LEARNING LACROSSE: Get to know the men’s lacrosse team at the start of its upcoming season


NOT JUST A GAME: Ryan Newey, varsity lacrosse player and senior, practices shooting during afterschool training. Newey has played on the team for all four years of high school. KELSEY ATCHESON // PHOTO


On march 13, the CHS men’s lacrosse team began its 17th season, but this is a fact that might surprise some students at CHS. As members of the organization said,  despite its longevity, CHS doesn’t really know the team.

“It’s good to be on the lacrosse team,” Ryan Newey, varsity team member and senior, said. “We all have strong relationships with each other, and, since we are not a school sport, we do a lot of things on our own as a lacrosse program. Those things bring us together more.”

This relationship between the players, Newey said, is key to the group’s success, and is a unique aspect of the team that separates it from others at CHS. As Newey said, it is an important factor to understand in order to get to know the team.

Men’s lacrosse Head Coach Tom Coons said, for a player on the men’s varsity lacrosse team, the day is similar to that of other athletes at CHS.

“The team is focused on school first,” he said. “Then we hit practice, or they have a workout. (This) is either weights or conditioning. At practice we are teaching a lot of our system and concepts, and they execute those. Then we conclude, and hopefully they are ending their day with a good meal and studying, while getting ready for the next day.”Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 2.34.24 PM

According to Daniel “Danny” Popowics, varsity team member and junior, the day can be hectic, but it is also necessary to maintain such a competitive team.

“We start out warming up line drills, get the sticks warmed up, and then we get into fast breaks and other situational type play. Then we finish up with six-on-six,” Popowics said.

He also said the team members go about their day, including practice, very efficiently and, although being on the lacrosse team is not a job, the players take their roles very seriously, revealing a sense of professionalism that defies the stereotypical “LAX bro” label.

“I’d say a ‘LAX bro’ is a lacrosse player that plays lacrosse all the time and just hangs out with the only lacrosse guys,” Newey said. “He also has, like, a chill mindset and stuff like that. As far as the stereotype goes for the lacrosse team now, I guess some of it applies, but as far as like what people believe the stereotype for a ‘LAX bro’ to be, it isn’t necessarily what everyone is on the team.”

Coons expanded on the title that he says has shed a bad light on the sport of l acrosse.

“I hate that term (‘LAX bro’),” Coons said. “I think it is a misrepresentation of our sport, and I think people think ( a ‘LAX bro’) is someone who doesn’t take the sport seriously. What you’ll find unique about our program is that we have a culture of players that play for each other and play to be excellent, not to just show up and wear the gear. I think (a ‘LAX bro’) is contradictory to the sport, who we are and what we’re about.”

According to Newey, the culture of the team is very important. It is a key element that beloScreen Shot 2016-03-15 at 2.35.05 PMngs to the lacrosse team, and it is the individual identity that makes the team unique in a school with such  large number of sports teams.

This culture and sense of identity is also evident in the team’s training techniques, which are different from most of the sports teams at CHS.

“I’d say one thing the school doesn’t know about the lacrosse team is how much work and dedication we have to building the program. Since it’s not a school sport, we might not get as recognized as other school sports like football and basketball, but we put a lot of effort into making our team great and winning state championships. That’s why we see results on the field.”

The results have come. The Hounds are back-to-back defending State Champions, and upperclassmen like Newey said that do not see another state title out of reach.

“Our team this year looks pretty strong,” Newey said. “Compared to last year, we have more players throughout grades that are good players—like freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. We have good players from each grade, when in past years it has been more of the upperclassmen that take on the stronger roles. But this year it should be more evened out.”

This means the team will not have to rely on only a couple of players to score goals, as rival Cathedral High School has had to do in the past. Lacrosse is a team sport as a whole, and CHS lacrosse is deep in terms of its roster.

However, it’s not just about winning for players like Newey. For him, the lacrosse field is a place of release and, while playing on it,  he has fallen in love with the sport. He said he believes other CHS students can feel the same.

“I would just encourage more people to come out to our games, specifically big matchup games like Cathedral,” Newey said. “If students came out and saw the games, they would be attracted to the sport. They would see that it is a fun sport. They would be able to get a lot out of the game, and they would get really into the experience.”