Coached By: Mike Bowler
Of all the gifted athletes to have won the Enners Award, Rocky Point's Jeff Strittmatter is easily one of most deserving. Having lost both parents during his high school years, and remaining a top lacrosse player was more than enough reason for him to be crowed the winner in 2004.
His mother Rebecca died of cancer when he was a freshman and his father Dennis passed away two years later from a work related accident. Lacrosse was his exit from the horror of reality.
"It was an outlet," he says. "I looked forward to getting on the field everyday after school. It brought me a lot of pleasure and satisfaction and was good to be out there with my friends."
As for the Enners Award, Strittmatter was a heck of a lacrosse player, too. He didn't win on character alone.
"I felt that I had earned it," says Strittmatter, who as an All-American his senior year in high school. "I put up good numbers that year and had a good season."
Strittmatter was brought up to the varsity during his ninth grade season and played there until he finished his career, which ended on a sour note, losing to rival Shoreham-Wading River in the Suffolk County playoffs.
Recruited as early as 10th grade, Strittmatter could have went to a more lacrosse focused college, but he chose to attend The Lawrenceville School, a prep school in New Jersey, for a year directly after high school. He played lacrosse there and led the team, which finished 21-1, in points.
Prior to his freshman year at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, he tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus.
"It slowed me down," he says. "I ended up playing a lot of midfield in college and it took me awhile to get that first goal after the torn ACL."
He has since graduated from Wesleyan and spent three months in Peru teaching English and working on a parrot rescue project after graduation. He works for an estate-planning firm on Long Island and is involved with Birthright Earth, a non-profit organization that funds eye-opening trips for young people to the rain forests of South America.