SOMERS, N.Y. – Playing a sport at the college level is difficult but playing at the Division 1 level is even tougher.
Somers resident Kevin McKenna, a rising senior at Stepinac High School, has verbally committed to do just that and play both lacrosse and football for the University of Utah
McKenna had already committed to the university for lacrosse back in the spring, and when he discovered that a one-day prospect camp would be held for football in July, he booked his plane ticket months in advance.
After putting on a stronger performance against tougher competition than usual, McKenna was approached by the coaching staff pretty quickly.
He informed running backs coach Kyle McDonald that he was attending Utah anyway next fall on a lacrosse scholarship, and the rest was history as his roster spot as a slot back came about like magic.
A very fast 40-yard dash turned heads, but even more so were the one-on-one routes that the senior ran. McKenna’s footwork was sharp and he was losing his man nearly every time.
It’s double pleasure for McKenna, who had already fallen in love with the university during a visit last winter after he was contacted about playing lacrosse there.
“Utah was one of the first schools that contacted me,” McKenna said. “It took me by surprise at first. I started texting back and forth with all of the coaches, and I went out there for two days to spend time with some of the players. There was nothing bad about the school up there and I loved all of the people I met. It was a really great experience.”
McKenna also had offers from Sacred Heart, Lehigh, Marist, Stony Brook, and the Air Force Academy.
“I’m super pumped to be out there next year,” McKenna said. “The two-sport thing will be difficult but if I keep doing what I do now (keeping in shape), I’ll be good to play next season. The way that the coaches thrive with the kids up there is great.”
A unique and versatile midfielder, McKenna credits his toughness as to why he was so sought after.
“One of the things that the coaches made evident to me is that I am a very tough player,” McKenna said. “He saw in the film how I hit and I can play both offense and defense to stay on the field. I just like to help in any aspect I can.”
On the gridiron, McKenna was even more noted at Stepinac for playing an instrumental part in two straight state championships and looking for a three-peat this season. He’s optimistic they will get it done.
“I’m really confident [about this year],” McKenna said. “We have a lot of young guys that are going to step up. If we just keep it going a whole season, we’ll have a great year.”
The third-year starter returns at linebacker and at running back on offense for the established program, and he’s got some big plans.
“I want to make my last year count and make it the best year that I have,” McKenna said. “I don’t want to waste it. I’m going to leave it all here and give 100 percent in the classroom and on the field. I definitely want to get another ring for football and a lacrosse ring. I want to take it one step at a time this year.”
But most of all, McKenna is psyched about by his upcoming experience at Utah.
“Everything about the campus stuck out to me,” McKenna said. “I thought about the pros and cons, and there really were no cons. The atmosphere on the campus is very modern and the people there are super nice. The campus is very nice and so are the athletic facilities. I see myself fitting in perfectly.”