COLLEGE LACROSSE: OWEGO'S GATTO SIGNS WITH HAMPTON
(2021-11-13)By TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
OWEGO — Matt Gatto has always wanted to play sports at the collegiate level. On Friday, the Owego senior took the next step in making that possible — signing his National Letter of Intent to play lacrosse at Division I Hampton University in Virginia.
A three-sport athlete, he chose the "10-man ride" even though he didn't pick up the sport until a few years ago.
"I always had a dream to play college sports. I didn't really care which one it was," he said. I didn't even start playing lacrosse until I came to Owego in eighth grade. And so as soon as I started playing lacrosse, I picked it up quick. I realized that I loved it and just kept rolling with it."
A STAC All-Metro second-team selection on defense, he plans on playing defender at Hampton.
"I'm pretty set on the staying with a long stick," he said. "I'm not too great with my shooting and stuff."
Owego lacrosse coach Andy Race believes the Pirates have inked a good all-around athlete and individual.
"I know Matt, the past two summers he's really been grinding, going to a lot of camps, a lot of clinics, and putting himself out there to really get seen on the lacrosse forefront," he said.
"He is a great kid on the field, off the field. He's a great leader for our program. I know for sure that Hampton is getting a phenomenal lacrosse player and even better guy."
When he started looking at schools, Gatto was expecting on staying closer to home.
"I was really more set on staying local," he said. "I was probably going to stay in New York or Pennsylvania. When the coach reached out to me, I was just set on it.
"They just have a really good lacrosse program that I liked. I really liked the coach. They've got a great coaching staff, played professional for awhile, and they also have really good programs for what I want to do in the medical field."
Gatto is looking at pursuing a career as a physician, or possibly pediatrics or something in sports medicine.
There is at least one other upside to going to school in Virginia.
"It's a long drive. It's about eight hours, 10 hours," he said. "It's a big drive for my mom, but it's right near the beach, so she thinks she's going to come down on break."
PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.
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