Ever since he was young boy, Emmaus lacrosse player Ben Sampson has always known where he wanted to go to college.
Earlier this month, he made that dream a reality.
“I have wanted to go to the Naval Academy since about the sixth grade,” said the 6-foot, 165-pound senior who made it known that he’s accepted a nomination to play Division 1 lacrosse in Annapolis. “It’s an opportunity for me to play for a great team and great coaches along with getting a great education. I also felt it was important for me to serve for something larger then myself by serving my country in the military.”
Sampson, a long stick midfielder, received his acceptance letter i.e. his “Letter of Assurance” guaranteeing him a spot in the Class of 2014. All that’s needed now is a nomination from Congressman Charlie Dent of the 15th District of Pennsylvania, according to Sampson.
Sampson chose the Naval Academy over rival United States Military Academy (Army). At Navy, he’ll major in Political Science and next year he will be joined by his Rebel Elite club teammate, Beau Gomez, a junior defenseman at Wissahickon High School who also gave his verbal commitment last week.
“When I went down there in early September, I was pretty much blown away and I knew the Naval Academy was where I wanted to go,” said Sampson.” “I was really impressed with coach (Richie) Meade’s attitude towards winning and obtaining success both on an off the field.”
Sampson is one of five Hornets to commit to a Division 1 school for coach Jef Hewlings. The others are defenseman Ty Souders (Lehigh), defenseman Mike Bender (Bellarmine University) and midfielder Tate Klidonas (Hartford). Attackman Will Scott is headed to Division III Dickinson and Alex Kuehner is considering several Division III colleges.
“He’s one of the best ground ball players I’ve ever coached,” said Hewlings. “He has outstanding stickwork and he’s anchored our clear for the past two seasons. He also runs the field extremely well and he can score if the situation presents itself. Ben will play LSM in college and will be a very valuable player as a wing on face-offs and in Navy’s transition game. Ben’s a winner – both as a player and a person – he’ll do well there.”
Navy finished 11-5 in 2009 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight year after upsetting top-seed Bucknell, 9-8, in the Patriot League Championship game. The Midshipmen were ousted by third-seeded Duke, 14-3, in the opening round.
Sampson helped Emmaus to a 19-5 overall record, the Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11 championships and into the PIAA quarterfinals.
He was a first-team All-LVC selection and a member of the Keystone State Games team which won gold this past summer at Penn State University. He was also voted first team Penn Valley Lacrosse League (PVLL) as a sophomore.
Before he heads off to the Naval Academy, Sampson says is looking forward to the upcoming season. Emmaus has a number of key returnees and will once again be a state contender.
“I’m very excited for this upcoming season,” he said. “We have a lot of guys that are extremely committed to success this year including our coaches. They have given us the opportunity to play the best competition in the state.
“All of us know how hard it is going to be to get to where we want to, but we are taking it one step at a time. Right now, we’re working hard in the weight room trying to get faster and stronger.”