Fair Lawn’s boys volleyball team will lose a star player after this year’s season, but senior Chris Nugent has ensured his career will continue at Penn State University next year.
Nugent signed a letter of intent last Friday morning, and has been awarded a scholarship from the school covering 25 percent of his tuition.
This comes after a notable career in Fair Lawn. Nugent came late to the sport but excelled quickly, making the varsity squad freshman year—only a year after he began playing. It helped that both of his parents were involved with the sport, and that his older brother was a star in the sport himself, earning a North Jersey Player of the Year award in 2011.
“They helped coach me a lot and we played a lot together,” Nugent said, sharing some of the credit for his success with his volleying family.
Penn State has been Nugent’s “number one for quite a while,” he says, ever since he began attending volleyball camps on the school’s campus four years ago. The summers gave him a chance to develop his skills under the watch of coaches he’ll now play for.
“They saw me progress,” he said, adding that though the camps were not meant specifically for recruiting, the sessions may have given him a chance to stand out.
For now, Chris remains focused on the upcoming spring volleyball season, and after two consecutive championship runs he’s optimistic about his teammates.
“All of us have progressed, so I think we’ll be better this year and hopefully we can get a third state championship.”
He denied that he would view his last high school year any less seriously now that he’s secured a chance to play at the college level. “It doesn’t really change at all. I don’t really have that switch off mode, when I know where I’m going.” He added that he’s avoided the senior slump of college-accepted students in all areas of his life.
“I’m a pretty competitive kid.”
The intended engineering major says that though he’ll miss his high school teammates, he’s unconcerned about the change of pace college may bring.
“It’s obviously a big difference. I think I’ll be able to transition well, and I’m excited for the new challenge. I’m always excited to play with new competition. It makes you better.”