BYU lacrosse hopefuls started each morning last week sprinting across the North University field. The athletes competed for a spot on the 2015 lacrosse team preparing for the upcoming season.
The tryout process consisted of three days of practices and ended with members of the new BYU Lacrosse team racing to the Y. Head Coach Matt Schneck said the whole week was all about evaluation.
Each tryout day started out with drills and stretches to get the players warmed up, then moved on to one-on-ones, four-on-fours and finished with a scrimmage. The coaches gave a wide variety of drills in order to put the players in many different situations. As the week progressed they were able to identify those players they could see as members of the team in addition to some that were borderline.
The coaching staff makes a point of having open tryouts so everyone is invited. Some of the athletes were seasoned veterans returning to the team. Others were new to the program and some fresh off their missions. This poses a challenge for the players from all different backgrounds to mesh together and work as a team throughout the week, especially in scrimmages.
“It was fun,” freshman Arty Walters said. “I got to know a lot of the guys and I got to perform. I hadn’t played in two years because I just got home from my mission, so it was good just getting back in the game. It’s just getting back in the swing of things and playing against the quicker guys that have been here a while.”
The team sees an approximately 50% turnover each year, which opens up quite a few spots for lacrosse hopefuls. There are typically around 100 athletes interested in trying out for the team. This number is a combination of returning players, people who the coaches knew about coming out of high school, some who contacted the coaches through Facebook and others who heard about the tryouts.
The coaches emphasize that being a part of the team is about more than just lacrosse. Team members are expected to make a commitment to practices, weight training, academics and especially to representing the university by living the Honor Code.
Schneck has coached at BYU for 15 years and was on the team himself when they won the first National Championship in 1997. He knows what it takes to be a champion and this is something he instills in the athletes on his team.
Being a member of the lacrosse team may be a big commitment, but the players agree it’s all worth it. Even the five a.m. morning workouts.
“My favorite thing about the BYU lacrosse program is the quality of guys that come through this program,” senior Matt Brandenburg said. “I love sports and I love competing, but more than that I love the great example that everyone on this team is. How we can support each other, how we all live the Honor Code, live a high standard and hold each other accountable for that as well. So not only is this team physically strong, but it’s spiritually strong as well.”
The players see it as an honor and privilege to wear the Y.