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Defying odds: Jack Slater’s road to recovery to get to Mount St. Mary’s

Jack Slater announces his commitment. (Photo submitted by Jack Slater)
By Andrew Lavella—

Amid the bustling activity of A lunch, Jack Slater found his place and began to share his journey of resilience amidst the throes of injury. Seated amidst the chatter and clatter, Jack, a senior hailing from Eye Street, revealed himself as a seasoned veteran in the demanding world of recovery. In his tenure with  the lacrosse team, Slater had grappled with the cruel fate of two torn ACLs. 

Despite this daunting setback, he recently committed to play division one lacrosse at Mount St. Mary’s, a decision that meant so much more given the turbulence of his high school career.

“The hardest part,” Slater reflected, his gaze fixed on the distant memories of his injuries, “is undoubtedly the mental toll it takes. A year away from the sport you love… is a hard thing to deal with.”

Nevertheless, Slater’s spirit refused to quit. Not only did he muster the fortitude to rebound from his injuries, but he also emerged as a vital contributor to the varsity team and secured a commitment to play lacrosse at Mount Saint Mary’s. The journey through recruitment, post-injury, proved to be a uniquely challenging odyssey.

“The recruiting process was definitely slow at first,” Slater recounted. “My performance wasn’t stellar, and only a handful of schools showed interest. I often wondered if I would have fared better had I not been sidelined by injury.”

These contemplations plagued Slater during his rehabilitation regimen, where hours in the training room tested the limits of his body and his resolve. Fortunately, a pivotal tournament in the fall reignited his prospects, catching the attention of the Mount Saint Mary’s coach.

“A stroke of luck,” Slater’s face lit up with a smile as he reminisced. “The coach reached out to me after seeing me play and invited me to their prospect day, so I went to their prospect day, played great, and they offered me the next day.”

For a fleeting moment, Slater believed he had finally emerged from the shadow of injury, yet fate had a cruel twist in store. At the onset of his junior season, a familiar pop destroyed his hopes.

“I felt it,” Slater’s voice shook with raw emotion as he recalled the dreaded moment. “That unmistakable pop. I tried to hold it together, but when dad picked me up and as soon as I got in the car, I started crying. All I could think about was the daunting road ahead,” Slater said.

His mind then shifted to his recruitment and if Mount St. Mary’s head coach would end up rescinding his offer.

“He [the Mount St Mary’s head coach] ended up calling me and was very kind about the injury. He assured me it had no effect on my commitment, and made sure I still wanted to go,” he said. “His kindness uplifted me,” Slater said, when speaking about his coach, gratitude coloring his words. 

With his unwavering support, he found the strength to confront the daunting journey of recovery once more.

To Slater’s Gonzaga teammates, his resilience served as a source of inspiration.

 “Jack Slater’s story is very inspirational to the team. Knowing him since freshman year, watching him battle back through two injuries of that degree and still come back with the same intensity was nothing short of awe inspiring,” said Collin Smith ’24. 

Other teammates agreeed.

“Seeing a guy like him be determined to stay the course in lacrosse and be recruited D1 shows just how hard of a worker Jack Slater is,” said William Swezey ’24.

Indeed, Jack Slater’s narrative transcends mere Lacrosse; it symbolizes resilience in the face of adversity. His unwavering resolve serves as a beacon of hope for the Gonzaga community, a testament to the human spirit’s capacity to endure and overcome.

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    Carol CorganFeb 23, 2024 at 9:54 am

    Thank you for this profile of Jack, Andrew. Great work!