By Rob LeDonne
It’s safe to say that Torrey Pines High School’s Beau Botkiss will be playing lacrosse for many years to come. A downright guarantee can even be made about it, because even though Botkiss is only just now wrapping the fall of his sophomore year, he has already committed to play for Cornell University, one of the country’s top collegiate teams.
“The whole process is starting so much earlier now,” explains Botkiss, who realizes how unusual it is (or used to be) for a high school sophomore to commit to a college. Recently growing more common, this trend has taken hold after many colleges are increasingly going all-out to recruit the best athletes the nation’s high schools have to offer.
“If one college starts recruiting early, they all start doing it because they don’t want to miss the talent,” said Botkiss. It’s a cycle that, by all accounts, is becoming a collegiate norm.
Botkiss began his journey in the world of lacrosse when he was only in fifth grade. “One of my best friends played, and I decided to play too.” Those humble beginnings as part of the Rancho Santa Fe Eagles cultivated a passion for lacrosse that has lasted ever since. “The first year I ever played I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. “When you’re young, you switch positions every quarter. Halfway through the season, I started liking defense and ever since it’s been my position.”
Joining the team at Torrey Pines his first year of eligibility, Botkiss honed his skills as a defense player and colleges began to take notice. Of course it didn’t hurt that the Torrey Pines team only lost three games his freshman year and went onto grab the CIF Championship for San Diego. However, he did not play in a tournament heavily attended by college recruiters until this past summer when he played in a tournament in Pennsylvania.
There, through his coach, Botkiss got to know Cornell’s recruiter, and a few months later he flew back east and visited the university’s campus in upstate New York. While there, Botkiss realized Cornell would be a perfect match for him and signed on the dotted line to attend and play for their team, the Big Red.
“The East Coast is still a lacrosse hotbed,” noted Botkiss of the sport originally played by Native Americans, then popularized by European immigrants. Lacrosse, after all, roughly translates to “the stick” in French. Joining Cornell’s ranks is a definite coup for any student athlete; the team has qualified for the NCAA tournament twice in the past three years, and last year current player Rob Pannell won the prestigious Tewaaraton Award, given to the top player in the sport.
“My parents are a little nervous because it’s so early, but they’re very excited I got into such a great school and have this opportunity,” he said regarding the peace of mind about his early commitment. For now, Botkiss still has the rest of his sophomore, junior, then senior year to enjoy high school, all leading up to his four years at Cornell. That means he has his time planned out from now until the summer of 2020. How many people can say that?!