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By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
CORNING — Growing up Chris Grimaldi always wanted to be like his brothers and play Division I lacrosse.

On Monday the Hawks senior made that dream a reality as he signed his letter of intent to play at UMass Amherst.

“It’s been a dream since as long as I can remember,” Grimaldi said. “Being with my brothers, being able to follow in their footsteps and continue my lacrosse career. It’s a special thing and I’m so fortunate to be here.”

Playing Division I lacrosse is a bit of a family tradition for the Grimaldi family.

Grimaldi’s dad and uncle are both in the Hobart Hall of Fame, while two of his brothers also playedDivision I.

Chris talked during the ceremony for his signing about the impact his dad had on his life. Tom Grimaldi was a three-time All-American at Hobart and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2012. He was the 1985 National Player of the Year. Grimaldi’s dad played with his brother, Lawrence, who was also a Hall of Fame inductee in 2012. Lawrence was a first team All-American and the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Chris’ brother Kyle also played at Hobart and his brother Devin played at Towson. His other brother, David, also played college lacrosse at Ithaca College.

As soon as Grimaldi visited UMass he knew it was the place for him.

“As soon as I stepped on campus I just felt like it was the right place for me,” he said. “Coach (Greg) Cannella has been there for 29 years now. He’s going to be there for 30 years when I show up on campus. He’s just a good guy and one of the all-time best coaches in lacrosse, so it was hard to say no to him.

“UMass was one of the first places I visited. I visited a few other places, but they (UMass) just kept calling me every day and they were just selling me on the idea and I loved it there so I thought it was the right spot.”

UMass is 5-3 on the season this year. Cannella is the second-longest active tenured coach at one school and he ranks sixth among active coaches in wins. He’s been to the NCAA Tournament nine times and was a 2019 US Lacrosse Hall of Fame Inductee. UMAss was an NCAA finalist in 2006.

The Corning senior knows that it will be a big adjustment going to the Division I level, but he’s ready for the challenge.

“It’s going to be a big jump, but I”m pretty confident that the UMass staff will be able to get me there pretty quickly,” he said. “I’ve got some friends over the summer, we’ll be able to get after it, a lot of the college boys, so we’ll be able to get after it pretty quickly.”

Grimaldi has been lacrosse since he joined Corning Youth Lacrosse in first grade. He also played with the Corning Skyhawks Travel team until sixth grade. In seventh grade he started playing for the Orange Crush Travel Lacrosse Club out of Syracuse, which allowed him to play against the top club lacrosse teams in the nation.

Grimaldi has been playing for the Corning Hawks since eighth grade when he was a starter on JV and he has been playing on the varsity team for three years, while maintaining a 92 average and being on high honor roll all four years. He’s also been a member of the boys’ basketball team for four years.

He’s a two-time Section IV all-star, and was fourth-team all-state a year ago. He was a first team all-Southern Tier Sports Report Boys’ Lacrosse all-star and was the STSR Newcomer of the Spring. He was part of sectional championship teams in both lacrosse and basketball last year. Last year he scored the second most goals in a single season in Corning history.

“I didn’t really know that until today,” Grimaldi said. “I guess you might as well shoot for the number one spot, so I’ll be coming for it.”

The Hawks have won three straight sectional titles and now they will be looking to make it four straight this year.

“We have got three sectionals in a row, we are looking to get another one,” Grimaldi said. “We are rather young, but I think we’ll be fine. All the players are motivated. We are working hard in practice. We have a different bit of grit this year that I’m looking forward to. I think it will be a really special year.”

Grimaldi made his college choice early and that helped take some nerves off last year.

“Committed to months into the process to UMass that whole year took a bunch of nerves off coming into my lacrosse season,” Grimaldi said. “Just felt good knowing I was going somewhere and I had a home.”

There is a lot that Grimaldi will miss about high school when he’s in college, but one of the main things is the relationships with his teammates.

“I am going to cherish the memories with the guys,” he said. “It’s not just always on the field or in practice. In the locker rooms are some of the best times you get to have a few laughs with all the guys. All the boys, I’ll always remember them.”

Grimaldi will be majoring in business at the Isenberg School of Business at UMass.

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