Mercer Island lacrosse captain Brett Bottomley verbally committed to play Divison III lacrosse at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. Bottomley, who will be a senior at Mercer Island High School this fall, made his decision after narrowing his choices to Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall College, Colby College and Wesleyan University.
He said in Dickinson, he saw a school that offered him a perfect blend of academics and lacrosse.
“When I was looking at schools, academics was a priority,” said Bottomley, who boasts a 3.7 GPA at MIHS. “There were other DI schools I was looking at that were strong schools, but in terms of the level of commitment, I felt the best place was DIII.”
Bottomley was the second-leading scorer on a Mercer Island team that went 19-3 last season, tying for first place in the KingCo division and reaching the quarterfinals of the state tournament. He found the back of the net 27 times last season, led the team with 33 assists and was fourth on the team with 31 ground balls. He believes his high number of assists from last season, as well as his ability to score with his left hand, was what left a mark on Dickinson’s lacrosse recruiters.
Bottomley said he’s looking forward to attending a school with a really nice surrounding community and a population similar in size to Mercer Island. While he’s excited to play under Dickinson head coach Dave Webster, Bottomley seems most excited to play for a coach whose seniors have all had jobs before graduation in seven of the last nine years.
“It’s important to have a well-rounded education, and Dickinson has a strong alumni network with lacrosse players who have no problem getting a job,” he said. “[Webster] really cares about his seniors having jobs. At the end of the day, it’s all about academics and the experiences you have while you’re there.”
Bottomley began playing lacrosse in 6th grade, when best friend and Mercer Island lacrosse co-captain Evan Condon got him to join. The two were standouts on their 8th grade lacrosse team, winning the local Eastside championship over Issaquah. Bottomley has also played club soccer since 5th grade and has participated in cross-country at MIHS since his freshman year.
But it’s the strides he’s shown on the lacrosse field that will take him to Pennsylvania. Playing lacrosse on the Island, Bottomley has developed a fondness for the game’s fast pace, physicality and aspect of team-bonding.
“It’s never about just one person,” he said. “Our coach [Ian O’Hearn] always says he’d rather have a team of 7s and 8s on the player rating scale than a couple of 10s. The sense of teamwork, unity and playing with guys you’ve grown up with is just real fun. We’re unique in that everyone’s grown up here for the most part.”
Looking into his upcoming senior season at Mercer Island, Bottomley said his senior class is hungry for a state title. Despite graduating 13 seniors, he looks toward their program’s depth to come through for the Islanders this season.
“The good thing about this program is we have a strong number of juniors coming up. My grade is strong at all positions. We have a good amount of experience mixed with the upcoming juniors who’ve been in JV for a couple of years, have seen what we’re about and are ready to take the next step to varsity.”