by Kevin Brown
Local resident Ben Parens, a 2014 graduate of Sleepy Hollow High School and lacrosse player at Connecticut College, has been named to both New England Small Athletic Conference First-Team and U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-American First Team.
Parens posted a remarkable season playing for the Camels and was ranked 18th in the nation for Division III schools on face-offs, a hugely important edge in competitive lacrosse. His .658 face-off winning percentage ranked 23rd in the country to go along with an average of 7.38 ground balls per game.
“There was no doubt that Ben was going to be successful playing at Connecticut College,” Sleepy Hollow Varsity Coach Gary DiVico said. “He didn’t just like lacrosse, he loved it. He constantly carried his stick around and practiced every second he could. And, on the field Ben was a fiery competitor. But the most impressive thing about Ben is how he is always there to give back. Even now when he is home, he comes to practices and clinics to try and help the next generation toward success.”
Lacrosse has grown in prominence at Sleepy Hollow High School since Parens was a youngster. He had to play in every summer league and competitive Westchester situation he could find. Reflecting upon what he did to compete at such a high level, Parens said, “Everyone plays wallball and lifts weights, but the adjustment from high school to college is a tough one. Everyone at college level was their high school team’s best player, so separating yourself comes down to how much individual work you want to put in. That work ethic was instilled in me by my parents and Coach Divico and Coach Villanueva, and it made my transition to college ball fairly smooth.”
So many students head to off to college to compete in athletics but find the rigors of academics and college sports too overwhelming. Parens shared, “Connecticut College is a very challenging academic school as well as being top notch in lacrosse. During the season, you have to plan on four to six hours out of your day devoted to just lacrosse, so getting all of your school work done early is a must. While it is stressful at times, I found that lacrosse forced me to manage my time better.”
“It is great to see the Sleepy Hollow program help players excel at the next level, and we expect even greater success when kids see how successfully recruited our players are at competitive colleges and universities.” DiVico beamed.