CR grad Aloe was able to mix lacrosse with academics

Thomas Aloe

NEWARK — As a long-time athlete, Thomas Aloe has celebrated a lot of big moments in his life.

But this one was as exciting as any of them.

In January, the Delaware lacrosse player and Caesar Rodney High grad found out he’d been accepted into Rutgers’ dental school.

“When I had my interview there, I felt confident,” said Aloe. “But you’re going up against a lot of qualified applications. When I got the phone call explaining my acceptance, I was thrilled.

“It was an awesome feeling to have received that phone call. I immediately called my parents. They were really thrilled. It was an awesome experience. … I was excited to say the least.”

Aloe has always been pretty good at being a high-level athlete without letting it keep him from being a top-notch student, too.

The proof of his dual talents came last week when the 23-year-old was named UD’s male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A five-time dean’s list honoree, Aloe owns a 3.437 cumulative GPA as a biology major.

On the field, the senior was voted a team captain after picking up second-team All-CAA honors at long stick midfielder last spring.

“Tom is a phenomenal ambassador for the University of Delaware, Blue Hen athletics and our men’s lacrosse program,” said Blue Hen coach Ben DeLuca. “He embodies our motto of ‘Well done is better than well said.’

“Tom has demonstrated great character, discipline and leadership through his actions, and is driven by an uncompromising work ethic to be the very best. His success and positive influence on the field, in the classroom and in the community set the standard for everyone in our program.”

Earning a starting spot at an NCAA Division I program like Delaware wasn’t easy for Aloe. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder is one of only four in-state players on the Hens’ roster right now.

Aloe has played in 35 straight games for Delaware, including six this season.

A first-team All-Stater at CR who went to UD on a partial athletic scholarship, Aloe quickly realized that the only thing that matters in college is what you prove on the field.

“Coming out of high school, that stuff is not really important once you’re at college,” he said. “All the players are better. You think you’re a pretty good player from your area in high school but all the better guys are moving up to play in college with you.”

About two-and-a-half years ago, Aloe also made the switch from midfielder to longstick middie. That meant having to learn more of the finer points of playing defense.

The Hens have ranked in the top 10 nationally in defense over the past two seasons.

“The effort plays that maybe don’t make the headlines, that stuff is just as important as scoring goals,” said Aloe. “I love making the plays that may fly under the radar but are just as important.”

Being voted a team captain last fall was the icing on the cake for Aloe.

“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “It was a real honor and something that taught me a lot about myself and about how to make sure everyone is putting their best foot forward.”

Aloe was probably always destined to become a dentist. Both his dad, Tom, who practices in Dover, and his grandfather are dentists.

Since he was kid passing through his dad’s office, Aloe was interested in dentistry. When he got to UD, he finally decided that’s what he wanted to focus on.

In college, Aloe has spent almost 300 hours shadowing dentists in the state.

But while being accepted to Rutgers dentistry school is a dream come true for Aloe, it also may mean the end of his lacrosse career.

Because this year’s spring season was stopped by the threat of the coronavirus, the NCAA is expected to grant seniors an extra season of eligibility. In Aloe’s case, though, that might conflict with starting dental school.

Aloe, who already redshirted one season, said he still needs to sit down with his parents before making a final decision. But Aloe said he can accept it if this is the end of his playing career.

“I really gave everything I had in the abbreviated time we had together this season,” said Aloe. “Obviously it’s a real shame things having ended so abruptly without getting the chance to play in our conference tournament or even a single conference game.

“But I think putting everything in perspective has kind of helped me appreciate the time I had with my teammates. I appreciated each day at practice.

“I had an extra year — most guys don’t get a fifth season to enjoy and work with their teammates,” he added. “So I kind of felt that I was on borrowed time this spring. It was just something I couldn’t explain. It was just a feeling that I couldn’t ignore. So I took every day very seriously and gave it all I had.”