Dalton Lucas remembers his last high school lacrosse game as if it were yesterday.
“My senior game we played Smithtown West at Smithtown West,” said Lucas (pictured above).
“The game before that, we had won our first playoff game in Riverhead, and we had never won a playoff game before.”
The Riverhead ‘18 alum said he remembered the parents cheering, chanting and swinging their cowbells in support of his team. It was his last game, and though they didn’t win, he went off to Stony Brook University and had very successful seasons.
“I played ‘attack.’ In this position, you’re on offense, so you’re trying to score,” said Lucas. He lived on campus during his first year at Stony Brook, as most student-athletes do. In his second year at Stony Brook, he lived with his teammates, who became a part of his family. “It was like having fifty other brothers. It was a really good atmosphere.”
But in the middle of his 2020 season, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, putting a halt to his lacrosse career. “During the pandemic, we were in season,” said Lucas. “Obviously, we stopped playing, so I went to work because school ended not much longer after that.” His team’s record that year was 9 wins and 6 losses, and they lost their final game of the season.
Lucas was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and when he was 8 months old, his parents decided that a life on Long Island would be much better for him. “If it were up to my dad, he would’ve stayed in New Zealand,” said Lucas. “But my mom made him come back to the U.S.”
Lucas’ parents visited New Zealand on vacation for about a month in 1993, but this vacation turned into an 8-year adventurous stay, ending with the birth of their first and only child. Lucas grew up playing many sports, including football, lacrosse, and dirt biking. “My parents just kind of threw me into everything, but I really liked lacrosse.”
The pandemic halted his social life and education; the only thing left for him to do was find a way to stay busy and work full-time. Lucas’ father owns a construction company, “Lucas Built Construction.” He officially began working with his father on a variety of different projects. He then sought other physical labor jobs, including landscaping, working on a commercial fishing boat, and for Egan Marine Construction, where he is currently employed.
“I would say he has given me the last little shimmer of hope for his generation because he is a hard worker and a very motivated person,” said Elijah Krause (pictured left), who has been working with Lucas for just about two years at Egan Marine Construction.
But Lucas didn’t only work during the pandemic; he found a new passion: Motocross. This physically demanding sport requires riders to ride a 200-pound motorcycle across rough terrain in an enclosed off-road circuit that can be up to three miles long.
“I always loved to ride motocross,” said Lucas. “I finally had the opportunity to ride a lot more and go to more races, and I was enjoying that. So, I was working during the week and riding during the weekend, and I just loved that.”
As Covid-19 vaccines, testing and regulations rolled out, bringing a little bit of normalcy back to life, Lucas faced a significant quandary: he had to decide what he was going to stick with – work, lacrosse, or motocross.
“Right before we went back to school, I was like, ‘I like where I’m at with work, lacrosse isn’t everything, I am not going to make money in my future with it,’” said Lucas. “So, I called the coach and told him how I felt, and that was that. It was definitely one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, without a doubt.”
Despite the pandemic and quitting lacrosse, Lucas said, “I guess I kind of like got the experience of everything and I am definitely grateful for it; I don’t regret any of it.”
The recent graduate is described by his mother, Joanne Lucas (pictured middle), as honest and loving. “He lives by his truth. He is loving because he comes from the spirit of the Lord,” said Joanne. One thing that has gotten Lucas through his tough times is prayer. He values his relationship with God. Lucas’s grandparents and mother introduced him to Christianity at a young age, and he said he had seen God’s presence in his life at even the smallest moments. “As small as a test, or as big as a job interview, you can always pray, and it’ll help you out for sure.”
Lucas received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management, and has the next few years of his life planned out. “I got into the University of Florida Master’s of Science in Business and Entrepreneurship Program,” Lucas said. “I would also like to play lacrosse again there. That would be fun.”
He also started a small transportation business, “Lucas Built Transportation,” that moves machinery, cars, trucks and more across the country. He sees himself expanding his business to construction in 10 years because he loves building and eyes moving down south to enjoy a better life at a lower cost.
Seamus Wharton (pictured right) has known Lucas for seven years and considers him one of his best friends. “He pushes me to work hard, just like he does,” Wharton said. “I see all the things he has bought and earned for himself, and it’s all from working hard. It shows me I can do the same thing if I follow his work ethic.”
Lucas doesn’t let obstacles hold him back, whether waking up early and facing problems at work, making huge life decisions, or dropping Lacrosse to work full-time in the middle of a pandemic.
“You have to keep going,” Lucas said confidently. “What are you going to do? Just stop if one bad thing happens? No, you gotta keep pushing through.”