By Pat Mariboe
After missing the Centennial Conference tournament the past two seasons, the Washington College men’s lacrosse team is looking to prove the naysayers wrong this time around. Head Coach Jeff Shirk plans to do just that.
“The team has looked focused and determined so far with their pre-season training,” he said. “The focus has been one day at a time with their preparation for the first day of practice. They all realize that the harder they work now the better off we will be heading into the season.”
The team has been training with Coach Jonnie Jenkins and the rest of the strength and conditioning staff to develop strength, speed, agility, and overall conditioning. The team has also been participating in a recovery yoga program as a way to prevent injury and increase flexibility.
Lone senior captain Ben Flood will be spearheading the team’s efforts both on and off the field as he looks to finish up his impressive career at WC.
“Through fall ball, lifts, and other off-season training I’d say the team has looked determined and we are overall in the best place possible going into our Feb. 1 start day,” Flood said. “Whether it be in the weight room, on the field, conditioning, film, or any of the other parts to our training the focus has purely been to simplify everything and get better every day. If every individual on the team has just that simple goal of getting better every day, the sky is the limit for our team.”
Despite being named captain, Flood’s mentality hasn’t changed one bit.
“I wouldn’t say that my role has changed too much after being named the captain,” Flood said. “The senior class and myself continue to work very closely with each other to use all of our strengths in different situations.”
Flood said the senior class consistently asks each other for help often, regarding different ideas and addressing different problems they may encounter.
“I would say my demeanor has changed. I have had to be more attuned to the potential needs or problems of the team as a whole. I have had to learn how different guys react to different instructions or attitudes in order to get the best out of every guy on the team,” he said.
Coach Shirk also touched on Flood’s impact on the program and his role with the team this season.
“Ben is doing a great job as our captain,” Shirk said. “He has kept the guys focused and empowered his teammates to be leaders alongside him. We have a very close knit group of motivated guys because of the leadership we are getting from Ben and our other upperclassmen.”
Flood was apart of the 2015 team that made it to the CC semifinals but came up short in a 23-5 loss against Gettysburg. Flood is hoping to end his senior year on a high by giving his all to the program and helping to improve it in any way that he can.
“My personal goal for this season is to leave the program better than I found it in every way possible,” Flood said. “My goal for the team this season is for us to get better as a whole every day. If we achieve both of these things, we will win a lot of games just by simplifying things and not looking too far ahead. Staying focused and taking everything one game or even one practice at a time will be the key to our success and will be something that will potentially separate us from the rest of the teams we play.”
While the team finished with a 9-7 overall record last season, a few crucial defeats late in the season led to a 3-5 finish in the CC and a missed trip to the playoffs.
Shirk only has one thing on his mind for this season.
“The goals and expectations for this season are the same as they always have been with lacrosse at WC,” he said. “We are dedicated to do everything in our power to put us in a position to compete for championships in May.”