Elder Lacrosse returns with a vengeance


Just before springtime begins to show itself, Elder Lacrosse arrives again for its 13th season playing in the pit. With a tough and long schedule ahead of them, the Panthers are hoping for a promising year, especially against the rival St. X Bombers, who is now back on the schedule for the first time since 2017.

“I’m very happy to have the Bombers back on the schedule,” said head coach Tim Gruber. “In order to be the best you have to play the top teams. Playing X is not only an important opportunity to grow and further develop as the young program we are, but also an opportunity to beat our rivals.” Coach Gruber has been part of the program since playing for Elder himself, later heading the young Junior Panthers, and ultimately assuming the position of head coach in the 2018 season, after former Coach Tom Nugent

Junior Panthers facing off against LaSalle (credit: twitter.com, @thejwah13)

stepped down. Gruber’s previous experience leading the Junior Panthers is an important factor in understanding his coaching, as almost of all of his current athletes once played under him in their grade school years, giving Coach Gruber a vital knowledge of and relationship with them.

New this year to the coaching staff is Coach Sears, a Louisville native and former collegiate teammate of Gruber. “I’m very excited to be a part of the program and add my talents to the team. I’ve known Coach Gruber for a while now and I’m very familiar with his skill and knowledge regarding the sport,” Seers remarked. The new coach also seemed to be glad to join the Elder nation: “Obviously, being from Louisville, I never went here, but I know how much this school values hard work and grit, which I feel will give us a huge advantage over the competition.”

As for the players, there seems to be not only a large amount of talent present on the team, but also a strong sense of team chemistry. Senior Chase Schaerer, a captain, remarked on the team’s bond,

Chase Schaerer working on his shot after practice

claiming, “I can say personally that the bond among the teammates is the best it’s ever been, especially with the freshmen, who we all by now are close with. They definitely have a lot of great potential.” When asked about the upcoming game with St. X, Schaerer responded, “It’ll be a great game and a challenge for both teams. In the end, I think we’ll come away with the win, and I’m very happy for our opportunity to further the program.”

Among the freshmen, there is a tangible excitement to being on the high school level of lacrosse. Liam Hutch, one of the team’s newest additions remarked, “I’ve played for the junior panthers during my time in grade school, and it’s very exciting to be on the high school level. It’s 100% a different playing field but one I’ve wanted to be on for a while.”

Hearing the anticipation from the team, it is also evident that there are some opponents that this team is very passionate about taking some revenge from, namely Loveland, Lakota East, and Walnut Hills. The team as a whole remembers these games all too well, and many players have made a point of hammering in a sense of vengeance. “These are games I feel we should have won, and we are going to come at them with a hard-hitting attitude,” said captain Michael Bartholomew.

Elder Panthers on the Pit

Regardless of past games, this year’s team seems to be focused on the now: working hard in practice, experimenting with new strategies, and above all else, fighting with classic, west-side Elder grit. Only the year can tell what has in store for the Panthers; however, hopefully, with a strong student crowd, they will take some victories and further develop one of Elder’s fastest growing sports.