Playing lacrosse through the years, Alex Perreault knew he was good, but he never knew quite how good. He figured that somewhere out there, the players were just better than he was.
“I always grew up thinking that were kids out there that were just incredible and I could never compete with them,” Perreault said.
Last Friday, Perreault could officially put those thoughts to bed. A senior at Bishop Hendricken, Perreault signed a letter of intent to continue his lacrosse career at the next level, committing to Johns Hopkins University in front of friends, family and administrators outside of Pepin Gymnasium.
And as it turns out, Perreault is exactly the type of lacrosse player he thought only existed elsewhere in the country.
“Once I started receiving letters from Division I schools – which I didn’t expect at all – on September 21 [last year], I think, it made me realize that, ‘Hey, I’m actually one of these guys,’” Perreault said.
Perreault has a significant lacrosse resume. A First-Team All-State selection last season as a junior midfielder, he scored 25 goals and had 10 assists in leading the Hawks to a Division I semifinal berth. Perreault was also listed by ESPN as one of the top 100 players to watch in the country and is a two-time Blue Chip All-Star.
But his commitment to Hopkins trumps all of that.
Johns Hopkins is located in Baltimore, Md., and its lacrosse program is one of country’s elite. It’s a place that has nine NCAA Division I national championships, 41 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, 65 National Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductees and a 180 First-Team All-Americans.
It’s a program that is perennially ranked in the top 10 in the country, and is almost always in the thick of the championship hunt.
Now Perreault is a part of it.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “I never saw myself as that caliber of player, so it was kind of a dream come true when it did happen. The legacy that the program has, the academics, overall it was just a great environment.”
Perreault actually verbally committed last November, but it wasn’t made official until Friday – nearly a year after he made his pledge.
Despite receiving interest from schools all over the country, he never really wavered in his decision to head to Hopkins.
The school never wavered either.
“Obviously it’s a scary thought because nothing is set in stone,” Perreault said. “But I was really comfortable in my decision – I wouldn’t have made it if I wasn’t completely comfortable. I wanted it and today it seals it.”
It’s been a long process for Perreault, who didn’t even play lacrosse until fifth or sixth grade. He played hockey growing up, and only began to show an interest in lacrosse when a friend brought him to his practice one day.
“I just fell in love immediately,” Perreault said.
And the sport was good to him as well. He excelled early, and made the varsity team at Hendricken his freshman year.
Despite his age, he led the Hawks in scoring that first season.
“The mix of being able to hit and all that, I just love,” Perreault said. “I played hockey growing up for a long time – that was my first love. I found lacrosse, and it was very similar. I was horrible at basketball, terrible at baseball and this was a different sport, different culture. I really liked it.”
To supplement his growing status as one of the standout lacrosse players in the state, Perreault also ran track, and excelled there. He ran on Hendricken’s 4x200 and 4x400 meter indoor track relay teams, both of which won the state championship. He holds the school record in the 300 meters and he was a member of the school’s 4x400 team that holds the state record.
“I just kind of went along, continued to work out,” Perreault said. “I did better in track than ever before, and I just went from there.”
Now it’s on to the highest level of collegiate lacrosse that the country has to offer, and it’s going to be a big jump from high school competition in Rhode Island.
Still, between some of the stronger programs in the state and the players Perreault goes against on his club team, he thinks he’ll be adequately prepared for the step up in play.
With one season still to go at the high school level, though, there’s still one more thing he would like to do before leaving Hendricken.
Two years ago, Perreault’s sophomore season, the Hawks won the state championship. Another title to cap off his high school career would be the perfect way to close out his time in Rhode Island and send him off to his next stop.
“That would be awesome,” Perreault said.