Kiski School's Tackett changes colors, but not sport
TribLIVE Sports Videos
He starred in two sports at Knoch High School. He had a deep, strong social network there. He led a life most classmates would envy.
So when Ben Tackett told friends he planned to transfer to the Kiski School, a preparatory academy in Saltsburg, during the middle of his senior year, he heard more than a few ask why.
His answer: To have a shot at playing high-level lacrosse in college, he needed to enhance his understanding of the sport, and few people from Knoch knew enough to help.
Away from friends and family at a boarding school since January, Tackett has bolstered his knowledge of a game that's steadily growing in Western Pennsylvania and throughout the country. He sacrificed stardom when he transferred. But he has no regrets and plenty of high hopes, particularly because he'll add more experience next season at the Kiski School, which offers a college prep year on top of the traditional four-year education.
“There were a lot of questions asked, because it was kind of an unheard-of thing,” Tackett said of his mid-year transfer. “Luckily, mostly everybody, especially my big group of friends, they were really supportive.”
Tackett started playing lacrosse in sixth grade.
“I was kind of getting tired of baseball, so I figured why not give it a shot,” he said. “Once I started, I just loved it.”
His father, Jerry, also fell for the sport immediately. And aware that Knoch did not offer the sport at the high school level, he started his plan to create a program.
With Tackett in eighth grade, his father, working with the Signorino family, succeeded in establishing a Knoch club team.
“That team was coached mainly by the players,” said Jerry Tackett, who officially served as coach. “We maintained and babysat basically.”
During the following three seasons, Knoch grew more legitimate. But it remained a club sport that did not compete in the WPIAL. Tackett's father, with no lacrosse playing experience, remained coach.
Tackett took the sport too seriously to shrug at his situation.
Just before the start of the 2012-13 school year, Tackett and his family made a decision: He would attend the Kiski School after he finished football, in which, at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, he shined as a running back and defensive back for Knoch.
Kiski School, ranked in the top 70 nationally, provided what the Tacketts sought.
Tackett gladly gave up the do-it-all role he had at Knoch and began to learn the finer points of his position.
“At Knoch, there were a lot of times where I just tried to do too much,” Tackett said. “I don't want to say that I had to, but there was a lot put on my shoulders, I felt — at least I saw it that way. So I tried to make a lot happen.”
Tackett finished his first season as a Kiski School Cougar with the fifth-best points per game average (2.7) on the team. He scored 41 goals and had 23 assists in 25 games. He also averaged 3.6 ground balls per game, which tied for fourth among the Cougars. Few midfielders meant more to the team in terms of on-field productivity.
“When I played within myself, I thought I played better,” Tackett said. “The big thing was just letting my lacrosse IQ just take off. That was a big reason I came here. ”
Tackett is torn about what sport to play in college. Coaches have indicated he could possibly play both football and lacrosse at the Division II or III level. But he might also possess the abilities to go to a D-I program.
One thing Tackett remains certain about is his allegiance to Knoch.
“I'm still a Knoch Knight at heart,” he said. “But my heart is big enough to have enough room to bleed blue and gold and black and white.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- District college notebook: Uniontown grad Sanner makes history for Seton Hill
- Starkey: Kang story of the year for Pirates
- Penguins GM Rutherford ‘wouldn’t make’ Despres trade today
- Alleged Bunola shooter out of hospital
- IRS cybersecurity breach touches lives of homebuyers, others
- Ringgold goal to foster excellence
- Healthy defensive back Mitchell eager for 2nd season with Steelers
- Southmoreland commencement scheduled for Friday evening
- Lawmaker eyes Charleroi street woes
- Connellsville gifted students bring history to life
- Springdale suspect’s fate could depend on mental health assessment