- As a three-year quarterback for the East Hampton football team, Austin Heneveld's statistics certainly jumped off the page, and the figures he put up in the classroom were just as impressive. Excellence in both forums stood out as the Bonac senior was honored earlier this month with the Suffolk County Top Scholar Athlete of the Year at the annual National Football Foundation Banquet at Crest Hollow Country Club
Heneveld led East Hampton to a 6-3 record from under center, piling up 893 yards and seven touchdowns and adding 809 yards and 11 TDs on the ground. The Bonackers drew the No. 7 seed in Division III and was knocked out of the tournament by Sayville in the first round. Outside the lines, he has maintained a weighted 98 average and registered a 1,930 on the SATs. The National Honor Society member was the recipient of a Suffolk Zone Award, for which each athletic director nominates one male and female outstanding student-athlete in the district. The NFF recognized all of his achievements and him over 46 other finalists for the award.
"It was a great honor," said Heneveld, who made a speech after being presented with the award. "I never knew really how big the award was until I actually got there at the brunch. There were a lot more people than I expected."
Heneveld ran and passed for a combined 18 touchdowns in leading the Bonackers to a Division III playoff berth. Photo by Brett Mauser
Heneveld will play lacrosse upon enrolling at the United States Naval Academy in the spring of 2011, following in the footsteps of his brother Heath, who is in his third year in Annapolis. This past spring, the Navy laxmen won the Patriot League championship before being ousted by Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Midshipmen finished 13th in the final Inside Lacrosse Division I rankings. Heneveld had always intended to enter the Navy out of high school yet he's doubly thrilled with the opportunity to continue his sports career.
"If you asked me a year ago today, I would never think I was going to be able to play for Navy," Heneveld said. "The opportunity presented itself, I had a couple good games here and there and everything fell into place. I couldn't be happier playing lacrosse. I always wanted to play a sport in college."
One of the top goal scorers in Suffolk last year, Heneveld first committed to the Academy on May 1 of this year due to his lacrosse prowess but later was accepted academically as well. He managed to juggle playing two sports along with a full workload of advanced placement classes. "It made it more difficult, but at the same time, it was good to be challenged."
The challenge will continue as all plebe freshmen enter the Academy as engineering majors and learn the same curriculum in their first semester. In the winter, they're able to select their majors. Heneveld expects he'll continue on the engineering path like his brother or enroll in the highly-acclaimed business school.
"My brother said it's a lot easier to decide once you're at the Academy," Heneveld said. "They take you through all the majors and show you everything about them and then you can decide."
Before then, though, he and his Bonacker teammates will take aim at the school's first playoff win in history. Last year, East Hampton trounced Harborfields 12-3 in the regular season finale to set up a rematch the next day with the Tornadoes in what was a play-in game in Class B. Harborfields prevailed 9-8.
"It would be amazing to win one this year," Heneveld said. "Tyler [Brenneman], James [Petrie], Ryan [Shaw], Jake [Beyer], we're all psyched about this season. We all want to go out with a bang."
The NFF award was a terrific way to round out his career in East Hampton, yet he admitted that life without football is something that's taken some time to come to grips with. "That's a huge part of my life that's gone now," Heneveld said. "Coming into our last game against Sayville, I thought this could be your last time playing football. I didn't really realize how huge that was until the game was actually over."
Heneveld will take his game to Annapolis where he'll suit up for the Navy men's lacrosse team. Photo by Brett Mauser