The Riptide’s first class of draft picks has laid the foundation for their future. In the first round of the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, they took Tyson Gibson first overall and Tyson Bomberry 10thoverall. Jake Fox, Connor Farrell and Gale Thorpe were selected in the second round. And then in round three, the Riptide had three picks including John Wagner and Travis Longboat, a skilled forward selected from the Six Nations Arrows Junior A club in Ontario.
The 21-year-old Longboat ranks sixth on the team in scoring on seven goals and twenty points over nine games. Although the Riptide has struggled as an expansion team with a record of 1-12, Longboat has enjoyed his rookie campaign.
“I try not to take the time I have to play for granted,” said Longboat, a native of Ohsweken, Ontario. “The organization has treated me well and I’m meeting some great people along the way. It was hard to transition at the start from Junior A. For me it was mostly getting used of the speed and playing in front of a crowd every night.”
Longboat has certainly heard plenty of cheers from Riptide fans and has helped play a big part in the return of box lacrosse to Long Island. The organization has been working hard to build the fans base and has had many of the players out in the community to do clinics and introduce the indoor game to young players on Long Island.
That is something that Longboat has enjoyed being a part of.
“We’re seeing the sport grow and seeing the interest in younger kids playing and learning the game of lacrosse.”
Longboat knows what it’s like to grow with the game. He started playing lacrosse when he was three years old and the Six Nations program offered him some outstanding coaching that helped him develop as a player over the years. Longboat had a terrific six-year career with the Six Nations Rebels and Arrows totaling 164 goals and 268 assists for 432 points over 121 games.
Last season with the Arrows, Longboat scored 22 goals to go along with 35 assists for 57 points over 19 games. And then in the playoffs, he added five goals and five assists for ten points in four games. And now he’s part of a young group of players that will help the Riptide build towards being a winning organization.
“I believe our young core is setting a solid foundation,” said Longboat. “As we are improving every game as a team, we are still getting used to each other’s tendencies.”
Not only does Longboat contribute by finding the back of the net and finding his teammates so they can light the lamp, but he also isn’t afraid to do some of the dirty work that is needed at times. He likes to go into the corners and has contributed with forty ground balls this season.
“He’s been great,” said Riptide General Manager and Head Coach Regy Thorpe. “He’s such a good kid. We’ve been really happy with him and how he’s progressing. He brings a really high lacrosse IQ.”
That IQ has certainly helped Longboat grow from the time he was drafted to rookie camp to training camp and through the first 13 games of the regular season, four of which Longboat did not play in. The organization has been pleased with how he has handled the learning curve which has included the way he has handled being a healthy scratch.
All in all, Longboat has had a highly successful rookie season.
“I think I have come a long way,” said Longboat. “I’ve gained a lot more experience and I’m slowly building confidence in my shooting.”
When the Riptide look back at their inaugural season in the National Lacrosse League, they certainly experienced their growing pains. But as they start to turn their attention towards the off-season and planting more seeds for the 2020-21 season, the team has laid some important bricks with their 2019 draft class, a group that includes an exciting young forward in Travis Longboat.