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L'Anse Creuse senior Nick Badalamenti will be playing soccer at Princeton University.

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RECRUITING: L'Anse Creuse soccer player headed to Princeton

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The student-athlete.

That can be a myth. Sometimes it is about as factual as a Bigfoot sighting or someone spotting Elvis handing Whoppers out of the drive thru window at a Burger King in Kalamazoo.

There are students. There are athletes. And never the twain shall meet. At least not in a classroom. At least that is the way it is at a lot of colleges across these fruited plains.

Enter L’Anse Creuse senior Nick Badalamenti. He will be playing soccer at Princeton University.

Ivy League schools demand student-athletes perform in the classic definition.

“I was looking at some schools and then Princeton showed some interest. It has a good soccer program and it is a great school academically,” said Badalamenti.

Badalamenti played his first two seasons of soccer at L’Anse Creuse. Since then, he has been with the Vardar soccer club. He’s currently on the Vardar U17/18 Academy team and his coach is Demir Muftari.

It was following the winter showcase in Sarasota in December 2012 when the coaches from Princeton first contacted Badalamenti.

Princeton University is located in New Jersey. It is one of the eight colleges in the prestigious Ivy League. Among its more famous grads are Woodrow Wilson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Donald Rumsfeld, Ralph Nader, Michelle Obama and Jeff Bezos.

“I’ve been to Princeton twice,” said Badalamenti. “Once during my junior year on an unofficial visit, and again about two months ago. I just like the old-fashioned look of the campus. It reminded me of Harry Potter and Hogwarts Academy.”

He’ll be reporting to campus on Aug. 22. Badalamenti is considering a pre-law curriculum.

He has a 3.9 grade point average at L’Anse Creuse. His abbreviated forays into imperfection both came early in his high school career when he got B’s in honors biology as a freshman and American Literature as a sophomore.

His favorite subjects are history and math.

“I’ve always been good at math,” said Badalamenti. “History, especially American history, has always interested me. Things like the Civil War fascinate me.”

Teri Benavides has been his teacher for both Advanced Placement World History and AP United States History.

“Both years, Nick’s work ethic has been unparalleled and never anything less than his best. However, his academic success is not the only thing that all his teachers, including myself, appreciate. Nick is unfailingly positive and constructive. In an age group that can often be cynical, he is able to see the value of hard work and dedication now and the success that will follow later in life,” said Benavides. “Student-athletes like Nick are rare. He never seems overwhelmed or stressed. His academic achievements are one thing -- and he should receive all the accolades that he can for those. However, his character and demeanor are even more remarkable and his peers would do well to follow his lead. I can say without hesitation that Nick has been a pleasure to have as a student. Dedicated students like Nick not only make teaching more fun, but make me a better teacher as well.”

Princeton University policy prevented men’s soccer coach Jim Barlow from commenting on Badalamenti’s signing.

“Princeton has a policy that I cannot comment about incoming student-athletes before the entire freshman class is announced, but that won’t be until sometime in April – sorry about that, but if you want to get back in touch in a couple of months that would be great,” said Barlow.

Great is a great descriptive word to use. For Badalamenti, a great student-athlete.

Last Updated: 2/3/2014 10:27:54 PM EST