During his record-setting career with the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team, Mike Olentine was a crowd pleaser.
The elusive, skilled attacker Olentine scored a program-record 140 points in his senior season at PHS in 2010 on the way to joining the Dartmouth College men’s lax program.
Coming home this April as Dartmouth played Princeton at Class of 1952 Stadium, Olentine put on a show for the fans, tallying two goals including the first score of the contest.
“I was fired up; growing up I had watched Princeton a lot in that stadium,” said Olentine, reflecting on his homecoming.
“There was a huge crowd there to support me; I was really surprised. Scoring that first goal was great.”
While things didn’t go great for Dartmouth as it fell 21-6 to the Tigers, the Big Green did enjoy a late surge, winning three of their last four games.
“I think that is something we can build on,” said the 5’11, 160-pound Olentine, who tallied 16 points this spring on 10 goals and six assists as the Big Green finished at 5-9 overall and 1-5 in Ivy League play.
“We got eliminated from the Ivy League tournament and we weren’t going to get an at-large bid. We looked at the last four games as the first four games of the next season. We wanted to win all four and we won three. It was a good way to end the season.”
Upon arriving at Dartmouth in 2010, Olentine saw that he had a ways to go to be a contributor.
“When I got there in the fall, one thing that was clear is how good everyone was,” said Olentine.
“There were no weak links. Every drill was at 100 percent speed like a game. All three coaches are high energy guys, I really liked that.”
Thriving in that environment, Olentine made the traveling squad that spring and didn’t waste any time making an impact.
“My first goal was against Mercer in the third game,” recalled Olentine. “I had taken a lot of shots but nothing had fallen. That was great.”
Olentine, though, did have to change his game a bit as he was shifted to a new position.
“They moved me to offensive midfield; I hadn’t played there since middle school but I was only going to play on offense,” said Olentine, who ended up with four goals and an assist in his freshman season.
“I played middle for a while and then in the second-to-last game, I got in against Penn on attack and scored two goals.”
Over the summer and fall, Olentine worked hard to hone his scoring skills.
“I tried to play as much as I could; I played in tournaments in Vail and at the shore,” added Olentine.
“I worked on conditioning, running as much as I could, and lifting weights. The fall is a good time to work on your game; the juniors are usually on semester abroad and there is more individual coaching. We have practices by positions.”
When this spring rolled around, Olentine was ready to solidify his position on the team.
“I had a really good opportunity; Kip Dooley went down eight minutes into first game and I got in and scored two goals in a blizzard against Colgate,” said Olentine.
“We won the game; that was a great day. After Kip came back, I was getting into the rotation late in games. I came in against Yale and Cornell to give a spark.”
Currently, Olentine is in Hanover, looking to take advantage of academic and athletic opportunities.
“I will be spending sophomore summer at Dartmouth,” said Olentine, referring to the school’s mandatory program which will see him taking two courses in the term.
“I will be doing conditioning workouts with the team and we will be doing lacrosse stuff on our own.”
For Olentine, going to summer school is no problem as he has relished his Dartmouth experience.
“I really have enjoyed every minute of it and getting really close to my teammates,” said Olentine.
“The academics are challenging but older teammates can help you work through that.”
As Olentine looks ahead to his junior season, he is determined to be there when it counts for his teammates.
“I want to be a more complete player and become a go-to player for our offense,” said Olentine.
“I am working on accuracy and having shots on the cage and shooting well with both hands.”