He reflects back and thanks mentors like coach Ed Witz and his dad for getting him where he is today.
School: Pelham High School
Athletic accomplishment: Heintz had 30 goals and 30 assists for 63 points in 26 games to help the Pelicans lead to the programs first ever state championship. During the final four weekend, Heintz had two goals and an assist in the state semifinals 6-0 win. He garnered second team all-state and was named to the final four all tournament team. He also garnered all-league and all section honors. He was the tournament MVP of the Beektown tournament earlier in the season. He was the USPHL (US Premier Hockey League) player of the week during the season. Heintz was the captain of the hockey team this past season. He’s been a member of the lacrosse team for the last three years.
Academic accomplishment: Heintz has a 95.06 GPA. He’s undecided as to where he’s going to school next year and what he’ll study. He’s a member of the National, Math, Italian, Science and English honor societies, and Rho Kappa Honor Society. After school, Heintz is a member of the Italian Club and the EcoPel Program (Environmental Safety Club). In the community, Heintz has volunteered his time with Room to Read, a USA Hokey Level 2 Referee, Coast to Coast, and Relay for Life. Heintz has a summer internship at Rockefeller University. In his spare time, Heintz kayaks, plays golf and tennis, does Yoga, and reads.
Getting to know Nathaniel Heintz
The Journal News: A few weeks removed now has it sunk in yet that you and your teammates won the first state title in program history?
Nathaniel Heintz: It started to sink in a little more over the past few days you know once we got back to Pelham and everybody said congrats. Now we’re getting into lacrosse season, we’re working towards hopefully winning a section title this year. It’s awesome, we’ve been talking with coach and there’s been a lot of talk amongst ourselves and it’s starting to sink in a little more, I’m not sure if it’s fully sunk in yet though.
TJN: Is there anything you can take from your experience during the hockey season and transfer it into the upcoming lacrosse season?
NH: A lot of the dedication that goes into it is the same. Both of them are team sports and there are a lot of guys who play both so it’s important for both teams that we got to be close knit and that was a big part of our success — the way everyone backed each other up.
TJN: Describe the moment you knew the team was going to win and the moment when the horn blew and the win became official.
NH: I think once Stef (Stefan Miklakos) scored that second goal and we sort of got out in front, that was a pretty big one to get but once we got that fourth goal, with like 10 minutes to go, I think that’s when I thought we had it. When the buzzer sounded, it was unbelievable. All the hard work we put in our whole lives is incredible to do it especially for coach Witz. He dedicated most of his life to the program, building it up. All the fans came up – there were probably 100 kids up in Buffalo, our families, and all our teammates that worked so hard together to get where we were and no matter how much anyone played, they gave it their all. It was awesome to see everyone’s hard work mean something.
TJN: How long have you been playing hockey?
NH: My dad was a big hockey player so I think I was always around it. I started skating when I was three but I didn’t start playing till I was five. I started doing the clinic and we built a rink in my backyard. He taught me to skate and shoot out there.
TJN: When you get to college, are you going to continue playing either sport?
NH: I want to play club hockey in college because I was thinking about taking a gap year because that’s what you have to do to play college hockey but I decided I wanted to go to college and focus on my academic career. Club hockey is still pretty competitive for a lot of guys who like me take academics seriously.
TJN: Do you know where you’re going next year?
NH: No, I haven’t decided yet. I’m still waiting to hear from 10 schools. That should happen within the next nine days or so it’s going to be a pretty packed next few days. Then I’ll have the next month to decide. Wherever I’ll end up, I’ll be happy.
TJN: Do you know what you want to major in?
NH: I’m not exactly sure yet. It depends on which college I get into I guess. I was thinking engineering either mechanical or biomedical because I’ve always liked to build things for the mechanical aspect. Then I think biomedical because I’ve spent the last couple of summers working at a neuro-molecular biology lab researching Parkinson’s and that was interesting.
TJN: What was the one piece of community service work you’ve done that left you with a lasting impact?
NH: I think the EcoPel work I’ve done. My friend’s mom started it and pretty much what it’s doing is promoting a healthy lifestyle and promoting ways to create a more sustainable environment around Pelham. EcoPel stands for Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams so, we do a lot of town cleanups and yoga solstices on the summer solstice. That’s the one that affected me the most because of how important it is nowadays with all the pollution and what not to do to have a healthy environment and healthy lifestyle.
TJN: How cool is it to know you get to follow in Ben Hurd’s footsteps in winning the Con Ed award?
NH: It’s awesome that we’ve got two guys in one year. It shows how special our team was I guess. Not say we’re the two best players, we’ve got 10 guys who were huge on the team even more really. To have two winners in the same year is remarkable.
The Con Edison Athlete of the Week recognizes students in Westchester and Putnam schools who excel athletically. Academic achievements, leadership, citizenship, and school and community activities are also factors. The winner is selected each week by a panel of athletic directors and coaches who review ballots submitted by each athlete’s athletic director or coach.
Debbie Schechter; Twitter: @LoHud_Debbie