St. John's Eagles Football '07

Prep's Whitney going to Hamilton

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Friday, February, 22 By Jean DePlacido

John Whitney lives so close to St. John's Prep that he can cut across the athletic fields to get to class.

But next year, his commute will be a bit longer than across the street from his Danvers home.

Whitney, who plays both football and lacrosse at St. John's, will do the same thing next year when he attends Hamilton College in upstate New York.

"I made a double overnight visit there | football one night and lacrosse the next," said Whitney, a punter and Catholic Conference All-star at safety for the Eagles. "It all just clicked for me; I knew that was where I wanted to spend the next four years.

"Both the football and lacrosse coaches told me right away that I was in, but it wasn't official until my letter arrived this week."

Whitney, who is a captain-elect for the St. John's lacrosse team, really wanted to continue to play both sports at the next level while not sacrificing anything academically. He probably won't do any more punting, but plans on seeing time on the defensive side of the ball for the liberal arts college in Clinton, N.Y.

Prep football coach Jim O'Leary believes he found the perfect school.

"It's a great NESCAC school, and (Continentals football coach) Steve Stetson coached with me at UNH," said O'Leary. "John ran the secondary for us and was our punter for a couple of years. He's a good, solid player who has a bright future."

Whitney made his decision via the Early Decision-2 route after checking out Bowdoin, Holy Cross, Boston College, Fordham, Colgate, Northeastern, Harvard and Dartmouth.

"Hamilton was tops on my long list, with Bowdoin a close second," said Whitney, who has a 4.2 grade-point average. "Sports was important, but not the only reason for my choice. I wanted to make sure I liked a college enough to want to be there even if I got hurt (from playing sports). Being able to play both is a great situation for me; it's a luxury NESCAC programs make possible.

"I'm really excited about our St. John's lacrosse season. We have a really good team and have been playing indoors in Acton to get ready."

At Hamilton the football team plays in the NESCAC while lacrosse is currently in the Liberty League. Rob Gannon of Saugus is a cornerback for the Continentals.

"I was told they have plans to go all NESCAC," said Whitney, a defenseman in lacrosse. "The football team has been a member for a long time.

"I am really glad the whole process is over. My sister Olivia, who is a junior at Pingree and also plays sports (field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse) got the whole tour, too. Hopefully, it will make her decision easier."

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