A normal day for a college student-athlete consists of practice, class, lifts, homework and other small daily tasks. That in itself is a lot to handle.
Vincent Scarlatella, a junior defender for the Montclair State University men’s lacrosse team, balances that on a daily basis. Adding to the mix, Scarlatella is enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Seton Hall University. This requires weekly training, not including other required camps and courses.
“Yeah there’s definitely some days where I feel overwhelmed,” Scarlatella said. “I think I balance it just by taking things slow and taking a step back if I’m ever getting stressed out and just understanding that I’m in the right spot at the right time, where I’m supposed to be and as long as I keep working hard everything will work out.”
Raised in Hopewell Valley, New Jersey, Scarlatella had been playing lacrosse since the third grade. By the time his high school years approached, he realized a college commitment to play four more years of the sport he loved would be ideal.
“Growing up I fell in love with lacrosse and my junior year of high school Coach Schambach reached out to me to play at Montclair [State],” Scarlatella said. “I came and did a tour with them and I fell in love with the place. So I decided to come here.”
From the start of his freshman year, Scarlatella knew he made the right choice. He loved the lacrosse program, he loved his teammates and he really enjoyed living on campus. During his sophomore year, attending Montclair State ended up being quite convenient for an additional reason.
Scarlatella decided to begin ROTC training with hopes of joining the Army. Seton Hall, a short 25-minute drive away from Montclair State’s campus, offers a crosstown ROTC program. This allowed him to be enrolled at Montclair State while simultaneously being enrolled as a cadet at Seton Hall.
Junior defender Padraic Finnegan has been Scarlatella’s roommate and teammate for four years and has seen firsthand how dedicated he is to ROTC.
“Vinny is incredibly hard-working and driven,” Finnegan said. “He gets up 3 days a week at 5 am to drive to Seton Hall for physical training.”
Scarlatella also excels as a student, pushing both himself and Finnegan to succeed inside the classroom.
“As a STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] major, he always has a heavy course load,” Finnegan said. “He still manages to be on the [Dean’s List]. We always compete for the best grades with each other.”
Scarlatella intends to join the United States Armed Forces after his college years are complete and ROTC training is finished.
“My brother served in the Navy and he was always a role model for me, being in the military is something I always felt very prideful about,” Scarlatella said. “I love my country and I’ve always wanted to serve it.”
His original plan suffered from a bit of a setback at the end of Scarlatella’s sophomore season during one of the final games against Kean University. He withstood a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the rest of that season, as well as the following one.
“I needed shoulder surgery that same week, so with ROTC I was supposed to be going to basic camp that summer,” Scarlatella said. “Because I had the surgery, I couldn’t go to camp so I got reclassed with the grade below me in ROTC. It was a blessing in disguise because it ended up giving me a fifth year of college to finish the ROTC program and also gave me the fifth year of lacrosse.”
In terms of ROTC, Scarlatella has an advanced camp to attend this summer and then will finish his training next fall and spring. When next May approaches, he will commission into the Army as a Second Lieutenant.
From there he must attend an advanced basic officer leadership course. Once all that is complete, Scarlatella will be stationed somewhere and plans to serve his country for four to eight years.
Before all of that takes place, Scarlatella will be back on Sprague Field next season where he will complete his fifth and final season as a Red Hawk.
“I love my team and to have an opportunity to spend another year with them, that’s something I wouldn’t turn down,” Scarlatella said.