NEW LONDON, Conn. – A Sleepy Hollow High School graduate has become the first Connecticut College lacrosse player to make the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s All-American First Team, according to a statement.
Ben Parens, 19, a rising college junior who graduated Sleepy Hollow High School in 2014, won New England Small College Athletic Conference first-team honors earlier this month, according to the statement.
This past lacrosse season, Parens won 214 of 325 faceoffs for a .658 winning percentage – 18th in the country, according to the statement. He also scored five goals in 16 games and had a team-leading 118 ground balls.
Though the Connecticut College Camels have been honored by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) in the past, Parens is the first college player to make the inaugural First Team USILA All-American selection, according the statement.
“He always had such a passion for the game,” said Gary DiVico, who coached Parens at Sleepy Hollow. “He’s a good lacrosse player, but he’s an even better person.”
Jon Villanueva, another of Parens high school coaches, said the 19-year-old has returned to Tarrytown each summer to participate in clinics for younger lacrosse players.
“He leads by example,” Villanueva said. “And he plays lacrosse with a fierce edge. He pushes himself.”
Parens said he was thankful for the opportunity to learn under the tutelage of DiVico and Villanueva since childhood.
“(The coaches) gave me the opportunity to play lacrosse at a very young age, inviting me as a sixth-grader, to senior workouts during the winter,” Parens said. “I give them so much credit for encouraging and nurturing me.”
Parens has excelled in college under the direction of Dave Cornell, head coach of the Connecticut College Camels lacrosse team.
“Ben is the epitome of what we’re not only looking for in a player at Connecticut College, but what we need,” he said. “He works his tail off every day on his craft as a face-off man, in the weight room, watching film, scouting his opponents – everything.”
According to Cornell, Parens’ goal is to become the best face-off man in the country.
“He sets the example for every man on our team on what they can become," Cornell said.