Through change, men’s lacrosse stays competitive

Club sports are a great opportunity for students to create close bonds, stay physically active, and become a part of something much bigger than yourself, men’s lacrosse President Anthony Fragapane says. As someone who has invested so much of their time on the team, Fragapane says that being a member of the lacrosse club has had a positive impact on his experience at St. Edward’s.

“I could not imagine my life without [lacrosse]. … It’s where I’ve met some of my closest friends and, obviously, my friends are very important to me. It’s really helped me through high school and college to manage my time. It just kind of keeps me in balance and it keeps me in line,” Fragapane said.

In his second year as president of the club, Fragapane says that although passion and hard work are all important qualities that go into running an organized program, it is imperative that teammates learn from you. In this way, a team will maintain a collective, structured understanding.

“Last year, it literally was like a full-time job. This year, I was like, ‘Alright, that’s way too much and I’m the only one learning from this. This is a great learning experience.’ So, we need to get a lot more guys involved. We’ve been able to cultivate leadership in some of the younger guys,” Fragapane said.

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Fragapane has been playing lacrosse for 11 years. Because it is such an increasingly popular sport, Fragapane said that it has allowed him easier access to continue his craft.

“It was just starting to get big when I was in middle school… It was just starting to get big in Cleveland,” he said. “Now, in the same way that it’s starting to get big in Texas, you see a lot of middle schools picking up lacrosse programs. That’s kind of how my community was. I just started up on it and never looked back.”

Before he was president of the club, Fragapane started from the bottom  his freshman year and worked his way up to his current position as president.

“I walked onto campus and I didn’t know a single person because I was the only one from my high school to come here; I was from halfway across the United States… So, I was seeking [the lacrosse club] out and then I found them at the involvement fair. They were so welcoming,” Fragapane said. “They hooked me up with a stick and a glove until I could ship my own stuff down from Cleveland. That was my first experience I had with the team and I was like, ‘Wow, this is special.’”

Although recruiting Fragapane to the club was easy — considering his experience and interest — Fragapane says persuading people who have never heard of lacrosse to join can be difficult. But even  with this obstacle, Fragapane remains optimistic about reaching out to others who are unfamiliar with the sport.

“You’re joining a really solid friend group… We are a close group of friends that play lacrosse. We love to give back to the community whenever we can, and we are a welcoming organization that strives to provide a positive on and off field environment for students,” said Fragapane.

This simple pitch has led to a vast acknowledgement and growth for the program as it was named the 2017 Club Sport of the Year. Moreover, the club has doubled in size, going from 12 players in 2016 to 24 players on their current roster; eight of which have just started playing lacrosse in college. 

Fragapane says that although they have found recent success as a team, they have encountered a few challenges throughout the season. After losing a couple of games in the beginning of the season, Fragapane said there was something that needed to be done to help improve the team’s success. For the lacrosse club, that included moving on from their coach. With the help of their alumni group and Campus Recreation filling in for coaching duties, the team was able to earn their first win against Dallas Baptist.  

The team continues to work hard to earn more wins so that they can qualify for a playoff push and hopefully reach nationals, an event held annually in California. When asked how the pressure will resonate with the team’s mindset moving forward, Fragapane was quick to note that the team is looking forward to the task at hand.

“Our mentality… is everybody really has to step up in little ways. So, it’s all about playing for each other at the end of the day, especially now that we don’t have a [set] coach,” Fragapane said.

After graduation, Fragapane plans to move to Houston to work for KPMG, a consulting firm, where he will be doing technology consulting for them. Some of the things that Fragapane will miss most about life at St. Edward’s will be the relationships he has built through his experience on the lacrosse team.

“The community that I’ve been able to build through lacrosse has been so much more than ‘being on a field and playing lacrosse.’ I’ve met all my best friends through lacrosse. … I’m really going to miss college.”