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Alumni: John eager to finish college lacrosse career in Tampa Bay

Tanner John played his entire fourth year at Hobart College assuming it would be his last as a college men’s lacrosse player.

But he got to the end, a 5-4 loss to Bryant in the Northeast Conference championship, and wanted to write a different ending. Technically a redshirt junior due to a freshman year injury, John remembered a conversation with his friend Adam Hardy, an assistant coach at the University of Tampa, about playing his fifth year at the Division II school in Tampa Bay, Fla.

“Up until my last game at Hobart, I would have told you that I was done,” John said.

Then came the Statesmen’s season-ending loss, a disappointment for a 2016 NCAA qualifier looking for its second straight tournament bid.

“I remember walking off the field like, ‘Damn, it’s all over,’” said John, the Great Valley native and former Salamanca High star athlete. “It was kind of surreal and everything and I was like, I don’t want it to be over. So I kind of just chased the whole Tampa thing and luckily the people around me at Hobart were willing enough to let me go down there and play my fifth year.”

John said he received support from Hobart coach Greg Raymond and staff, who didn’t force him to stay at the school when it didn’t have his Master’s program. His parents, Scott and Laurie, encouraged the move, as did his girlfriend, Sydnie Beattie, who moved down with their daughter, Kinsley, where she has family in the Tampa area and a brother in college there.

So now, a year after gearing up for his would-be last run at college lacrosse, John is pursuing a Master’s degree in entrepreneurship and hoping to compete for a NCAA Division II championship.

“Ultimately my parents were very supportive of me, my girlfriend, they all told me do it, you can’t pass this up, it’s a great opportunity,” he said. “Just the people around me, I wanted to do it, but it was more along the lines of they encouraged me and they pushed me to do it. It all came about from the people around me just making this whole thing possible.”

The year-long Master’s program runs through next August. John hopes to start his own company out of college.

“The main project you work on the entire year that you’re there is you start up like a fake company but if you really want to pursue it when you’re done, you’re all set up,” he said. “All you would have to do is seek out funding and possibly some partners. They take you by the hand, they walk you right through it, they set up everything.”

As for lacrosse, John took Hardy’s word on most questions about the coaching staff and players. The team practices and lifts three times a week during the fall, also working on conditioning and a scrimmage a week. As a former Division I player and captain who marked a career-best 14 goals last year, John hopes to make an immediate impact on the Spartans.

Tampa made three of the last four NCAA Div. II semifinals, including the last two.

“They’ve been in the semifinals for Division II multiple times,” John said, “and I think that I could be the guy just to put them over the hump and get us into the championship game and bring the first national championship to the University of Tampa. That’s really exciting to think about.

“It’s not a stretch. It’s not something you’re just saying. It’s right there. You’re reaching out and your fingertips are just touching it. It’s really motivating to know it’s that close. Just out your nose down to the grindstone every day and work towards that.”

(Salamanca Press sports editor Sam Wilson may be contacted at

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