NSA senior drawing on his strengths

Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nansemond-Suffolk senior Tucker Hotte signed a lacrosse scholarship offer to go to Savannah College of Art and Design Wednesday. Hotte played midfield last season, as the Saints reached the state semifinals, and is playing attack this season as the Saints are 4-2.

The frenetic physicality of lacrosse and the patience and precision of an excellent artist don’t seem to go hand in hand.

An art and design college in Georgia plus a successful lacrosse program don’t seem to be a likely combination either.

“It’s perfect for me. I’ll be able to pursue my two loves. Basically, it’s a no-brainer. I had to go there,” said Nansemond-Suffolk senior Tucker Hotte, who signed an athletic scholarship to attend Savannah College of Art and Design Wednesday in NSA’s library during a ceremony with family, friends, teammates and coaches.

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On the lacrosse field, Hotte’s a fast, creative attacker for the Saints. As a midfielder a season ago, Hotte was one of the team leaders in goals and assists as the Saints reached the state semifinals. Through six matches this season, with NSA totaling a 4-2 record, Hotte has one four-goal game and two hat tricks.

Developing a career as an artist drew him to make his college decision. Having the chance to continue playing lacrosse, not to mention what a scholarship means, makes a great opportunity “perfect.”

Hotte’s going to Savannah with the goal of being a graphic designer.

“Drawing and being an artist, it’s just what I’ve loved my whole life. I just can’t see myself doing anything else career-wise other than being an artist,” Hotte said.

“Nine of 10 students there have jobs lined up before graduation. That made it very attractive to me and my parents, that the investment will pay off,” Hotte said.

“Finding out about their lacrosse program was second. It just added another plus to the school,” Hotte said.

“I’m not sure I could’ve gone there without the scholarship,” he said.

The Bees transitioned from having lacrosse as a club sport to a varsity program six years ago. Playing in the Southeastern Lacrosse Conference and the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, a league for non-NCAA lacrosse programs, SCAD is 9-4 this season. SCAD’s schedule includes MCLA members ranging from Clemson to St. Mary’s of Moraga, Calif.

“This is an especially great moment because we’ve seen how hard Tucker has worked to achieve his dream,” said Don Birmingham, NSA’s Director of College Counseling.

“It’s also an impressive accomplishment, as only two percent of high school athletes receive a scholarship,” Birmingham said.

Hotte’s the third Saint lacrosse player to earn an athletic scholarship. Kyle Waters went from NSA to Rutgers in 2001. Will Crenshaw is a freshman attacker at Jacksonville. Crenshaw’s departure was part of the reason for Hotte’s position change from his junior to senior year.

“It’s a great opportunity to have fun playing lacrosse rather than having it become all of my life,” Hotte said. “I’ll be playing at a very competitive level and I’ll love the sport at the same time.”