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In late October, the men's lacrosse team held its fall prospect day for potential student-athletes. The Cavaliers invited 19 potential recruits - all of whom attended - for fellowship and a competitive scrimmage alongside current players.

"The day gave these guys a chance to see the school, meet our players, and get a feel for our program philosophy and expectations -- what drives us. It also gave us a chance to see what kind of men they are, and how they work with our existing players," said men's head coach, Will McMinn.

The intentionally limited size of the invited group gave each player the opportunity for extended playing time and access to the Montreat community. 

"We identified a number of terrific young men and strong lacrosse players, who seem to be a great fit," said McMinn.

Of the 19 men who attended the event, twelve have committed so far to play lacrosse at Montreat. Coach McMinn and Coach Kamholtz are very excited about the quality of men and the level of lacrosse player that are on the horizon for Montreat's lacrosse program.

Montreat Gabe deBeus is a rising junior on the men's lacrosse team and is a critical part of the midfield unit as one of the Cavs' primary faceoff men. His ability to win draws, push the offense in transition after a faceoff, and score goals all proved critical in his first year with the team in 2016.  deBeus is a graduate of Asheville's Christ School and attended North Carolina State University before becoming a Cavalier.

How did you first hear about Montreat? I was sent a letter by Montreat in high school, just like most schools do. I already had my eyes set on other schools at the time. A couple years later, after NC State, Coach McMinn approached me over the summer at a high school lacrosse tournament. He told me about the school and the team and it went from there.

Tell us about your major/minor My major is Cybersecurity at Montreat, but I am also working on a minor in Business. In regard to Cybersecurity, the challenge is that it's such a focused and complex field that is has a lot of curricula and information and a lot of studying.

How long have you been playing lacrosse and how did you get interested in it? I'll be coming into my 13th year of lacrosse. I lived in Virginia when I was young and I played youth baseball like any elementary school-aged kid. Then my mom mentioned this game called lacrosse to me and I gave it a shot. I guess the rest is history.

What's the hardest part about balancing academics and athletics? Actually, the thing with lacrosse and academics is that each helps me to keep the other "in check." In other words, academics keep me ready to play lacrosse, and lacrosse keeps me responsible for my academics. It can be a little overwhelming at times but it's all worth it so I'm fully committed to both.

What was one of your favorite memories from the 2016 lacrosse season? One of the best memories I have with the team is when we almost beat St. Ambrose; they managed to score with less than a minute left [to take the lead] and we couldn't retaliate but the drive, determination, and teamwork we showed that game was very promising and is a sign of good things to come.

Montreat - Alex Wheet (SO/Durham, NC) is a rising junior for the Cavaliers' men's lacrosse team and plays both midfield and attack. Wheet is an inaugural member of the program at Montreat and is proving a versatile veteran presence for both offensive units. In the classroom, he's an Exercise Science major and Cybersecurity minor. With a large incoming freshman class this fall, the team will increasingly turn to upperclassmen such as Wheet to model the on-field and off-field attributes of a successful college student-athlete at Montreat. 

How did you decide on Montreat?  Well, Coach McMinn actually met my dad first. I was in the middle of a game and Coach walked up to my dad and asked him if he knew any seniors on my high school team who hadn't committed yet. My dad said, "I can think of one." After asking more questions, Coach gave him his card and before walking away said, "Your son is going to play for me."
 

What was your prior playing experience? I've been playing lacrosse since the 6th grade. I also played for my high school, Charles E Jordan, and various club teams.  

You're an attackman and a middie and this year played both. What are the challenges and fun parts of each or either position? The challenges, to me, seem to be the same. If you're on offense, score a goal. If you're on defense, make sure the opponent doesn't score a goal. As long as everyone is doing their job and paying attention, then your job no matter what position becomes less stressful. The fun of it, to me, is experiencing something new about lacrosse. I've played attack for my entire career and playing the new position is refreshing and fun.

You guys are around each other a lot; one place is at Chapel each week. What's it like to attend as a team and what is an impact that it's having? It's a good team-building time for us. It allows us to grow together in our Faith and grow together as brothers.

What do you hope to do after college? I plan to take the test and get my C.S.C.S (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) certification. With this certification, the goal is to become the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for a college or university. Maybe get a Masters Degree sometime in-between there.

What are your plans for the summer? I just finished a three week Anatomy Physiology summer course. I'll also be working at Sports Endeavors [a rugby/soccer/lacrosse retailer], in the production department.  
 

What are your best or most significant memories since you arrived at Montreat? A lot of the memories involve growing relationships with people both inside and outside the team. Late night runs to Cook-Out [restaurant] and all of the memories from our away games traveling together.

What do you see as the biggest difference for you in year one and year two as far as developing as a student-athlete, either on the field or off? The biggest thing I learned was how to split the time between school and sports. Learning to organize time now will definitely help me in the future. 

Talk a little about getting up to the Black Mountain Children's Home to volunteer Volunteering at the Children's Home is a great opportunity. For the team, we get work together more and learn about each other and how we work as a team. Volunteering there is also the least we can do to help them. The Children's Home does so much for the community and for the kids, that the opportunity to provide basic lawn care or anything really, is huge. We're also grateful to them for letting us use their field to practice on. 

As a Durham product, has Montreat finally bumped Duke out of your top spot for favorite lacrosse team? Both teams have a special place in my heart; I'll just say that.

 
 
 
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