Coached By: Joe Cuozzo
Most of Ward Melville's top players have worn the white, green and gold colors of the Three Village School District since they were old enough to pick up a lacrosse stick. And while that's partially true for Nick Miaritis, he did have a slight hiccup from Melville in 9th and 10th grades when he played at the Stony Brook School.
"I wanted to play at the highest level, so I transferred back to Three Village," says Miaritis, who had friends at Stony Brook that moved away and the program took a nose drive rather quickly. "It was like I arrived back home. All my friends were at Melville. I never really knew coach Cuozzo or coach Hoppey, but the second I got there I was embraced."
Right away, Miaritis prospered from Cuozzo's confident coaching style.
"They knew exactly what the game plan was," he says. "They got you into the system and because you grew up watching the guys before you, there was never a doubt in your mind that you wouldn't win. You always assumed that Melville pride. You assumed that if I'm not playing for a county or state championship than something's going wrong."
In Miaritis' junior season Melville captured a state title and during his senior year the Patriots lost to Sachem in the Suffolk County semifinals. He also won a NYS title in soccer in the fall of 1999. Adversity set in when he injured his right knee, forcing him to miss five games and to play the rest of the season in pain. He finished his senior season with 26 goals and 12 assists, a drop in production from his 70-point junior season (43 goals).
He also did a remarkable charitable task his senior year. After Louis Acompora had passed away playing lacrosse, primarily because there were no defibrillators present to save his life, Miaritis was inspired to help.
"I was touched after I met his parents," says Miaritis, who was wearing an Acompora bracelet during the interview for this story. "There was a real problem in sports in general with there being no defibrillators on the field."
Miaritis held a lacrosse drive, selling old equipment and donating the proceeds.
"The Northport guys were amazed by it," he says. "They thought it was cool that someone from a rival team was doing this. I remember that feeling better than scoring a goal. It comes from a deep seeded thing from my parents. People are blessed to play an awesome sport and play at beautiful facilities and it's almost like there is an obligation to help as much as you can."
For that, Miaritis earned the Enners Award in 2001. It was well deserved.
"I played at Georgetown and was an All-American, but for me the Enners Award is the only thing I really cherish," he says. "The other stuff is kind of nice, but to be put in the same camp as some of the other people that have won it is such an honor. It transcends sports. It's not always about who scored the most goals, it's the meaningful stuff that creates something special that is bigger than sports."
At Georgetown, he was a team captain and had a very respectable career. His fond memories don't lie in big games or thrilling goals, but revolve around meaningful excursions. The Hoyas played Syracuse in Los Angeles at the Home Depot Center in a lacrosse ambassador game, helping to spread the game across the country. Like always, Miaritis was helping people.
Today, he works for Saatchi & Saatchi, an ad agency. Whenever you see the jolly big man on the Miller High Life commercials think of Miaritis, because he works on those ads. He is also engaged to Brittany Carriero, a former Ward Melville lacrosse player, who played field hockey at Syracuse - Georgetown's biggest rival.