intelligent player on the field and know how to read and react to defenses. I know that grit and heart are as important as skill.
What area of your game do you need to work on?
I need to continue to improve my off-hand, especially turning the corner and outside shooting. I also want to continue to improve my off-ball play and riding hard throughout the entire game.
How did you get introduced to lacrosse and what other sports have you played?
Lacrosse has been in my family for three generations. My grandfather, Jon Appelt, was a high school coach in Maryland. My father (UVa grad Garth Appelt) and grandfather were both accomplished Division I lacrosse players who introduced me to lacrosse in kindergarten in New Canaan. I also play football, basketball, golf, and enjoy skiing.
What travel team do you play on what showcase events did you participate in?
I play for the Eclipse Lacrosse Club 2017 team. I participated in Legacy Showcase and Jake Reed Nike Blue Chip Rising Sophomores this summer. I also participated in several college one day showcases.
Any final thoughts?
I would first like to thank my father. He first showed me the game of lacrosse when I was a young boy and ever since has continued to motivate me to aspire to be the best player and person I can be. He coached me for most of my youth career and taught me many skills and lessons that made me the player I am today.
I am also very grateful for my mother’s unconditional support and guidance. She’s always encouraged and believed in me. Moreover, she has taught me that having integrity and character is the most important thing in life.
My whole family has ingrained in me the value of translating lessons learned on the field into other areas of my life.
I would then like to thank my grandfather, Jon Appelt. He has always been one of my biggest supporters and worked incredibly hard to help me become a better player. He has driven countless miles from Baltimore to Connecticut and back with my grandmother to see me play and also to coach my Eclipse team this summer.
I would also like to thank my football coach Tom O’Dea. He taught me the importance of attention to detail and he always believed in me. His faith in me helped me gain confidence as an athlete.
I am extremely thankful to my coaches Chip Buzzeo, Mike Regan and Jamie Hanford.
All three coaches have had a profound impact on my development as a player and an athlete. Most importantly, they have each, in their own way, educated me about the roots and traditions of lacrosse. They wanted me to always remember that this game is a gift and should be played with passion. It is from them that I really learned to appreciate the opportunity I am given to be part of such a great tradition and sport. I will honor them with my effort and commitment to excellence.
Lastly, I would like to thank Coach Dom Starsia, Coach Mark Van Arsdale and the entire Virginia coaching staff for giving me the incredible opportunity to be part of the UVA lacrosse tradition. I look forward to being mentored and coached by such inspirational individuals.
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