Lucas commits to PSU

By on October 29, 2014

David Lucas had a whirlwind September.

To say the least.

Warwick senior David Lucas gave a verbal commitment last week to continue his track and field career at Penn State University.

Warwick senior David Lucas gave a verbal commitment last week to continue his track and field career at Penn State University.

Of the four weekends which fell on the calendar that month, along with one in October, Warwick’s senior track and field star spent all of them on college campuses.

The destinations were a Who’s Who of major college athletic programs &tstr; Tennessee, Michigan, Penn State, Iowa State and North Carolina.

“It was a very busy process, but I loved every minute of it, so I can’t complain,” said Lucas, the reigning L-L League and District Three Triple-A discus champion.

Lucas also loves the fact that he will be joining a Penn State men’s team which ranked 19th heading into the NCAA Championships at the University of Oregon this past June. He gave a verbal commitment to PSU early last week.

The Nittany Lions compete under the leadership of head coach John Gondak, with Patrick Ebel serving as the throwers coach, and Lucas is excited to work with them. Manheim Central grad Cole Proffitt, a former PIAA State champ in the javelin, is a member of the Lions’ throwers team.

“I really love the team and the program that coach Gondak and coach Ebel are running there,” said Lucas, who won the PIAA State silver last spring with a throw of 187 feet, 3 inches. “I know that I’m going to be under just fantastic coaching and I’m going to be in a great environment with the teammates that I know there.”

The environment on the other college campuses he visited were special as well. The process started with he and his father, David, looking at which schools in the nation had the top throwing programs. From there, they narrowed it down to those who offered his major (biomedical engineering or a pre-med focus).

“My dad did a lot of things for me with this recruiting,” he said.

As Lucas began contacting schools, he started to get a feel for where he would be most comfortable. Many of the coaches came to Lititz to visit him at home, which left a favorable impression.

“The schools where I took my five visits were the best schools that I could have visited,” Lucas said. “I loved all five of the schools and wouldn’t change where I took my visits. I got to meet some really great coaches and athletes along the way. What’s really nice about the throwing community is that it’s a type of friendly competition where everyone knows everyone and everyone is very friendly.”

In the end, Happy Valley was the best fit.

“I had a lot of reasons about why I picked Penn State,” Lucas said. “I felt very comfortable and at home on campus. I have a pretty big connection to Penn State in the fact that both of my parents (David and Susanne) and my grand-parents are alumni from Penn State.”

Despite that connection, Lucas’ first experience in Beaver Stadium for a PSU football game was on Sept. 20, when the Lions demolished UMass 48-7. He got an opportunity to be on the sidelines before the game and see the passion of the Lions’ fans.

“It was really a great feel being at Penn State for that football game with the energy in the stadium,” Lucas said. “The place erupts and it’s a lot of fun.”

Lucas’ family probably erupted when he selected State College as his home for the next four years.

“What’s really nice is that Penn State is close enough that my family can see me and I can see my family, but yet it’s far enough away that I’m still going to college,” he said. “So having Penn State be two and a half hours away was just a really comfortable distance for me.”

While Lucas has been recruited as a thrower, he likes the fact that Penn State is going to allow him to dabble in multi-events. Down the road, he could potentially consider doing the decathlon.

“I could get there,” Lucas said, “and I could try to run over a hurdle and I could snap the hurdle and be like, ‘Yeah, hurdles probably aren’t my thing. I’m just going to focus on throwing.’ If it’s all in the cards that I’m just going to focus on throwing in college, I will be (happy doing that).”

He certainly hopes it’s in the cards for Penn State to be a national power in track and field. Lucas is anxious to do his part starting in 2015-16.

Asked about his goals, he said, “As a team, I certainly want to be part of a team that goes on to win Big-10 championships, and further than that, I want to be out there to win national titles with the team. I think over the next few years as Penn State continues to do more recruiting, as the talent on the team right now continues to get better, as everyone continues to run the times that they’re capable of doing, throw the marks that they’re capable of throwing, Penn State is going to be quite the force to be reckoned with. As a team, I know that Penn State will be doing some great things in the future and I’m really excited to be a part of that. Then for me individually, you can ask any athlete and they’ll always tell you that their dreams are always high and they always want to do big things.”

For Lucas, those dreams also apply to his final season at Warwick this spring. Having his college choice behind him should only help toward that end.

“It’s really nice to know that now I can just focus on training and focus on my track season and not have to have that pressure thinking, ‘I’ve got to hit this mark if I have any shot of going to college,’” he said. “I have big goals for this season. I’m not done yet and I’m looking forward to doing some more big things this season.”

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