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Submitted photosRyken's Mason Cook, top, and Matt Marquis will join Wingate this fall.
It's not uncommon for a team, after four years together, to begin to feel like a family.
In fact, athletes and coaches throw that term around quite often when referring to a school, team or program and they tend to take the concept quite seriously. It can sometimes be difficult then when the team is broken up, as is the case every year in high school, when the graduating class leaves.
But for two St. Mary's Ryken boys lacrosse players, spending four years as part of a family wasn't enough. Goalie Mason Cook and defenseman Matt Marquis both announced their intentions to attend Wingate University (N.C.), ensuring that their family affair will live on.
"Mason had visited the campus and he came back and told me that it was beautiful," Marquis said. "He had talked to the lacrosse coach and they were a pretty decent team."
Originally, Cook was recruited by the Bulldogs, while Marquis tried to decide whether or not he wanted to play college lacrosse.
But when Marquis heard all the good things Cook had to say about Wingate, he began to give it some serious thought.
After a bit of nudging from his current and future teammate, Marquis decided to give it a shot.
"Honestly, I was a little worried about playing lacrosse in college," Marquis said. "But I enjoyed it so much this year; I think I'm going to carry on."
Marquis was unsure of a major, but like many of his teammates, he said he might consider a career in the military, preferably the Marines or the Navy –– where he could follow in the footsteps of his father who is a Naval Academy graduate –– and said working in intelligence might be a goal for him.
"We felt Matt was one of the best long-stick middies in the whole conference this year," Sothoron said. "He had an outstanding year. … They're excited. I think it's a perfect opportunity for them."
For Cook, it didn't take any nudging or arm twisting to join Wingate.
"It's a nice environment," Cook said. "I really liked the campus. The lacrosse team looked really good, so that was a plus. It felt like a good choice for me."
Cook's plans for college are a little more definite than Marquis' as Cook said his likely major will be history. He also floated the idea of someday opening his own breakfast-themed restaurant.
Fortunately for these two, they may have an advantage when going to college, considering they will have the support of each other to lean on.
"I'm really excited," Cook said. "Matt is a great guy –– he is one of my best friends. Him being down there with me, it'll be a lot easier. Since we'll be eight hours away, it'll feel more like home with him there."
Added Marquis: "Being with my teammate is also another important reason [for choosing Wingate]. I like to be comfortable with my friends and going there with a friend already will be nice."