BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - Bronxville High School graduate Jack Near is working through another challenging academic year at Notre Dame while preparing for his second season on the lacrosse field.
Near, a three-sport athlete and member of Bronxville's state Class C football championship team in 2010 before graduating in 2011, is in his sophomore season with the Fighting Irish.
"College lacrosse life is going very well, but is very busy," Near said. "Balancing school and lacrosse has proven to be very difficult, especially at Notre Dame, where our business school is the No. 1 undergrad in the country."
Near was able to take time to travel to Miami for Monday's college football BCS Championship Game between Notre Dame and Alabama, where the Irish were beaten 42-14.
"I got back from South Beach (Tuesday) from the game," Near said. "Unfortunately, the game didn't go as we had hoped. However, we're all still proud to be a part of this special time at Notre Dame where all our sports, not just football, are contenders and top teams in the country."
The sophomore midfielder said the few days in Florida with friends and family were memorable, and a good break before he's back in class and on the field.
"The few days I spent with my buddies and father were ones I'll cherish forever," Near said. "I can't go without thanking my mom and dad for the opportunity to be down there again. It was an incredible experience."
The Notre Dame lacrosse team is ranked No. 3 nationally in preseason polls, and Near hopes to help keep the Irish on top.
"We should be very tough again this year," he said. "We lost a few key players last year, but we have guys that have been - and are - ready to step up to make significant contributions this year."