Montreat College
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Montreat Gabe deBeus is a rising junior on the men's lacrosse team and is a critical part of the midfield unit as one of the Cavs' primary faceoff men. His ability to win draws, push the offense in transition after a faceoff, and score goals all proved critical in his first year with the team in 2016.  deBeus is a graduate of Asheville's Christ School and attended North Carolina State University before becoming a Cavalier.

How did you first hear about Montreat? I was sent a letter by Montreat in high school, just like most schools do. I already had my eyes set on other schools at the time. A couple years later, after NC State, Coach McMinn approached me over the summer at a high school lacrosse tournament. He told me about the school and the team and it went from there.

Tell us about your major/minor My major is Cybersecurity at Montreat, but I am also working on a minor in Business. In regard to Cybersecurity, the challenge is that it's such a focused and complex field that is has a lot of curricula and information and a lot of studying.

How long have you been playing lacrosse and how did you get interested in it? I'll be coming into my 13th year of lacrosse. I lived in Virginia when I was young and I played youth baseball like any elementary school-aged kid. Then my mom mentioned this game called lacrosse to me and I gave it a shot. I guess the rest is history.

What's the hardest part about balancing academics and athletics? Actually, the thing with lacrosse and academics is that each helps me to keep the other "in check." In other words, academics keep me ready to play lacrosse, and lacrosse keeps me responsible for my academics. It can be a little overwhelming at times but it's all worth it so I'm fully committed to both.

What was one of your favorite memories from the 2016 lacrosse season? One of the best memories I have with the team is when we almost beat St. Ambrose; they managed to score with less than a minute left [to take the lead] and we couldn't retaliate but the drive, determination, and teamwork we showed that game was very promising and is a sign of good things to come.

Montreat - Alex Wheet (SO/Durham, NC) is a rising junior for the Cavaliers' men's lacrosse team and plays both midfield and attack. Wheet is an inaugural member of the program at Montreat and is proving a versatile veteran presence for both offensive units. In the classroom, he's an Exercise Science major and Cybersecurity minor. With a large incoming freshman class this fall, the team will increasingly turn to upperclassmen such as Wheet to model the on-field and off-field attributes of a successful college student-athlete at Montreat. 

How did you decide on Montreat?  Well, Coach McMinn actually met my dad first. I was in the middle of a game and Coach walked up to my dad and asked him if he knew any seniors on my high school team who hadn't committed yet. My dad said, "I can think of one." After asking more questions, Coach gave him his card and before walking away said, "Your son is going to play for me."

What was your prior playing experience? I've been playing lacrosse since the 6th grade. I also played for my high school, Charles E Jordan, and various club teams.  

You're an attackman and a middie and this year played both. What are the challenges and fun parts of each or either position? The challenges, to me, seem to be the same. If you're on offense, score a goal. If you're on defense, make sure the opponent doesn't score a goal. As long as everyone is doing their job and paying attention, then your job no matter what position becomes less stressful. The fun of it, to me, is experiencing something new about lacrosse. I've played attack for my entire career and playing the new position is refreshing and fun.

You guys are around each other a lot; one place is at Chapel each week. What's it like to attend as a team and what is an impact that it's having? It's a good team-building time for us. It allows us to grow together in our Faith and grow together as brothers.

What do you hope to do after college? I plan to take the test and get my C.S.C.S (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) certification. With this certification, the goal is to become the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for a college or university. Maybe get a Masters Degree sometime in-between there.

What are your plans for the summer? I just finished a three week Anatomy Physiology summer course. I'll also be working at Sports Endeavors [a rugby/soccer/lacrosse retailer], in the production department.  

What are your best or most significant memories since you arrived at Montreat? A lot of the memories involve growing relationships with people both inside and outside the team. Late night runs to Cook-Out [restaurant] and all of the memories from our away games traveling together.

What do you see as the biggest difference for you in year one and year two as far as developing as a student-athlete, either on the field or off? The biggest thing I learned was how to split the time between school and sports. Learning to organize time now will definitely help me in the future. 

Talk a little about getting up to the Black Mountain Children's Home to volunteer Volunteering at the Children's Home is a great opportunity. For the team, we get work together more and learn about each other and how we work as a team. Volunteering there is also the least we can do to help them. The Children's Home does so much for the community and for the kids, that the opportunity to provide basic lawn care or anything really, is huge. We're also grateful to them for letting us use their field to practice on. 

As a Durham product, has Montreat finally bumped Duke out of your top spot for favorite lacrosse team? Both teams have a special place in my heart; I'll just say that.

Montreat - Rodney Williams (Winston-Salem, NC) is a rising senior on the men's lacrosse team and is one of the original members of the Montreat squad from 2015. This spring he took up the long-stick midfielder (LSM) position for the Cavaliers. An LSM must possess the ability to play strong defense, push the ball in transition, man the wing on faceoffs, and regularly gather in groundballs while using a defenseman's 6' long pole. As 2016 progressed and the Cavs steadily improved, Williams proved invaluable at the spot. The midfielder also shone in the classroom as he was one of a league-leading three Cavaliers named to the eight-man Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) All-Academic team.

How did you decide on Montreat? 

God decided for me. I was looking for a fresh start after leaving my previous school [Gardner-Webb] – a place where I could play lacrosse again and develop spiritually. Coach McMinn spoke with my high school coach and as a result, I was led to come to Montreat after realizing it had all that I wanted.

How did you hear about the team? What was your prior playing experience?

I was recruited and I played lacrosse for Forsyth Country Day School before attending Montreat College.

You're an LSM. What are the hard parts about the position and what do you enjoy most?

The most challenging part is trusting my brothers. I love them, but I was used to making the big plays in high school football. The trust translated into lacrosse the more I learned about the game. As to the hard parts – one is not getting down on myself when I make a mistake. I enjoy getting ground balls and making good checks. Especially unexpected trail checks (when necessary).

You guys are around each other a lot; one place is at Chapel each week. What's it like to attend as a team and what is an impact that it's having?

I believe attending Chapel is important altogether. From a spiritual aspect, I believe it helps us grow closer to each other and God.

What do you hope to do after college? 

I hope to attend Wake Forest University for Medical School. I would like to be a psychiatrist one day.

What are your plans for the summer?

For my summer, I am completing an internship at [Winston-Salem based] Top Priority Care Services. I shadow therapists and psychiatrists. I also learn how to diagnose clients and include play therapy when necessary. 

What are your best or most significant memories since you arrived at Montreat? 

Persevering with my brothers, playing video games, and cracking jokes are all among the memories I will always cherish. In addition to seeing them all grow into men along with myself.

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