Jack Carr will be joining the University of Massachusetts Division I men’s lacrosse team, and the Shelton High All-State defender believes he’s found the right spot to spark his innate competitive spirit.

“UMass has a great lacrosse program. I played a summer tournament there, the coaches came to watch, and I was happy when they offered me a spot,” Carr said. “They have the academic program I want (kinesiology) and I felt at home. They have a great coach and return a lot of players. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

UMass put together a 10-5 campaign last year for Hall-of Fame coach Greg Cannella, who has led the Minutemen to nine NCAA tournaments (the last in 2018) and eight New England titles. UMass tied for the Colonial Athletic Association regular season crown in 2019 and advanced to the CAA semifinals before losing 15-12 to Drexel.

“My mom and dad (Joan and Neal) told me when I was growing up that if you do something, then try to be the best at doing it,” said Carr, who also was an All Stater in football for the Gaels. “I’m very competitive and playing sports in Shelton sparked it.”

Shelton head boys’ lacrosse coach Matt Read believes UMass is a good fit for Carr.

“I am impressed by Jack’s character, drive, and abilities on the field,” he said. “I know there will be a time of adjustment and getting used to playing against players that have many of the same athletic attributes, but I believe Jack will be up to the challenge and move his game to new heights.

“Jack started for our varsity team during his freshman year at close defense and long stick midfield. He started and played in 59 games over four years. As a defensive player, Jack scored 13 goals and had 11 assists. He was an impact player for us and made our program better, along with a very talented senior class.

“Jack is a phenomenal athlete, probably the best I have ever coached. He not only was a standout football player during his time at Shelton, he ran indoor track for a year and did very well. His football coaches say the same thing about him and were surprised to hear that he was even better at the game of lacrosse over football.”

Carr feels one sport lends itself to being successful at the other.

“Footwork is the key to both,” said Carr, a standout running back and defensive back for coach Jeff Roy’s Gaels. “It’s ninety percent foot work. With football you can grind out drives and control games. It is crazy how fast lacrosse is. You can’t get comfortable because a team can score three or four goals in a minute.”

Playing in the Southern Connecticut Conference paid dividends.

“No matter the sport, football or lacrosse, you are playing the best of the best every time you take the field,” Carr said. “You have to play hard and fast.”

Read said: “His ability to take the ball away and begin an offensive threat is evident in his scoring numbers. That doesn't truly show his impact. As a freshman against Fairfield Prep, Jack took the ball away from a top attackman on Prep, grabbed the ground ball, and took off up the field. His speed allowed him to break from the pack and draw the opposing defense to him as it looked like he would shoot. Instead his lacrosse IQ and overall ability became evident, when he dished the ball off to fellow freshman Nick Pavone for an assisted goal and his first point at varsity.

“Knowing how good Fairfield Prep has been over time, I believe that this may be the only time that Prep had an assisted goal performed by two freshmen. Time and time again Jack would do this type of play against top SCC teams. I am as impressed with Jack's demeanor. Jack is very level headed, confident, but never cocky. He is a total competitor and leads by example.”

Carr has looked back only once.

“I went to spring football at Shelton and it hit me when my teammates began to put away their gear,” he said. I’m going to miss it. Most everyone on the team has known each other, hung out together, and played sports together since we were five or six. There is a brotherhood playing at Shelton.”