The multi-sport athlete is a dying breed, which makes it even more impressive on those rare occasions when you have a kid excel in 2 different sport. Bedford High senior Michael Vailas fits that description. Vailas has emerged as one of the state's top players in both lacrosse and football.
Vailas got recruited more for LAX, and similar to his older brother Tommy Vailas (played football and LAX at BG and then at Governor's Academy). Mike Vailas has decided to join his brother Tommy on the lacrosse team at Bryant University in Rhode Island.
"The recruiting process truly started in the summer after my sophomore year which was only for lacrosse" Michael Vailas told the NH Notebook. "Growing up I always thought football would be the sport I'd play in college. But that summer after sophomore year some schools showed a lot of interest in me for lacrosse like Notre Dame, Lehigh, UMass, Towson, Michigan, Ohio State and obviously Bryant. Bryant stood out because they were the most straight forward and gave me an offer. That showed me how much they value me and I believe the coaches at Bryant are some of the best in the country as coaches and people. Head coach Mike Pressler is a former coach at Duke. With Bryant close to home and my brother Tommy Vailas also on the LAX team it made it an easy decision to commit to Bryant. I committed the summer after sophomore year and was hoping football could still get me recruited but only 2 or 3 schools showed little interest."
Vailas was having a huge senior season on the football field for the Bulldogs, but recently suffered a season-ending injury. He is hoping for a speedy recovery.
"I broke my fibula on my left leg and I think i must have cracked it early on in the game because I was limping around but it wasn't bad enough to come out. Then a couple drives later when I tried getting out of the pocket I felt a pop and tried one more play and after that I knew I was no use for the team anymore. I will most likely be walking around in six weeks but there is still a chance I may need surgery if it isn't healing right. I hope to be running around again in six weeks and looking forward to playing indoor lacrosse during late winter."
Both football and lacrosse is in Vailas' genes. His older brothers Andy and Jimmy played at BG and then football at UNH, Tommy played football and lacrosse at BG then Governor's Academy and now LAX at Bryant. Their cousin Nick Vailas played football and LAX at Bedford and now plays football at Bowdoin. His uncle Jim Vailas played football for Dartmouth College; uncles John and Arthur Vailas played for UNH. His father Nick played for Plymouth State, and his uncle Alex played at Colby College.
"I've been playing football my whole life and only started playing lacrosse in 8th grade" explained Michael, the youngest Vailas. ootball made me such a better LAX player because of the physicality of it. The college lacrosse coaches love to see a long stick middy go out and hit people and football has helped me so much with that. And also making people miss in football and LAX are similar so running the ball in football helps with running with the ball in lacrosse. My brothers have helped me so much with football and lacrosse. They have taught me everything I know and just playing in the yard with them has made me that much better. Playing football in the yard with my brothers and Nicky who is like a brother has definitely toughened me up from when we were little."
Even though he already has his D-I scholarship in hand, Vailas still has more goals on his mind.
"I play longstick middy and some strengths are that I get a good amount of grounds balls and I can take the ball the length of the field" pointed out Vailas, who stands 6-foot. "My best individual accomplishment is getting the most grounds in the state, because that changes the possession and gets our team on offense. And team-wise just winning 3 championships in a row and hopefully a 4th this year."
Vailas' accomplishments haven't come without adversity. It had to be very tough for him to watch his football team's semi-final game vs. Exeter from the sidelines. And it's going to b even tougher having to watch the title game on Saturday vs. Pinkerton. But you can bet he will be cheering his team on, and use this as motivation moving forward.
"To beat Pinkerton my teammates just have to play the way they have been honestly" Vailas concluded. "Our defense will win the championship, and if they play the way they have all year then I think we will come out on top. The offense stepped up in the pass game thanks to Ciboti, and also Cashin found some holes where he could do some damage. I can't wait for this game, it should be a battle. For lacrosse we are moving to D-1, we have a lot of good athletes and I think we can make it pretty far this year."