One-on-One: Tate Jozokos ‘13 - Governor’s Academy (MA) Boys Lacrosse
Governor's Academy midfieder Tate Jozokos '13 began his final season of lacrosse in Byfield last week as he helped lead Gov's to a 2-0 start to the season. After leading Gov's to two straight undefeated ISL football championships, Bowl wins and ISL MVP honors Jozokos is looking to help lead Gov's to their third straight ISL lax championship.
The University of North Carolina commit and New Hampshire native has been one of the top middies in New England for the past two seasons and has also compiled one of the most decorated prep / private school athletic resumes in recent memory.
We caught up with Jozokos as he prepares for the stretch run of the 2013 season.
Can you talk a little about the preparation and excitement for your final season of lax at Gov’s?
TJ: My main focus coming into my senior year was to prepare myself for the next level. I want this year to continue to develop me so I can step on campus next year and play. But, I also came into this year looking to have the best final year of high school lacrosse that I can. As for the team, we are again very athletic and very talented at all positions. There is not one person that I would feel uncomfortable having possession of the ball as we are all focused on the same goal, winning the ISL.
You and your teammates have accomplished so much at Gov’s over the past three years. Can you talk about expectations that you have for this season as well as the overall success of the program during your time at Govs?
TJ: My main focus coming into my senior year was to prepare myself for the next level. I want this year to continue to develop me so I can step on campus next year and play. But, I also came into this year looking to have the best final year of high school lacrosse that I can.
As for the team, we are again very athletic and very talented at all positions. There is not one person that I would feel uncomfortable having possession of the ball as we are all focused on the same goal, winning the ISL.
The ISL is always so balanced year in and year out. There was no better evidence of this than last season with three teams tied at the top. Talk a little about the ISL this season?
TJ: Over the years the ISL has been one the stronger leagues top to bottom in New England and this year isn't any different. The level of competition gets tougher each year. That is the best thing about playing in the ISL because you must go into every game like it is a big game. If you're not prepared you never know when a team will surprise you. It is very difficult to pick the top teams in the ISL because of either new recruits or schools losing players to graduation, but I know every school in the ISL will give us a fight.
You and many of your lax teammates also shared success on the gridiron in the fall. Can you talk a little about the connection between football and lacrosse and the bonds that you have with so many of your teammates who play both sports?
TJ: The best way to describe the connection that my teammates, who play football and lacrosse, and I share, is that we have a desire to win. The success that we had on the lacrosse field has transferred onto the football field and vice versa. Everyone that was part of the New England Championships know the feeling of winning and have the desire to keep winning. That is something that the football players/ lacrosse players all share.
You were one of the first “early commitments” to UNC a couple years back. Can you talk about making that decision at an early age and the positives associated with that choice?
TJ: The process for me was quick. From the first phone calls and questionnaires to my decision took about 6 months. It was an unbelievable experience, one that every athlete dreams and looks forward to. It was an amazing process and I wouldn't do anything different. The perks of committing so early was the stress of deciding where to go to college was eliminated. I'm a goal oriented kid so having one school to focus on made it a lot easier to be successful in the classroom and athletically.
It is rare to see four future teammates at a big D1 program on the same high school team. Can you a little more about your fellow UNC committed teammates (Macri, Carper, and newcomer to Gov’s - Eddie Gilman?
TJ: I can say so much about the 3 of them. They are great kids off the field and on the field. To top it all off the are extraordinary athletes. I am glad that I am going to be able to have a four more years with these individuals.
Who is the top goalie and the top LSM that you have faced n New England both current and past?
TJ: The best goalie I have ever faced was probably Tyler Blaisdell from Thayer Academy. For the LSM it has to be Matt Ryan from Phillips Exeter.
Lastly, what is the best piece of advice you would give to a fellow top recruit looking at potential colleges or universities to attend?
TJ: My best piece of advice I would give to a fellow top recruit is the same that Coach Bidstrup gave to me. He said before my visits that if I got a career ending injury and couldn't play lacrosse again would I want to be at that school and if I could say, yes I found my school.
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