Preview: HHS boys lacrosse team is ready for its first seasonIn many ways, if it weren’t for Brian Jenson, Hastings wouldn’t have such a strong lacrosse program. It’s fitting, then, that Jenson is the high school’s first varsity lacrosse coach. He was hired recently to take the helm of the first-year program, but it won’t be the first time he’s coached these athletes, and it won’t be the first head coaching position he has held.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
In many ways, if it weren’t for Brian Jenson, Hastings wouldn’t have such a strong lacrosse program. It’s fitting, then, that Jenson is the high school’s first varsity lacrosse coach.
He was hired recently to take the helm of the first-year program, but it won’t be the first time he’s coached these athletes, and it won’t be the first head coaching position he has held.
“Brian has been fighting for this for a long time,” assistant coach Brady Wasvick said. “He has carried this program on his shoulders for a long time. This is his baby. He’s worked his butt off to get us here.”
So far, that work appears to be paying big dividends. Hastings has 42 players out for the team, which is as experienced as a team can be that hasn’t played a minute of varsity competition.
“We’re coming in a little bit in the dark, not having played a lot of these high school league teams,” Jenson said. “We’re not sure what the competition is going to be like, but we want to be competitive. The team’s consensus is that they want to have a winning record. That’s really the big thing – just to have a winning record and to beat Park in both games.”
Jenson has seen all manner of athletes come out for the team as he has coached here. This year is no different.
“Everyone comes out for a little bit different reason,” he said. “There’s a lot of football players that come in and want to play just because there’s contact. Hockey guys like it because the scoring is similar and there is stickhandling. There’s a bunch of different pieces from all the sports that attract different students.”
While Hastings is experienced, that experience came at the club level. Now, the sport gets the benefit and the expectations that come with being a varsity sport.
“One thing that’s a lot different this year is that the players know it’s a lot more serious now that we’re sanctioned,” Jenson said. “They have to show up every day and put the work in. If they’re not doing that, someone else is going to step in.”
Hastings is led by four senior captains. They are Nick Baum, Jordan Burr, Connor Stoker and Alex Boyer.
Baum is a midfielder. He was a captain last season, too.
“He’s a pretty good all-around player,” Jenson said. “He’s out there playing offense and defense, and he does both well.”
Burr is an attacker. He ranked third in goals on last year’s team.
Stoker and Boyer are both defenders. Both played junior varsity last year. Last year was Boyer’s first year playing lacrosse, and he earned his team’s Most Improved Player award.
The four senior captains are joined on the roster by six classmates.
Nick Trumble and John Kummer are midfielders.
Mikey Smith, James Mohrhauser and Jacob Marshall are each attackers.
Dan Anderson is a defender.
Junior Sam McGree returns to the team as an attacker. He was the team’s leading scorer last season.
Casey Gillard, a sophomore, was a starter last year.
Junior goalie Zach Chilson returns.
Junior midfielders Andrew Cordell and Logan Shoen return with experience.
Ryan Gillard and Andrew Rivera are both long stick midfielders.
Jenson is a 2003 Hastings High School graduate. He grew up here and started playing lacrosse during his sophomore year of school. He played for three years here, then attended and played at St. John’s University in Collegeville. Eight years ago, during his sophomore year there, he began coaching the Hastings club team. He’s also the coach for the St. Olaf College team.
Jenson is a literacy tutor at an elementary school and is earning his teaching license.
His assistant coach is Wasvick, who is a 2007 HHS graduate. Wasvick is also coaching the junior varsity team.
“It’s growing so fast here,” Wasvick said. “When I played here, there was a varsity team and half of a junior varsity team. Now, we have third- and fourth-graders wanting to play. It’s really cool to see a sport that I have grown to love just explode.”