Forty Camas High School athletes are playing lacrosse this spring.
Matt Welinski was one of three freshmen who joined the Camas Lacrosse Club when it debuted four years ago. He is the only one of those three to stick around, and he has watched the program double in size.
“It’s so cool to represent my hometown in a sport I have played since I was in fifth-grade,” Welinski said. “I love seeing the progression of my teammates, and being able to play with them and help them out. I feel like a student teacher, almost.”
Welinski shares the captain duties with fellow seniors Stephen Burns and Ryan Wessel. Austin Cari, Jonathan Shaw and Graham Shepherd are the other three seniors on the team.
“Whenever people want to know about lacrosse, it always comes back to us six,” Welinski said. “We’re promoters for the whole school.”
Camas hosts nine lacrosse games this season at Cardon Field, which is located behind the high school. Rex Putnam High School, of Milwaukie, Oregon, comes to Camas tonight. Camas also hosts Hood River, Oregon, Friday and Bonney Lake Saturday. Selah comes to town Friday, March 25, and Richland Saturday, March 26. A full schedule is available at www.camaslacrosse.com.
“I would like to see a lot of people from the school come out to see what lacrosse is all about,” Welinski said. “Home field advantage is nice. You know all the dynamics of the field, where the lines are and where you have to place the ball.”
Welinski said the game is fast paced and fun to watch. It also combines the elements of multiple sports, from passing and shooting to running, blocking and tackling.
“You can feel the excitement after a big hit or a big goal,” Welinski said.
Camas defeated Gonzaga Prep in the first round of the 2015 state playoffs, but lost to Juanita in the quarterfinals. The club plays in the Central-South Division II with Union, Columbia River, Skyview, Richland, Selah and Southridge.
Welinski thinks Camas can make it to state again if the players take advantage of every opportunity to improve during games and practices. If they discover a flaw in their attack or defensive scheme, they have to keep working on the problem together until they find solution.
“You have to be prepared for everything. It makes practice more important,” Welinski said. “It’s a chance to work out the kinks and be as fluid as possible. It’s oil in the machine, and we are the Mean Machines.”