Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2022




“To be honest, I contemplated making a change,” Ian said. “But I stayed the course, and I did the physical rehab. That next year, we won the PSAC [in football], and then that spring we won the championship in lacrosse.” Had Ian made that change, he also wouldn’t have had the “best of both worlds,” as he describes it: Not only did he get to line up next to Zac on the footbal l f eld, but he also had a year playing with his younger brother, Garrett. Garrett On the Gridiron Th e f rst time Garrett Wild was recruited to be a Mercyhurst Laker, he wasn’t even a teenager. He was at Mercyhurst to watch Zac when one of the coaches pulled him aside and, in jest, acted like Garrett was on an o f cial visit. “At the time it was funny, and I was just thinking, ‘yeah, maybe one day,’” Garrett said. “As it turned out, eight or nine years later, I ended up at Mercyhurst.” It was a natural fit f or Garrett – he had been going to games at Saxon Stadium since middle school, and as a high schooler, he watched as Ian’s team won the PSAC. At his own school, Baldwin High School, he excelled as an all- conference player in both football and lacrosse. “Seeing my brothers’ success at Mercyhurst in f uenced me,” Garrett said. “Mercyhurst seemed like the right fi t , and it all just kind of fell into place.”

Just as he was in f uenced by his brothers, others’ opinions of Garrett were in f uenced by Zac and Ian’s previous performances. “I struggled sometimes, especially my freshman year with Ian’s success,” Garrett said. “I felt like people expected me to [play that well right away], too. I just had to work and let things play out. “I put my own pressure on me, so people didn’t really have to do it for me or bring up that I was a Wild brother,” he added. “They didn’t have to worry about me slacking – I took it upon myself to do my best.” He performed well as a linebacker from 2011 to 2014 and made the All-PSAC West Second Team in 2014. The Bond of Mercyhurst In the stands for many of those games was Zac, who, as the oldest brother by several years, got to appreciate Garrett’s play for th e f rst time post-Mercyhurst, continuing his connection as a Laker alum. Looking back, all three brothers had the chance to re f ect on playing for Mercyhurst and seeing the other brothers compete as Lakers. “We were all key players. We had similar drives. It was pretty cool that we all sustained really good careers,” Garrett said. “It all worked out for us, and I think that’s pretty special.”

For Zac, no w a f nancial advisor at Edward Jones Investments in Erie, he saw how being a Laker connected him with Ia n, a f nancial planner at All-Pro Advisors in Pittsburgh, and Garrett, a millwright and warehouse supervisor at J. Poli Inc. in Pittsburgh. “With our Mercyhurst experiences, while we didn’t experience it side by side, hip to hip, it still connected us all,” he said. “We were in the same locker room with the same coach, lifting the same weights. It gives us a great connecting point. And obviously, we can bond over football, but there are also things like eating at Egan Hall and classes we took.” And for Ian, he took time to think about how Mercyhurst impacted the Wild family over the course of 12 years. “You always feel welcome at Mercyhurst. And you always felt at home,” he said. “‘Hurst is Home’ felt true.”


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