Caden Padelford says he's found the perfect college — where he can play Division I lacrosse and get a good education.
Padelford, a junior at Wahconah, has made a verbal commitment to play lacrosse for head coach Chris Feifs and the University of Vermont.
"Honestly, everything," Padelford said, when asked what he liked about Vermont. "There's not one bad thing I can say about that school. They have an amazing business program. The lacrosse team is very good. The coaching there is top notch. They have everything I'm looking for. The campus life is amazing. The town [Burlington] around it is just absolutely beautiful. I love everything about it. I went there on a visit on Sept. 6, and I was just amazed. I was like, wow, this is really where I get to go to school for four years?
"I was so happy. I couldn't be happier."
Some of Padelford's recruitment did not go according to Hoyle. There was one area of his recruitment that was off-limits due to the pandemic.
"I can't do any official visits" to campus, Padelford said. "I could go there and get toured, either by myself or by another player, if I know any of them. If I wasn't going to be able to meet the coaches in person and get a feel for what it's like to be around them, it was a pretty good concern of mine.
"But after speaking to them on the phone, I knew which coach I connected with the best, and that was the UVM coaches."
The Wahconah lacrosse attack spent part of this summer playing in the 2020 Under Armour All-American Lacrosse Classic Underclass Tournament, which featured teams from 12 regions across the country, split up into four Super Regional events before the Championship Tournament. Padelford's New England team will play in a North Super Regional event, featuring teams from Long Island and Upstate New York in addition to New England in mid-October.
He will be heading for a UVM team that started 2020 with a 3-1 record before having its spring season curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Feils played lacrosse at the University of Maryland and coached at VMI and at traditional power North Carolina before heading to the Champlain Valley. The Catamounts under Feils were 5-8 in 2017, 12-4 in 2018 and 9-7 in 2019. During the 2019 season, UVM was the No. 2 seed in the America East Tournament and knocked off No. 3 UAlbany 13-9. But in the championship game, fourth-seeded UMBC scored with just over one minute left in the game to beat Vermont 14-13, and deny the Catamounts their first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament.
Padelford said that when Sept. 1 rolled around, he spoke with coaches from Division I programs Penn State, Ohio State, Dartmouth, Bryant, Massachusetts and UVM. He also received a text from Syracuse.
"It felt like a long time coming," he said, referring to Sept. 1 and the different schools reaching out to him, "and it took a huge weight off of my shoulders. I could not have been happier how the day went. It was really nerve-racking at first, but after that first call with UMass got done, I was really excited to see more about what each college had to tell me about. I realized that pretty quickly, it wasn't as scary as I thought. It was just a conversation with them."
Padelford did not have a spring lacrosse season at Wahconah and his summer showcase schedule was somewhat curtailed due to the pandemic. Still, the member of the Class of 2022 admitted that he wasn't overly worried that the slowdown of lacrosse showcases would have a real negative impact on his potential recruitment.
"Not really. All the information was coming through my lacrosse coaches. I found out that way that UVM had me as the No. 1 guy to recruit and I had word that Penn State had me as a top five attack on their list," he said. "I already knew I was going to be receiving calls from those schools."
One other thing Padelford said he's excited about playing for UVM is being in the America East and getting a chance to play a stone's throw from Wahconah at the University at Albany, in a pretty high-level league.
"I grew up going to all the UAlbany games, and I always admired how competitive that league was, and how much skill there is from all those other teams," Padelford said. "Now that I turn that dream into a reality of playing against all those other teams, and playing against a team I grew up watching is pretty cool."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.