Jarred Bowe’s parents admit that lacrosse is an alien sport to them.
As a matter of fact, it was an alien sport to Bowe himself until three years ago—making the fact that he just signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Division I University of Delaware an impressive feat indeed.
The East Hampton senior spends the better part of his free time playing sports, having been an key member of the Bonacker football and basketball teams for his entire high school career. But it wasn’t until his sophomore year that he picked up a lacrosse stick, at the urging of friend Zach Brenneman. The Bonackers had been depleted by
graduation after a solid group of seniors helped East Hampton to a playoff berth in Class B. Brenneman, who is now playing at the University of Notre Dame, was the only returning starter and knew his team needed all the help it could get if it hoped to compete in Division II, arguably the most competitive league on Long Island. The same natural athleticism that made Bowe a force on the football field and a starter on the state-finalist basketball team translated immediately to the lacrosse field and before long, the Bonackers had a standout player on defense.
“Zach introduced me to the sport and I feel in love with it,” Bowe said, while surrounded by his parents, Chet and Daisy Bowe, and head coach Mike Vitulli during his signing at East Hampton High School on Friday. “It’s like basketball and football combined, with the contact and speed of football and the offensive mindset of basketball.”
Bowe has followed in a family tradition by earning an athletic scholarship to a Division I school. Both of his older brothers did the same—Troy Bowe played basketball at the University of Hawaii while Jonathan Bowe was a member of the track and field team at Hampton University.
All three brothers played football and basketball as well, sports which Chet and Daisy Bowe said were easier to watch because they were familiar with them. Now they say they’ll have a little catching up to do when it comes to understanding the intricacies of lacrosse.
“It’s totally different for us,” Mrs. Bowe said.
“I still don’t understand it,” Mr. Bowe added. “But I guess we’ll find out.”
Bowe himself will have plenty to learn when he joins the Delaware team in another year, but Vitulli isn’t worried about his ability to adjust. Neither is the Delaware coaching staff, which took an interest in Bowe after watching him during tryouts for the Empire State Games over the summer.
“Jarred’s athleticism is unbelievable,” Vitulli said. “Physically, he can do everything. He played three sports and he was good at all three. Not too many kids can do that.”
Delaware is one of the top lacrosse programs in the country and is usually ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
“To be recruited by them is a great accomplishment,” Vitulli said.
The Delaware coaching staff e-mailed Bowe after the Empires tryout, and it was the first school to get in touch with him. Sacred Heart University also expressed an interest, but later turned away from Bowe after filling the spot it had intended for him.
Bowe’s mother said she was skeptical of the recruiting process at first, given the fact that lacrosse wasn’t her son’s primary sport and given his relative inexperience.
“I was thinking to myself, do they really want this kid from East Hampton? Why are they so interested?” she said. “I knew he could make a difference on any team in any sport, but I thought, talk is cheap; I wasn’t settled until I saw the letter.”
Vitulli said he wasn’t surprised that the high-caliber program was interested in Bowe.
“College coaches realize that you can’t teach size and speed,” he said. “Jarred has both. He’ll have to play a lot of lacrosse to develop his stick skills, but those are coachable areas. He’s a Division I athlete.”
Vitulli added that many college coaches are interested in athletes like Bowe, who display a prowess for several sports.
“They want well rounded kids that don’t specialize in one sport,” he explained. “When you do a lot of different things, it develops all your muscles equally.”
Bowe said he felt that Delaware was a good fit for him, not only in athletics but in terms of academics. He said he was happy to see that Delaware has a major in communications, which he plans on studying.
“When I went there, they greeted me with open arms and I felt so comfortable,” he said.
Before heading off to college, Bowe will anchor the Bonacker defense as a long pole defenseman this spring, and Vitulli said that he’ll have to play as much lacrosse as possible—both during the spring and in the offseason—before he heads to Delaware.