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HHS girls lacrosse captains lead by example

Natalie Holsinger, Reporter

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Junior Elizabeth Newman is the Junior captain of the girl’s lacrosse team. She posed for a quick picture to show off her stylish sweater for this season. Newman shows off her comfy white sweater with a pair of jeans and hoop earrings. (Broadcaster/Elaina Joyner)

For the first time in 3 years, the girls lacrosse team has selected a junior captain.

Elizabeth Newman, junior, joined Olivia McDonald, senior, in leading the Hershey High School girls lacrosse team. These captains are motivating and mentoring their teammates on and off the field. Through bonding experiences, words of encouragement, and lessons of good sportsmanship, the girls’ lacrosse team is having one of their most successful seasons in years.

“The captains are great,” said HHS Senior Payton Boslough.

Boslough has been a member of the Hershey High School Girls Lacrosse team for four years and claimed that this has been their best season yet.

Traditionally, the Girls Lacrosse Team elects senior captains, but this year, the coaches felt it necessary to open the position to juniors and seniors.

“Anyone can lead as long as they’re responsible and knowledgeable about the sport,” said HHS girls lacrosse captain Olivia McDonald.

Olivia McDonald and Elizabeth Newman were nominated as captains this lacrosse season. Both girls humbly accepted the role.

“I was nervous about being the first junior captain because I wasn’t sure if the other seniors would approve,” said lacrosse captain Elizabeth Newman.

To Newman’s surprise, all her teammates were excited for her, and each senior player congratulated her on the position.

“I was qualified for this role because I have leadership experience,” said Newman.

Newman was both a STAR mentor and a youth lacrosse captain before being chosen as captain.

“A great captain knows how to lead their team to success,” said Mcdonald, “we must keep our teammates focused, remain self-assured, and have a positive attitude.”

Although the role itself may seem strenuous, the process of becoming a captain is simple. The team leaders are voted on by each player, and the two girls with the most votes become co-captains.

“A captain should not be chosen based on popularity or superficial qualities,” said Boslough.

The players were instructed to vote for girls that are encouraging, respectful, and hard-working.

The team captains are trusted to be the middlemen between their teammates and the coaches.

“We convey the coaches’ messages, voice our opinions, and set an excellent example for the rest of the team,” said Newman.

The HHS girls lacrosse captain Olivia McDonald discusses the importance of leading by example on May 3, 2018. McDonald led her team to victory later that day in a game against Chambersburg High School. (Broadcaster/Natalie Holsinger)

The girls lacrosse captains are responsible for forwarding messages to the team, giving the players constructive criticism, organizing pasta parties, and going to captains meetings.

“Our team this year is fantastic,” said Boslough.

So far, the girls lacrosse team’s record is 16-2. They’re on their way to districts and are hoping to go to states.

“This has been our best season yet,” said McDonald “We’ve only lost two games!”

McDonald credited this season’s success to teamwork, dedication, and communication.

“We lead our team to success through motivation, selflessness, and coaching them on and off the field,” said McDonald.

The girls are taught to not only give 100% effort at practice but also to be mindful of their teammates.

“We want all of our teammates out on the field and getting their chance to play,” said Boslough.

The girls lacrosse team is instructed to motivate their fellow players and pick them up when they’re down. Through the help of the coaches and captains, the lacrosse team values the importance of teamwork and know when to give other girls the opportunity to score.

“We’ve never had more assisted goals,” said Mcdonald.

The girls lacrosse team can credit this comradery to their strong leadership and team bonding activities.

“We spend a lot of our free time together,” said HHS girls lacrosse player Julia Cream.

This season, the captains have made efforts to bond as a team on and off the turf. Not only has the team worked together during practices but they’ve also got pizza together, carpooled to school, and hung out on the weekends.

“The thing that surprised me the most about this season is that we all get along so well and work great as a team,” said Boslough.

According to the captains, the key to a successful sports team is simple: the players must be willing to work together, assist one another, and set goals.

“We can’t succeed without support,” said Newman.

Not only do the players need encouragement from one another but the captains also need their teammates’ support to lead.

“I wouldn’t have had the confidence to lead if it weren’t for my team’s encouragement,” said Newman.

Part of the process Newman uses to get ready for practice or a game is self-affirmation. One example of what she tells herself is, “your teammates picked you so don’t doubt yourself.”

Even the greatest leaders get insecure at times. What Newman and McDonald have found to be essential is the ability to get out of their heads and trust their instincts.

“Second guessing yourself only hurts your team in the long run,” said McDonald.

Even though she has been apprehensive at times, McDonald said, “it is better to take a risk than not do anything at all.”

To successfully lead the girls’ lacrosse team, you must be willing to make tough calls and take responsibility for any mistakes.

The HHS girls lacrosse team prepares for an upcoming game at a pasta party on April 18, 2018. The team both went over their game strategies and bonded at this event. (Submitted by: Holly Boslough).

“I try my best to be poised about a loss,” said Newman.

Although the lacrosse team has only had two losses thus far, they’ve used every game as a learning experience.

“We think about our previous mistakes and use them to make us better for our next game,” said Boslough.

One tool that Newman has used to improve her team’s skills is the Crossover App. This app allows the captains and coaches to rewatch each game and study where the team went right or wrong.

“I’m constantly looking at game film,” said Newman.

The captains have used Crossover after each game and scrimmage to pinpoint skills and plays that may need improvement or praise.

After studying their team’s strengths and weaknesses, the captains felt ready to lead their team to success.

“The first thing we learn is to give 100% at every practice,” said Cream.

The girls’ lacrosse team practices every day after school for 2 hours. During training, the team works on any skills and techniques necessary to prepare them for their next game.

“Practice is vital in fostering new skills and learning how to work together as a team,” said Boslough.

The coaches run each practice differently. Some days are spent running drills, while other days are spent conditioning.

“We base our practices on the needs of the team at that moment. Each day looks a little different,” said McDonald.

If nothing else, the coaches want their players to display good sportsmanship and have fun while playing.

“Sometimes, we need to take a step back and remind ourselves not to take the game too seriously,” said McDonald.

The captains make sure they don’t dwell on past mistakes or get emotional about a bad game.

“Sometimes the only thing you can do is end with a handshake,” said Newman.

One way that the captains establish this positive environment is through encouragement. If another girl makes a mistake, Newman shows them her support and avoids criticizing.

“Lacrosse is a team effort,” said Newman “we never blame a bad game on just one player.”

From the start of the season, the girls are taught to make no excuses, put their best foot forward, and encourage their teammates as best they can.

“I truly feel safe coming to practice each day and asking for help when needed,” said Creme.

The coaches believe it is important to give players of various skill levels the chance to excel.

“Everyone deserves an opportunity to grow and learn from their mistakes,” said McDonald, “you never know how great you can be until you try.”

The HHS girls lacrosse team practices in the snow on March 13, 2018. The team didn’t allow bad weather conditions to stop them from preparing for their next game. (Submitted by: Holly Boslough).

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HHS girls lacrosse captains lead by example