Just last year, Grove City College announced exciting news that the Men’s Lacrosse team would transition from a club to a varsity sport during the 2017-2018 year. Previously a volunteer assistant coach at Duke University, coach Alec Jernstedt was hired as Grove City’s head coach last spring, along with assistant coaches Zack Jew, Bill Sigmund, and Luke Toburen. The new varsity team has a roster of 25 players, including three senior captains. Those captains are Sam Calhoun, Ben Dumm, and Nate Sprunk.
Calhoun has experienced a tasking, yet exciting experience during this new season as he states, “The transition to varsity from club has been very exciting for everyone involved. Coach Jernstedt is incredibly knowledgeable and is an incredible leader. We also have many rising stars in the freshman class who will make an impact for four years here. Although we had a team before, a lot of what we do is still new and a challenge for us is creating a team culture and expectations that are sustainable over time and will allow the team to be successful in the future.”
Sprunk has had a similar experience to Calhoun, and he is also thankful for all of the College’s facilities and staff to make this varsity team happen. “Transitioning to varsity has so far been both a challenging and rewarding experience for me. It took time for me to adjust to the physical demand of having practice and workouts almost every day, but the payoff is worth it. The resources the school has provided us with have also been a huge blessing. Having a full coaching staff has helped to improve the focus and organization of our team as a whole. I am really excited for this season because it is the start of a new chapter for Grove City Lacrosse and we have the opportunity to do something really great.”
Dumm has also enjoyed the transition and feels that the team has worked hard to deserve this varsity spot. He states, “Our lacrosse team is a special group of guys. We have a bunch of great lacrosse players, especially in the upperclassmen, that could have gone to play varsity at other places, but chose to come to Grove City and play club lacrosse because they loved the team and the mission and vision of being a Christian lacrosse team. To our whole team, but to these guys especially, going varsity is something that they deserved, and it is an incredible blessing. The transition has been difficult. We have a lot more responsibility and commitment. Whether it be for lifting, practice, or chalk talks, we are devoting more time to lacrosse than we ever have before. For those of us that love lacrosse, this has been the best part! Coach J has also been a huge addition to our team. His knowledge of the game and his energy have made practices more fun and challenging than ever. Just this week seeing Coach J game-plan for our first game, and seeing him draw up new plays and new strategies against each team has been so cool because he has a lot of knowledge. All in all, there have been so many challenges that have come with being a varsity team, but at the end of the day, the ability to play the game at a higher level is exciting and fun for all of us!”
All in all, these players have appreciated their chance to play as a varsity team and see a successful future for the Grove City College Men’s Lacrosse program. The team has high hopes for this season as they compete in the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference (ORLC), which combines the President’s Athletic Conference and the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. They will play a total of 15 in-season games, 10 of which are conference games. The schedule can be found on http://athletics.gcc.edu. Grove City College wishes the lacrosse team good luck on their inaugural varsity season!