A lacrosse lifestyle

Trying to get the ball from Prosper's Caleb Cox (#14), Frisco's Austin Widner (#73) looks to make a stop.

Trying to get the ball from Prosper's Caleb Cox (#14), Frisco's Austin Widner (#73) looks to make a stop.

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There are 684,730 lacrosse players in the U.S. but sophomore Austin Widner is just one of two on campus.

“I’m one of the only players from Liberty,” Austin said. “There is only one other and I don’t know if he’s playing this season, so I’m pretty much the only player at Liberty.”

We fell in love with the sport,and just watching him grow, get faster, and stronger, and his stick skills,”

— mom Staci Widner

Now a passion, lacrosse wasn’t on his radar until his mom nudged him in that direction.

“He had been playing soccer for a few years and it got to the point where everybody was starting to go play on these select soccer teams which were ridiculously expensive for my 10 year old,” mom Staci said. “I suggested ‘hey why don’t we see what the lacrosse programs around here look like and I think it’s very similar to soccer and had some basketball skills and you might really like it’.”

With lacrosse sometimes called the fastest sport on two feet, Austin has to worked to improve on his overall game.

“He’s very dedicated, he loves the game,” lacrosse coach Terry Kimener said. “He shows up every practice and works hard, doesn’t complain when there’s conditioning or some running, he’s always on time, and ready to go whenever we’re practicing or meeting.”

On the field, Austin is the type of player his teammates appreciate.

“Austin’s a great team player always thinking ahead of the plays, focused on the end goal, always positive,” teammate James Howlinski said. “I know whenever I’m down he always helps me become a better lacrosse player. He’s been a massive help on defense, a ground ball machine, always making plays.”

Lacrosse has not only impacted Austin, but has left an impression on his mom.

I just love the sport, I like the feeling of just being able to fight with my team,”

— sophomore Austin Widner

“We’ve fell in love with the sport and just watching him grow, get faster, and stronger, and his stick skills,” mom Staci said. “It’s like watching any other child that plays a sport, basketball, or football or anything else, it’s just watching that progression from 5th grade to now, a sophomore in high school, so it’s been really cool.”

With no plans to stop playing any time soon, Austin is hooked on lacrosse.

“I just love the sport,” Austin said. “I like the feeling of just being able to fight with my team and just compete.”