SPRINGVILLE — Mark Tellgren and Jake Lamos were playing soccer together over the summer, when they started talking about their freshman years at college. Lamos talked about his experience going to school and playing soccer at the State University of New York College at Buffalo, while Tellgren spoke about his time going to school and playing ball at Erie Community College. The two 2012 Springville-Griffith Institute graduates played soccer together at Springville and took the opportunity to play college ball. After hearing Tellgren talk about his success at ECC and how much he liked the coach, Lamos said he became intrigued. ECC had graduated their two starting center-backs, Jake’s primary position.
ECC men’s soccer coach, Bernie Feldman had recruited Lamos, coming out of high school, and was familiar with the player.
“Jake contacted me in the summer, and of course I knew who he was,” Feldman said. “He emailed me and said ‘I may be interested in playing my second year of eligibility at ECC. Do you have a spot for me?’ I was very excited to know that he was interested in coming to ECC. It really worked out, in the end.”
“One of the main reasons I did play at ECC was that Mark brought me in and really recruited me,” Lamos said. “Mark’s a great guy, and I was privileged to play with him, throughout high school, and I thought it would be great to play with him in college.”
When practice started in August, the two Springville alums became key pieces to ECC’s season. Tellgren scored a game-deciding goal against Hudson Valley Community College, to give ECC a 2-1 win in the first round of the Region III Tournament, in October, while Lamos was ECC’s leader on defense. Tellgren mentioned that coach Feldman was one factor in making his college soccer experience a good one.
“I really enjoyed it. I didn’t think it would be as much fun as it was, being at ECC, just a small, little community college,” Tellgren said, about his experience at the school. “My coach was really great. He really actually kept me there, both years. I didn’t plan on being there for two years, but he was such a good guy, I couldn’t leave. It was a lot of fun and I don’t regret any of it, at all.”
Tellgren and Lamos were named All-Western New York Athletic Conference First Team all-stars for the Kats, this season. Both Springville-Griffith Institute graduates were also selected as Upper 90 All-WNY Honorable Mentions. That team consists of players from all colleges, around the Western New York area, including Division I programs. Tellgren was ECC’s leading scorer, for the past two years. The sophomore forward scored 8 goals and dished out seven assists, this year. In his two years at ECC, Tellgren scored 17 goals and had 14 assists.
“Mark is a player that we based our formation around,” said Feldman. “We were able to run a 4-5-1 with only one forward up top, because he was strong enough to withstand the physical pressure and was a smart enough player to distribute the ball, when that pressure came.”
Tellgren was selected as a captain, this past year, by his teammates and coaches.
“The biggest thing about Mark is he backs up his game,” Feldman noted. “The guys see that he takes a beating, every game. There are a lot of times where he’s taking on two or three defenders. At the college level, those defenders will take some physical liberties on you, if they don’t have other responsibilities. Mark was the kid who got up, dusted himself off and went back to work. He’s the blue-collar grinder. If it was a hockey [player], he’s the Michael Peca or the Danny Gare.”
During his two years at ECC Tellgren started every game, even while battling some injuries. Feldman told the player, at the beginning of his freshman year, that he might not be starting often.
But when Feldman put him in, during his first collegiate game, he scored 2 goals.
“Since then, coach has just really given me the confidence to keep playing and keep pushing myself to do better and better,” said Tellgren.
Lamos’ First Team All-WNYAC season saw him anchor the Kats’ defense. In high school, Lamos played primarily center-mid and played a defensive center-mid at Buffalo State. Center-back was not unfamiliar to Lamos, because he played that position extensively on his travel team. In his first-year with ECC, he was recognized by his teammates and coaches as an assistant captain.
“He was our defensive leader,” said Feldman. “He was our emotional and vocal leader on defense. He just brought energy to that center-back position that was second to none, all year. He was constantly asked to defend the other team’s best player. More times than not, he came out on top.”
Lamos called the opportunity to play college soccer, “a dream come true” and added that, since his freshman year of high school, that was his goal.
“I kept working at it and I’m fortunately in the place that I am now,” said Lamos.
“I definitely have to thank all of the coaches and family members, for sticking by me when I didn’t think I could do it. People kept saying ‘yes you can’. Not a lot of people get to play at the collegiate level. I had a blast playing with these guys who were very talented.”
While playing center-back, Lamos still managed to score a goal and feed two assists.
“His transition to center-back was seamless,” said Feldman.
“There wasn’t a coach that we played against that would know that it wasn’t his natural position. He played the position at Buff State, so I was confident in his defending abilities coming in. I also knew that he played a year of college ball and had been tested and done very well.”
Tellgren and Lamos also spoke about the rigors of being a college student-athlete. Tellgren talked about getting home from an away game at 2 a.m. and having to write a paper for a morning class.
“Honestly, college athletics are both great and bad, at the same time,” said Tellgren.
“I think it ruins some kids’ love for athletics but it also helps some kids. It just really separates the men from the boys. Kids go and they try to play in college, but it’s not as easy as everybody thinks. But when you do it, and you actually accomplish it, you feel like a big part of something. It’s really worth it, to put all the time and effort in. “
Tellgren is the son of Betsy and Scott Tellgren.
Lamos is the son of Charlie and Diane Lamos.