The new team is so far composed of two members, sophomore Angel Flores and freshman Tyler McNeill, who are undergoing workouts and weight training for the next few months.
Even though they don’t have any official practices yet, they are starting a wall ball program that consists of 300 repetitions done five times a week; this type of exercise helps the players work their coordination and maintain their conditions.
However, head coach Warren Shumate’s immediate main focus is to recruit the best possible incoming students for the new team. According to Shumate, it won’t be officially known how many lacrosse players he has committed until Nov. 8, which is when the signing period begins; nevertheless, the lacrosse coach said the recruitment process has been successful.
“We’re recruiting guys who have good academics and people who are going to want to jump right in and be part of the Barton family,” he said. “Lacrosse-wise, they’re talented too. We’re getting boys from different parts of the country and even some international students from Canada.”
Shumate also said that two thirds of the incoming class will be freshmen and/or players who will probably red shirt for a year. The other third will be older guys with a little more of experience playing at the college level.
This first phase of adapting has become easier for the new Bulldogs due to the help of other teams at Barton. According to Shumate, other coaches have been helpful in getting him up to speed on Barton College and the facilities and opportunities it can offer.
The lacrosse coach believes the upcoming renovations on the training facilities will give them a good advantage for growth of Barton sports.
“Other colleges may have bigger facilities; however, ours will be brand new and that helps a lot when encouraging players to commit,” he said.
As for overall objectives, Shumate has different goals set for the current and upcoming semesters.
He wishes to develop a culture that will help the team in different aspects, such as ethics, community involvement and competitiveness.
On the other hand, Shumate is aware of the challenges that may bring the process of starting a new team, such as recruits not convinced to be part of a new program because of the uncertainty of how it could turn out.
“I could sell the idea of how amazing it would be to play for first ever lacrosse team, but that wouldn’t be the entire truth of it,” said Shumate. “We’re trying to do our best, but we also realize that doesn’t mean we’re going to win every single game. It means we’re going to go out and set that foundation and set that culture the right way, so that once we’re a mature team we’re going to be rolling.”
Flores, a transfer from Gordon College, said he wanted upcoming players to be fully engaged and show enthusiasm on the field, which are attitudes his past team didn’t possess.
“In my old school, I didn’t have the best experience with upperclassmen,” said Flores. “They weren’t committed and that started to affect me as a freshman because it didn’t motivate me to be there as well.”
Additionally, Flores wants to be a leader by example to be certain that upcoming members have someone they can look up to.
The team also encourages Barton students interested in lacrosse to email Shumate or come by his office in Belk Hall.
While Shumate doesn’t plan to put an open trial out on campus, he still welcomes Barton Bulldogs who have had experience playing or who are willing to put their best effort.
In the meantime, the men’s lacrosse team will continue on its quest to get ready the Barton Bulldogs for the 2018-19 season beginning.
By Vanessa Sanoja