Announcements and Important Events
Marcus is a gifted and experienced lacrosse player making the varsity roster as a sophomore. Marcus is powerful and multi-talented on the field, playing both offensive and defensive middie. He anchored the middle in our man-down defense and was regularly selected as one of the six best ball handlers to have on the field when we were man-up. He even did duty as a face-off man when called on. Marcus worked all year long on his lacrosse skills, playing summer club, and then Box Lacrosse in the winter. The time playing Box had really paid off, as we witnessed a new skill level during our winter indoor league. He also seemed to have found a new gear between his junior and senior years with a noticeable increase in his explosiveness off the dodge. He would have been an All-Conference selection there is no doubt. Marcus will continue playing lacrosse in college having committed to play next year at Albion College.
Daniel showed up for tryouts as a senior never having played lacrosse at a high school level. He knew full well that he would probably not make the varsity squad, but he was comfortable with that and just wanted the opportunity to play. Most players when told they will probably play JV, quit or end up with a sour attitude. Not Daniel, he was positive, worked hard at practice, and was looking forward to his first game. I am sure his parents were looking forward to seeing him playing JV with his younger brother.
I have had the pleasure of coaching Ethan since he was a 7th grader and watching him grow from a shy awkward young player to a confident young man. He went above and beyond during the off-season spending countless hours helping out at our youth clinics, and open gyms working with the young players, but it was also evident it had really helped his own skills too. Ethan is an attack man who played 3 years on the JV but was ready for a breakout year as a senior on the varsity. He had grown in skill and height from his junior year, so we really saw him able to make his presence known down low where the heavy lifting is done in lacrosse. His pleasant disposition was a joy to have in the locker room, and he never had a bad word to say about anyone. An emerging quiet leader who will be missed.
JD was another one of the football players convinced by Coach Taylor and Coach Dixon when he was a sophomore to give lacrosse a try to augment his performance on the football field. There were some rocky days getting started as anyone who knows JD knows he does likes to be good at something.
When we left for spring break his sophomore year, I sent him home with a few balls and some wall ball routines, and it was clearly evident when we returned that he had spent a good portion of his time on break working on his skills. While he is not the biggest kid on the field, anyone who has watched him play football knows there is not an ounce of quit in him when he sees something he wants to achieve. By midseason his sophomore year we had moved him up to varsity as a defensive middie in man-down situations because of his foot speed and tenacity.
With high expectations for his Junior year, things started a bit rocky and were just working themselves out when JD broke his foot over spring break, effectively ending his junior campaign. In preparation for his senior season, JD had obviously worked hard on improving his stickhandling skills, utilizing both hands, and the coaches saw him taking a more active role on the offensive side of the field this season for us.
Davion is a freak of an athlete. He combines speed, athleticism, and tenacity in the quietest unassuming package. He came out for lacrosse as a sophomore at the encouragement of Coach Dixon and Coach Taylor to help him for football. He quickly adapted to the sport's physical nature and was a tough wing player on faceoffs scooping up more than his share of ground balls. The word quit is not in his vocabulary. Davion took his Junior year off from lacrosse, much to my chagrin, but I was happy to see him back as a senior. He barely missed a beat dusting off his skills from 10th grade and I was looking forward to the contributions he could have made as a D-Middie this season.
The lacrosse coaches love [hate] to call Ethan, "the Heartbreak Kid". He transferred to Grand Rapids Christian in the winter of his sophomore year, and as such was unable to play that season. He attended every practice, film session, game, and workout. It was clear watching him practice that he was a lock as future All-Conference if not All-State player.
Unfortunately, during that summer Ethan suffered an injury that became chronic and required surgery to his hip over the winter with the resulting rehabilitation taking all spring. He played one-quarter of our second to last game last season as a goalie, stopping everything that was thrown his way.
Even with not being able to play as a junior the coaches had picked Ethan as a captain because of his leadership skills and knowledge of the game. Coming into his senior year Ethan took on the leadership role as the main team captain like a duck takes to water. He ran all of our captain's workouts, was at open gyms, youth clinics, and workouts all off-season.
When a winter injury to his shoulder that required yet another surgery seemed like it would end his high school career without playing a full game, Ethan doubled down, did his rehab and worked even harder to help get the team ready for the upcoming season.
The "Heartbreak Kid" had just been released by his physician to begin playing when this season was cut short. Ethan will play in college next year at Western Carolina University.
Jordan was another player who only took up playing lacrosse as a Junior. However, he had the added benefit of playing hockey for Coach Zimmerman at Christian, so he had the work ethic and quickly picked up that lacrosse is just like hockey on grass. Jordan willingly picked up a long pole to help the team that was short on Defensemen. He logged a bunch of playing time, picking up his skills along the way, and a few penalty minutes....
He was a player looking to compete for time as a Varsity long stick this year, and I think was on the verge of being a valuable contributor especially in a man-down situation.
Calvin took up the game of lacrosse as a Junior which is thought to do. As a JV player last year, he worked really hard and learned quickly that the team needed D-Poles. He is a bright young man and figured out that his greatest opportunity to get maximum playing time was to learn how to play a very difficult game with a 6-foot pole in his hands. Even with his diminutive stature Calvin quickly became a presence "in the house". Calvin worked very hard in the off-season this winter improving his skills and helped out numerous times at our youth clinics. He would have had a great opportunity to compete for playing time as a Varsity Long Pole this season.
Preston was selected as a Captain for his Senior year, but if you had asked me if that was possible when he was playing for me in 7th grade there would have been a few chuckles. Preston has grown not just in size but in maturity. For the longest time, he was the class clown, but while his sense of humor did not fade, his willingness to give grew and grew. Preston spent a significant portion of the off-season helping with all the various youth programs we have been doing to grow youth lacrosse at GRC, but also continuing to work on his own game while encouraging existing players to put the time in to improve their own. Preston had developed the endurance to allow him to be a real contributor as a Long Stick Midfielder. While he played JV lacrosse the first 3 years at GRC, he did it as a favor to me, to help a JV team that was full of newcomers to the game be able to achieve some success in clearing the ball upfield. He easily could have seen playing time as an LSM or D-Pole on Varsity as a Junior, he put the team before self, in what I have come to love about him as a young man. In our team talks, we discuss there being Givers and Takers in this world, and that it is more rewarding personally to be a giver than a taker. Preston has all the makings of a life of being a giver.
Julian started playing lacrosse as a freshman and to say the game came easy to him would be a lie. I would guess that there were countless days when Julian considered quitting, but now 4 years later I am happy to say he did not. Julian played JV lacrosse through his Junior year, and his main role was as a defensive middle, and in the man-down defense because he was tenacious, quick, and did not like getting beat. After watching him during this past off-season and in the first couple weeks of this spring I could tell Julian had put a bunch of work into his stick skills. It is hard to overstate how difficult it is to acquire the manual dexterity the older you get and to be comfortable carrying and shooting a lacrosse ball, especially with either hand. Julian had obviously set a goal to be able to contribute on the offensive half of the field this year. Not seeing him get the opportunity to watch that effort come to fruition was one the sadder points of the loss of this season. However, in typical Julian fashion, he just shakes it off and is ready to take on bigger and better things. GO GREEN Julian! Glad to hear you are going to be a Spartan next year!
Anthony came out for lacrosse for the first time as a senior which is a tough challenge. However, he showed what kind of individual he is by getting involved in the fall and winter with several of the offseason opportunities we have for preparing for the season. He was constant fixture at our Open Gyms for the middle school and elementary players, getting reps for himself but giving back too by helping younger players who were just learning the game. It was a great testimony to those younger players to see a senior in high school take on a new challenge. I think it really helped several of the younger players be willing to try something new.
Anthony's smile is infectious, and his positivity rubs off on others around him. He will go far in life with that attitude, I wish he would have gotten a chance to play a game after putting all that work in.
Mekhi was the last of the football players that were corralled into trying lacrosse their Sophomore year. After watching Khi through the first couple practices, I was struck by how amazingly quick his footwork was for the big young man he is. He is explosive, and once he started to figure out the game, he really started to contribute. Most players want to score goals and bask in the offensive glory, but not Khi. He is a quiet giant, very comfortable in his own skin with a shy smile and a quick wit. He played his sophomore and junior years on the JV, but we were looking to him as one of our defensive anchors on the Varsity for his Senior campaign. He had been working hard on his stick skills, and with his team-first attitude we anticipated great things from him. I will miss his big bear hugs, coming at the most random but appreciated times. Rock on Khi!
Gordon has played lacrosse at Grand Rapids Christian since his freshman year and had spent the first three years on the JV squad as an attackman. He was never one to be shy about trying to work his way into the crease or to take a shot. Gordon was really looking forward to playing on the Varsity this year, especially with his brother Nathan. I don't think Gordon ever has a bad day, there is always a smile on his face, and he shows a continuous willingness to keep trying to get better each day.
Nathan was another player that decided as a senior to take-up lacrosse and join his twin brother Gordon on the team. His ever-present smile and can-do attitude were evident each day at practice, and he was happy with the opportunity to just be on the team. I only wish he had taken up the game as a freshman!
Cole is Mister Steady Eddie, he has played the game of lacrosse all his life, and always as a D-Pole. He understood the position well. He played JV in his Freshman and Sophomore years, making the Varisty roster as a Junior. He played in most of our man-down situations last year as the first D sub but to his bad luck had 3 very strong Senior D-Poles in front of him. We were planning on him as the Captain of the defense this year, because of his high Lacrosse IQ, athleticism, and skill. As a 3-sport athlete all 4 years at Christian High he is in a very small club, and when you combine that with achieving Academic All-State as a Junior in lacrosse it gives you a small glimpse into what a bright and hard-working young man he is. Texas A&M is getting a fine new Aggie next year. Gig'em Cole!