John Jay’s Mia DiChiara had a lot to weigh when she was deciding where she would continue her education and lacrosse career beginning next September.
Academic heavyweights like Villanova, Columbia and Dartmouth were on her radar, but Cornell University won out in the end for the 5’8” midfielder.
“What I always kept at the forefront of my recruiting process was the intention that I choose a school for its entirety, not solely lacrosse,” DiChiara said. “When considering all my options, I was immediately drawn to Cornell as I knew its academic prestige and rigor alone would challenge and grant me with great opportunity.”
She added, “Overall, Cornell’s emphasis on academics coupled with their incredible women’s lacrosse program was exactly what I was looking for.”
DiChiara made her official visit to the Ithaca campus in late September. She committed the very next day.
DiChiara who began playing lacrosse relatively late, in fourth grade, “so I was a little behind when I started,” she explained. By fifth grade, DiChiara was playing club lacrosse with New Lax, which eventually merged with CT Lax to become Gold Coast Lacrosse. In her freshman year at John Jay, she joined the Prime Time Lacrosse family.
Over the years, she learned to love the sport, especially its pace.
“There’s no better feeling than when the ball goes from one end of the field to the next within seconds and finishes in the back of the net,” she explained. “From the groundballs to shooting, there’s something to be said about both offense and defense, which is why I love playing midfield.”
She added, “What I also love about the game is all that it’s brought me. I’ve learned so many important lessons and built life-long friendships that have shaped me into the person I am today.”
The college recruiting process began to pick up steam in seventh and eighth grade when DiChiara began attending college lacrosse camps.
“At that time, I always knew it was a possibility (to play D-1 lacrosse), but I didn’t have the experience to support it,” she said. Attending showcases and camp helped sharpened her skills, she recalled.
As for her strengths, she said, “I do a lot of work in transition using my speed to carry the ball from defense to offense. Once on offense, I take advantage of 1-versus-1 drives from the top of the eight, as well as work to find cutters coming from the opposite side or down low.”
DiChiara also takes advantage of her height (5’8”) on draws and sees herself as a vocal leader that encourages her teammates.
At the same time, she said she still has “to learn a lot from my defense on how to improve and stay on my toes,” she said.
As she looks ahead to her senior season this spring at John Jay, DiChiara can look back fondly at many memories, including scoring the winning goal in the waning seconds of the sectional Class B championship game her sophomore year. The tally gave Jay an 8-7 victory over Rye.
“I want to be remembered as someone people can always count on,” DiChiara said, “someone who really truly cares about those around them and is passionate about what they do.”