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Army Grad Maisano Seeks New Worlds To Conquer

The following article appeared in the Buffalo News on July 9, 2010. It was written by News/Sports reporter Amanda Bremer

BUFFALO, N.Y. - In one way, Andrew Maisano is like many of the local student-athletes who decide to attend college away from home; he misses his family, friends, and the food back in Buffalo. In every other way, the St. Francis graduate stands out.

This May alone, Maisano met President Obama, graduated near the top of his class, and captained his lacrosse team to an upset over perennial powerhouse Syracuse in the NCAA tournament.

Maisano made the dean's list all eight semesters at West Point and earned a 4.0 grade point average in systems engineering. He finished in the top 5 percent of his class, which gave him the opportunity to receive his diploma from Obama at graduation.

"I knew he [the president] came in four-year cycles and he had been there in 2006. It's a goal I had the whole time that I obtained," Maisano said.

Maisano, laughing, admits that he doesn't remember what Obama said to him.

"They call you up one at a time in front of everyone. I didn't want to screw up, and I was so worried that I didn't listen," Maisano said.

Meeting the president is only one of many honors Maisano has earned. He found as much success on the field as he did in the classroom.

Maisano was selected as the Lowe's Senior Class Award winner for men's lacrosse, given to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I. Criteria for the award include academic and athletic excellence, community service, and character.

"I'm proud of it because of the quality of the people who were up for it and what it represents," Maisano said.

He was also named a first-team member of the 2010 ESPN the Magazine Academic All America Men's At-Large Squad and the 2010 Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He was picked to chair the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and served as one of three lacrosse captains, which are voted on by the team.

"I'm not the most vocal but I set the example. One of the captains does the pep talk and the other two were more behind the scenes. It worked out well and we found success," Maisano said.

The team started off slow, posting a 1-4 record through five games, including a loss to a rival military academy.

"We lost to Air Force, it was their only win all year. Talking to the other seniors, we all said, "I don't want to be remembered for this,'" Maisano said.

Army won nine of its last 10 games to take the conference championship title, and went on to upset two-time defending champ Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament with a 9-8 victory in double overtime.

Maisano has been commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He will undergo engineer basic officer training in Missouri this summer before being sent to Germany to join his unit.

"You look more and more forward to serving as you go along in school. You realize it's going to be your career for at least five years," Maisano said.

Looking back, he admits that when he committed to attend West Point, it was more about lacrosse than the military.

"I went for maybe the wrong reason at first, a lot of lacrosse, but I definitely left with the right reason," Maisano said. "It's what you are there for, to serve your country. It takes hold of you."

As a West Point graduate, Maisano is committed to five years of active duty and three years in the reserves. He eventually plans on a career in business and may go back to school to get his master's degree.

"I will stay in the military as long as I enjoy it," Maisano said.

abremer@buffnews.com

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