By Chris Koch
The Elm’s Chris Koch sat down with freshman lacrosse player Austin Hepburn to talk about his game day rituals and how the spring season has gone thus far.
CK: You guys had a tough start to the season. How have you been able to stay focused?
AP: A key component in us staying focused starts and ends with our coaches and senior leadership. After a tough loss, our coaches make sure we aren’t getting down on ourselves and Coach Shirk doesn’t dawn on the loss but instead, looks ahead to the next practice to prepare for our next game. The positive energy and excitement that comes from the coaches is a big help in us staying focused.
CK: You guys are undefeated in the conference. How have you been able to turn the slow start around?
AP: Getting back to the basics has really helped. The coaches noticed that our stick work could be better and maybe that would decrease the number of turnovers we have per game. The last few weeks of practice we’ve been working hard on stick work and it has shown.
CK: What are the goals for the rest of the season?
AP: I don’t like to look too far ahead but we look to stay on top of the Centennial conference, win the conference, and make a run in the tournament.
CK: You injured your thumb earlier in the year. How does it feel to be back?
AP: Being at practice and not being able to play is emotionally tough for me. My first day back at practice my teammates and the coaches could see how happy I was to be back.
CK: As a freshman, did you come in and know you could make an immediate impact on a team that went to the national semifinal last season?
AP: Coming into such a successful lacrosse program, especially in the past couple years, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew the coaching staff was going to really help me improve as a player and that has been the case so far. With injuries and some other things happening, I have a great opportunity to get some experience in big games and that excites me.
CK: What pre-game rituals do you have?
AP: Before every game I like listening to music. Before and after practice and games its usually my music playing through the speakers in the locker room. Other than that, I re-tape my stick before every game and enjoy getting excited with my teammates.
CK: What is the best part of being on the Shoremen lacrosse team?
AP: The best part of being on the Shoremen lacrosse team is all of the great guys I have gotten to know over the past eight months. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends and teammates. Relationships are extremely important to me and I have made some great friends from being a part of this program.
CK: Any nicknames you go by?
AP: A popular nickname I go by is Hep. My dad actually started calling me that as a baby because having two Austin’s in the house was getting confusing for him. I don’t have a preference whether you call me Austin or Hep.