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LILJ Interview with Rutgers University Commit Payton Tini

Payton Tini has committed to Rutgers University to further her academic and athletic career. Starting in the fall of 2023 she will play Division I lacrosse as a Scarlet Knight. She has two more seasons at Locust Valley High School where she hopes to lead her team to a County Championship.

Tini started playing lacrosse in third grade and has been a very involved athlete in many sports throughout her life. She currently plays soccer, basketball, and lacrosse at Locust Valley. Her freshman year lacrosse season was lost due to Covid-19 but starting her sophomore year she immediately took on a leadership role on her varsity team. They unfortunately lost in the County finals but had a very successful season overall. “I have a really good relationship with my coach, she has been my coach my entire life in every sport I play.” Coach Sumcizk is currently the assistant coach for varsity soccer and basketball and the head coach for the lacrosse team at Locust Valley. She has been lucky enough to have Sumcizk as a coach for her entire high school athletic career.

Tini said she is very good friends with her teammates, and they know how to work hard and have a good time in practice. She noted her dad as a source of inspiration. She described him as hard-working in everyday life and helpful in every step of her recruitment process. “I’m really grateful for everything he’s done,” she said.

In addition to the multitude of sports practices, Tini has a field close to her house that she goes to a couple times a week to get individual work in. She stays in shape year-round as she is a three-sport varsity athlete and is expecting to start a very rigorous training schedule to prepare her for college lacrosse. Tini has a strong drive to win and hopes to lead her team back to the County Championship game this season. Personally, she aims to be among the scoring leaders in the county.

She has played for Empire Lacrosse since her freshman year and has had a great experience with her coach and teammates. She is very thankful for everything her coach has done for them. “He is just so helpful, so encouraging. He loves to interact with us, and he’s been very helpful with colleges.” She also said she has developed really good friendships with the girls there in her few years with the club. Her club team allowed her to be seen by college coaches at showcases over the summer and allowed her to connect with many schools.

When Tini started the recruitment process, she was looking for a top-level program and a school that expressed a lot of interest in her. Rutgers happened to be the first school she talked to, and the conversation flowed easily with the coaching staff. She was high on their list of recruits, and she felt important to them.

She loves the whole ambiance of Rutgers. It’s a Big 10 school and she loves the big school spirit. The lacrosse team appeared to be very close with one another. “I felt comfortable when I went there. They made me feel a part of their family already. Everyone was so nice and welcoming.” After her official visit, she knew Rutgers was the place she wanted to be. Her intended major is international or global affairs.

Her advice to athletes currently going through the process is to take your time. If a school really wants you, they will be willing to wait for you. Try not to stress about it too much.

Tini said the whole vibe of the team at Rutgers was amazing. They are a close-knit group, and she hopes to one day help them win a championship. “I’m definitely looking forward to being a part of their whole community. To be able to win a championship with them would be an absolute dream.”


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