The new and improved Lacrosse team ends a successful season and says goodbye to two players.
After sharing a lacrosse team with Denver South the Thomas Jefferson Spartans got enough players to make their own team last season. The Spartans were mostly filled with younger players except for one senior, while this year’s team was full of upperclassmen, including two seniors and a foreign exchange student. The coach of the lacrosse team was open to anyone trying out and playing. Some of the players played lacrosse for the first time this season. Senior Thomas Reiva was one of those players. He explained. “It was different from last year because I played baseball and I didn’t get that much playing time but this year I got more of a chance to show what I’m capable of.” Reiva chose to play lacrosse because he wanted to try something new and he always heard his friends talking about it. Coach Jason Klimczak said, “This was Reiva’s first time playing and I believe he showed great potential and grew wisely through the season.”
Along with Reiva, Dane Vandermiller was another senior who played a big role on the team. Vandermiller played last year and this year he became one of the captains. “This season was different from last year because we had a good season and we have a chance of going to the playoffs,” said Vandermiller. Playing a huge leading factor on the defensive side of the ball, Vandermiller followed up a second-team all-conference selection. Klimczak described, “Dane had the understanding of what is required to succeed on and off the field and he set a great example for the younger players on the team.” He wasn’t able to play in the last regular season game against Kennedy due to a concussion but he cheered on his team from the sideline.
During senior night the coach not only recognized the two seniors but recognized the foreign exchange student, Paul Künzel. After coming in for the soccer team, he decided to try out lacrosse for the first time. He enjoyed not only learning a new sport but playing with the seniors. “I had a good experience because the seniors took a leading role during the games and helped everyone else out,” explained Künzel. A sophomore transfer, Savion Johnson, said, “The seniors motivated me so that I could go as hard as them and they pushed me to be on their level.” As the seniors showed off their talent on the field they kept the team close and are now awaiting news to see if they made the playoffs.
Klimczak wants not only the seniors, but the rest of the players to remember a sense of family. “With this being only the second season of a program at TJ it’s been fun watching them grow together and work towards building a great program that the school can be proud of and it starts with the leadership from the seniors,” explained Klimczak. As the regular season finished off the Spartans went off with a win against the Kennedy Commanders, with a score of 12-6. With this win and a season ending record of 11-4, they had a chance to make it to playoffs. Unfortunately the Spartans were the 17th team and only 16 teams get in. Even though they didn’t make the playoffs this season was a huge turnaround for the Spartans lacrosse team and they couldn’t have done it without their seniors.