NEW PROVIDECE, NJ – In the history of New Providence High School’s boys’ lacrosse program, there has never been an athlete go on to play at a Division 1 school. That streak ended last week, when senior attacker James Burke signed a National Letter of Intent to play lacrosse at Boston University.
Athletic Director Robert Harmer officially made the announcement in front of a packed room of Burkes’ family, coaches and peers on Friday in the high school library.
“I want to congratulate you and your family for doing such an outstanding job here at New Providence and being a Pioneer on the soccer field, on the lacrosse field,” Harmer said. “I am looking forward to your spring season. I know we have a lot of expectations and hopefully they will come through.”
Burke’s recruitment lasted a little over six months, before he gave a verbal commitment to BU during an official visit.
“I’m so excited,” he said. “Its an awesome opportunity. It is everything I wanted. It is a great academic school. Its going to be exciting being on a D-1 school.”
The two-sport athlete was also a strong contributor to the boys’ soccer team before their season ended with a quarterfinal loss to Brearley on Nov. 8.
Head boys lacrosse coach Vinny Carangelo said Burke “has been an integral part of the lacrosse program since the first day he walked onto the field.”
“He has an excellent skill set. He not only can drive the cage and make people miss, he has enate ability to hide the ball from people,” Carangelo said. “His numbers are usually pretty equal in assists and goals, which is something that you love to see, as supposed to someone who is just a goal scorer. That is why he is so special.”
Burke joins senior girls’ lacrosse player Jill Balog as the first two Pioneers to sign National Letters of Intent this year. Both players attribute their success to the atmosphere at New Providence High School.
“I’ve always had great coaches who have really motivated me,” Burke said. “They have instilled in me good groundwork to be successful.”
While he is excited to be the first boys’ lacrosse player to sign with a Division 1 program, Burke thinks there will be many more in the future.
“I think its awesome,” Burke said. “I think at the rate we’re growing as a program and a school, there will be many more to come.”
Burke and the boys lacrosse program have been on the rise the last few seasons, winning the program’s first conference title last season, while advancing deep into the state playoffs. That is an accomplishment he hopes to top during his final season as a Pioneer.