Like many high school seniors, Vincentian's Nick Bencsics was in the process of deciding which college to attend last fall when he traveled to John Carroll University in suburban Cleveland for a 7-on-7 lacrosse tournament.
After a few days on the University Heights, Ohio, campus, there was little doubt in Bencsics' mind where he would be attending further schooling.
Bencsics made it official in April when he committed to the Blue Streaks for the start of the 2013-14 school year.
"I went up there for the 7-on-7 tournament and got to meet my future teammates and it was just a great time," Bencsics said. "That trip was the deciding factor for me."
The John Carroll men's and women's lacrosse teams will be competing at the NCAA Division III level for the first time this upcoming season after playing at the club level in recent years.
Bencsics said he is hoping to play right away in his freshman year.
"I think they said 50 percent of the team will be made up of freshmen and 50 percent will be returning players," he said. "I'm hoping to be able to start in my first year, but we'll see. I'm just going to work hard to be the best I can be."
Bencsics, a Ross Township resident, was one of the best in the area last season when he led Vincentian to the playoffs for the first time in his career.
He was a WPIAL Division 2 Section 3 all-star after leading the team in assists (61) and finishing second in goals (26).
"He is a very good all-around player," said Andy Bencsics, Nick's father and Vincentian's boys lacrosse coach. "He has good speed and endurance. He has great size at 6 feet 4. His weight hasn't caught up but that will come. And he has a very high lacrosse IQ."
Andy Bencsics, a Shaler Area High School alum, didn't play lacrosse until he was in college, but he taught his son the fundamentals at a young age.
Still, Nick Bencsics didn't start playing competitively until his freshman year with the Royals.
Along with lacrosse, Bencsics ran cross country for Vincentian. Running alongside 2012 WPIAL Class A champion Ryan Archer and his brother, Alex, helped Bencsics in his lacrosse career.
"We had a great cross country team," Bencsics said. "Ryan and Alex Archer really pushed all of us to be better and the endurance I gained came in handy in lacrosse, too."
And it was lacrosse that Bencsics wanted to pursue at the next level.
"I'm really excited for him," Andy Bencsics said. "I'd advise anyone to play a college sport, but it has to be something he wants to do because it's such a big commitment.
"But this is something he wanted to do. He really enjoys the game."