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Warriors embark on first varsity lacrosse campaign

WEST CHICAGO — This is a season of firsts for the Wheaton Academy boys lacrosse program, which is taking part in its inaugural varsity campaign.

The 3-year-old program now has 30 players split over the varsity and JV levels.

“We were ready to do that (have a varsity team),” said coach Bruce Wilson, who grew up in Maryland and started playing lacrosse in the third grade. “Last year we only had one senior on the team. This year, we have nine seniors and they are ready to play varsity. Last year at the JV level, we did pretty well.”

Wheaton Academy’s toughest opponent so far has actually been the weather, which has limited the squad to just three games. The Warriors lost 7-3 to West Chicago and 8-7 to Bartlett before picking up their first win of the spring Friday with a 16-1 decision over Immaculate Conception.

The team is led by senior captains Thomas Oster (midfield), Nate Martinez (midfield) and Jon Prichard (attack). Other major contributors include senior Austin Rose (defender), juniors Alex Budzisz (goalie) and Sam Wilson (attack) and sophomores Scottie McClean (defender) and Luke Doncel (long stick midfield).

“What we don’t have is a lot of depth,” the coach said. “We really have a wide spread of players in terms of experience, some who have played for eight years and some who are playing for the first time.”

One thing that isn’t lacking is the players’ excitement for the sport.

“Guys who have played a long time and even the guys who haven’t played before, once they get out there, they love it,” Wilson said. “It’s higher scoring and you are running around, hitting people. It’s interesting to watch and interesting to play.”

And with numbers slowly climbing over each of the three seasons, Wilson expects the buzz to only increase.

“Wheaton Academy as a school has really good support of the lacrosse program,” he said. “From the administration, we get good support and we are looking forward to lacrosse becoming one of the major sports at Wheaton Academy.”

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