CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Drenched in sweat and coated in turf, the chimes of The Black Hole, the screams from his teammates, the gusts of wind, did not distract him from accurately snapping the ball to the punter.

Officially committed to the University of Connecticut as a long snapper on February 3, senior Nick Zecchino leaves just five days after graduation.

“I am definitely going to miss my friends and teammates,” stated Zecchino. However, he is excited to begin the next chapter in his life – college as a Division 1 athlete.

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The long snapper snaps the football from the center on kicking plays. Its importance lies in the timing, accuracy, and efficiency to properly snap the ball to the punter.

“This position isn’t as much pressure as being quarterback,” said Zecchino.

Beginning at the end of June, Zecchino relocates to UCONN, where he will be taking academic classes during the summer, called First Year Experience courses. As the preseason finishes, his mind will switch from prioritizing academics to success on the field. Once the team has their game opener, Zecchino will only be enrolled in one course. “The school offers me a lot of support during the season just in case I am struggling with any of my classes,” Zecchino elaborated.

“I visited the school once,  and I felt really comfortable with the campus,” said Zecchino. “The coaches were nice and all of the facilities are advanced.”

Upon visiting the university, the coaches provided him the opportunity to meet his future teammates. “I met some of the players on the team, and I am really excited to start playing with them,” he continued.

Reflecting on this achievement he recollected, “My dad helped me through this whole process by giving me advice. He went through the same process as I did; he had an idea about what to do and what to say.”

Since freshmen year, Zecchino consumed the pressure of being a long snapper for the Cedar Grove Panthers. Now, on his next venture, he seeks to be the long snapper of the University of Connecticut Huskies.

Zecchino concluded, “I feel confident and ready to just get started on the field.”

Rachel Bucchino is a senior at Cedar Grove High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove.