Story by Stephen Wise, Photo by Go Flash Win
An entire season of determination and hard work by the boys’ lacrosse team culminated in the first ever appearance in the 5A state championship game. On April 28, the team played in the sweltering afternoon heat against Wando High School, and despite the fact that they did not get the intended result, the experience itself proved to be quite valuable.
“Being in the state championship was the class of 2018’s goal since we were in middle school, so fulfilling that goal was a great feeling,” senior Kyle Jensen said, “Although we didn’t win, we set a precedent for Dutch Fork’s success moving forward and proved doubters wrong along the way.”
The postseason experience gained this year is a massive help to the players returning to the team next season, teaching them how to play in intense moments that will make or break a season in the future.
“The loss will help us next year in that we will know what it feels like to be in playoffs and to compete in a state championship,” junior Jonah Williams said, “we will work harder next year.”
For senior Anderson Tolar, lacrosse has been a huge part of his life, teaching him a variety of lessons that apply both on and off the field. As he closes out his senior season, he is grateful for everything that he has learned during his time with the team.
“I’ve learned that everything you do in practice matters. You have to give up a lot if you want to be successful,” senior Anderson Tolar said, “It’s not just the time you put in on the field. That’s the bare minimum. Greatness is achieved when you give up time outside of practice conditioning, working on your passing and shooting, and stuff like that.”
Although this year’s lacrosse team was senior heavy, the underclassmen believe that they can pick up right where they left off, carrying the team back to the heights they reached this season.
“We definitely know what we have to build on the field with working as a team but we also need to work together as a team off the field,” junior Alex Walters said, “We need to grow as a unit through bonding. I’m gonna make it a goal of mine to become more of a leader and if we understand what we have to do and build in it we will be in a better situation next year.”
This year’s class of seniors feels as if they have met, and even exceeded, the expectations placed on them by former players. Alumni of Dutch Fork lacrosse were present at the state championship game, cheering on their former teammates and watching proudly as they carried on their legacy.
“I feel like our class has fully surpassed what past players expected of us,” Kyle said, “This team set school records for wins, longest win streak, and highest seeding in the playoffs, so no one can deny that we raised the bar for the lacrosse team. This season cemented our legacy and made alumni a little more proud to have been a part of the program.”
Coming off of a successful season, next year’s lacrosse team will certainly have high expectations placed upon them by former players as well as themselves. With several key pieces of the team returning, such as all-state player Alex Walters, the team will be there to string together wins in the playoffs. As the seniors graduate, they place one final challenge upon those filling their shoes.
“I will miss the family,” senior Chaz Holden said, “but I challenge them to go undefeated and win a state championship.”