Bernhardt was selected 4th overall by The Bayhawks in the 2013 MLL Collegiate Draft. He had an outstanding rookie season with The Bayhawks, and played in a career-high 13 games in 2015.
Bernhardt was a four year standout at the University of Maryland. He was named the co-winner of the Levitt Memorial Award as the team's best freshman. He would go on to become a two-time All-American, two-time All-ACC winner, ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, and two-time Academic All-American.
Bernhardt was a two-time U.S Lacrosse All-American, and 2009 Under Armour All-American at Lake Brantley High School in Longwood, Florida. He recorded 252 ground balls, 11 goals, and 19 assists for the Patriots, and was named 2008 Central Florida Player of the Year. Jesse was also named first team All-Central Florida, and three-time All-District. He was also the Defensive MVP and team captain on the football team.
Bernhardt was born to Jim and Catherine Bernhardt in Longwood, Florida. His older brother Jake plays midfield for the Ohio Machine. Jesse is also a volunteer lacrosse coach at the University of Maryland.