Montclair High School graduate Konrad Miklaszewski could have easily taken his lacrosse skills to a lesser program on the next level.

But the All New Jersey first team player is looking for a challenge by heading to Yale University.

It was only four years ago that the Bulldogs won the NCAA lacrosse championship, and three years ago when Yale made it to the NCAA title game.

Miklaszewski decided on Yale in September, choosing it over Big Ten, Patriot League and other Ivy League schools.

"One of the main reasons was how comfortable I felt with the coaching staff," he said. "The caliber of the program speaks for itself."

Though he is joining a talented Yale team, he said he knows that if he works hard his playing time will be there.

"I'm always a heads-down kind of guy," Miklaszewski said. "I just know that I will keep working hard and my time will come. … I want to be there and want to compete with better guys, and it will make me better."

Miklaszewski is a hard-nosed defender who was named the USA Lacrosse New Jersey Defenseman of the Year.

Montclair High School's Konrad Miklaszewski, 71, celebrates with teammate Luca Ward after Ward scored a goal against Bridgewater-Raritan in the North Group 4 quarterfinals. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
Montclair High School's Konrad Miklaszewski, 71, celebrates with teammate Luca Ward after Ward scored a goal against Bridgewater-Raritan in the North Group 4 quarterfinals. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
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Montclair lacrosse head coach Mike Diehl is in Miklaszewski’s camp on his getting time on the field for the Bulldogs sooner or later.

"I believe his game will translate extremely well to the college level," Diehl said. "Konrad is very versatile at the LSM [long stick midfielder] position. Not only is he a lockdown defender, but he is extremely effective and dangerous in transition and very valuable on the wing during face-offs and/or taking face-offs."

Playing for an inexperienced Montclair team this year, Miklaszewski was forced into helping out with the face-offs.

One thing that helped was his play during the lacrosse club seasons in the fall and summer for Leading Edge Lacrosse. 

His Montclair coach says that his work on that club team, along with playing in one of the top high school conferences in New Jersey, has helped Miklaszewski get ready for Yale. 

"It is important to note that he understands and already practices the work ethic needed on a daily basis to compete at the Division I Level," Diehl said.

This summer Miklaszewski took part in the National Senior All-American game with some of the top high school seniors in the country on July 9 at Navy Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. 

"It was a really awesome experience, and everybody there was a baller," he said.  "I was super-excited playing in it, and I was humbled by it." 

At the National he was also able to play with another Yale incoming freshman, Brody Coleman, from upstate New York.

Miklaszewski said that he received the attention of scouts for the National game when he was playing for Leading Edge Lacrosse, a top club team in New Jersey, during recent summer and fall games.

Miklaszewski said it's been a dream for him to play in college since he started playing lacrosse in third grade. He said that Tom Schmitt, one of the prime movers of Montclair Lacrosse, talked to his family, to get him to try lacrosse. 

Montclair graduated senior Konrad Miklaszewski, left, drives against Montclair Kimberley in the annual rivalry. Miklaszewski was named to the All New Jersey first team and will be playing on the next level at Yale University. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
Montclair graduated senior Konrad Miklaszewski, left, drives against Montclair Kimberley in the annual rivalry. Miklaszewski was named to the All New Jersey first team and will be playing on the next level at Yale University. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
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"After the first year that I played, I had a ton of fun," he said.

For the first couple of years, he played in the midfield, but by the seventh grade he moved to the back, and he stayed there.

"I liked playing defense," Miklaszewski said. "I think I was pretty mediocre at the midfield, but I was much better with the long pole [as a defenseman]."

Looking back at the 2022 Montclair High School season, he points to the 7-6 win over Ridgewood on April 21, a revenge game for the Mounties, who lost to the Maroons in the 2021 state playoffs, as the highlight for the team.

"We had a lot of guys step up, especially the younger guys," he said.

When it came to individual highlights this year, he not only pointed to the Ridgewood game, but also to both matches against Seton Hall Prep, even though Montclair lost both games, 13-0 in the season opener on March 31 and in the Essex County Tournament semifinals, 14-4. Seton Hall went on to win the county title, and Ridgewood likewise was a quality team.

One of the toughest losses turned out to be the last match for Miklaszewski and the rest of the Mounties seniors. They lost 11-8 at Bridgewater-Raritan in the North Group 4 quarterfinals. The Mounties went up 4-0 after the first quarter and tied the game at eight with only a few minutes left in the contest. But Bridgewater-Raritan would go on to win and then took the Group 4 title. 

"It was very emotional, especially for the seniors," Miklaszewski said. "The bus ride home was tough knowing that it was the last game."

While Miklaszewski is headed for Yale, his younger brother, Simon, will be back as a junior for the Mounties.

 "I tried to help him in lacrosse and school," Konrad Miklaszewski said. "I was trying to be a role model for him."