He’s a contender
Ian Prate, a contender for a national sports award.

Photos Courtesy of NYIT

He’s a contender


WEST ISLIP—Former Lion Ian Prate, now a student-athlete at New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, was named to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s initial watch list for the Division II Player of the Year Award late last month. The USILA Division II All American Coach Committee did the voting. The announcement came shortly after Prate was named the East Coast Conference’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. 

He has been playing lacrosse since he was a little kid. Prate described himself as a “short stick” early on. This actually led to him taking a few years off from the sport. But when ninth grade came around, he decided to try out again. “Being from West Islip, lacrosse is definitely a big deal because everyone was looking to play,” Prate said. “Lacrosse is such a physical game and the brothership between my teammates was something that meant a lot.” He recalls going out each day at practice, getting physical, competing with his teammates, and becoming close on the field as something he didn’t want to miss out on and as something he will never forget. 

“Ian is the best player on the field, game in and game out,” NYIT coach Bill Dunn said. “He hunts down the ball and is a hawk on ground balls.”

Prate says Coach Dunn has done a lot for him these past few years. “Most of the accomplishments I have received on the field have to do with Coach Dunn,” he said. “He’s like me, where all he wants to do is win. He really cares for his players and does whatever it takes to help them thrive. Not only on the field, but off, too.”

Prate studies business management at NYIT and hopes to coach after college and be involved with sports in some way. “Lacrosse has done so much for me,” he said. “So being around the game in the future is something I hope to accomplish.”

Last season, Prate emerged as a USILA first-team All-American and the Division II Long Pole Midfielder of the Year. He was also ECC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, and earned first-team All-ECC and ECAC honors. 

Prate finished with 69 ground balls in 2017, which ranked third in the ECC behind District of Columbia’s Teilen Celentano (85) and LIU Post’s Connor Farrell (76). He also ranked second in the ECC and 14th in Division II with 1.88 caused turnovers per game. 

Two NYIT players have won the USILA Player of the Year Award in the past: Joe Brock in 1997 and Matt Hunter in 2003.

Prate commutes each day to class in Old Westbury. “Living home obviously has its advantages and disadvantages,” he said, “but having homemade meals and your own bed is definitely great.”

This is the first time the USILA has produced a watch list for its signature award. 

The list will be updated on March 12 and April 16, and then narrowed to three finalists on May 7. The winner will be revealed at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., at the Division II/III final four reception and dinner on May 25.