Athens Drive Men’s Lacrosse looks to continue recent success this season

Hunter Gill

Bradley Gelsinger (Front) and Jack Gelsinger (Back) defend the goal against Apex High School. Photo Credit:

After a 9-9 record with a playoff win last year the Athens Drive men’s varsity lacrosse team looks to build off their success in the 2016 season with the help of new head coach Tom Wetherby. Wetherby was the head coach of the junior varsity (JV) men’s lacrosse team last year and has stepped up to fill the varsity head coaching vacancy this year. In addition to being the head coach of JV last year, Wetherby has coached the team in the offseason the past five years and has coached football at Athens and outside of Athens for 13 years.

There are some challenges for the team this year. The Southern Wake Athletic Conference (SWAC) of which Athens is a member, has been a very strong conference for lacrosse in recent years. In 2016 five teams from the SWAC made the playoffs along with five in 2015 and six in 2014.  In addition to the strong competition, 10 seniors graduated last year, leaving a large hole in the roster.  

Despite these challenges and a younger team, Wetherby has a great feeling about his players this season.

“This group of players has been tremendous. Through fall workouts, winter strength and conditioning, and these preseason workouts, they have worked hard as a group to get better. The team comradery that they are developing stands out and bodes well for how they will compete during the season. They listen and take coaching very well, it has been a pleasure to work with them” said Wetherby.

Not only does the coach have confidence in his players, but his players have confidence in Wetherby as well.

“He’s still learning the game too, but he is a great coach by explaining the game and teaching us to show class” said Bradley Gelsinger, a sophomore on the varsity lacrosse team.

When talking about how he wants to run the men’s varsity lacrosse team, Wetherby stressed the importance of working hard and showing class.

“There is a philosophy that I have been talking to the players about since the fall workouts began. It is to “Embrace The Blue.” It means that we must do all the little things that make teams successful. Every practice, every game, we must bring our hard hats and go to work, do our jobs, and play for the team. If we can embrace that ethic, we will have a great season. So far, I believe that they have, and that makes me extremely optimistic about the upcoming season.” said Wetherby.

While Athens Drive High School and Cary High School have had a prolific rivalry for a long time, Gelsinger believes that will not be the case this lacrosse season.

“I believe Apex will be by far our biggest rival this year because we just got a transfer from Apex and there has already been some talking between us and them” said Gelsinger.

Wetherby, however, had a different stance than Gelsinger on who would be the team’s biggest rival this season.

“There isn’t really a single rival in lacrosse. Because the conference is so good, almost every game we play seems like a rivalry game. Middle Creek, Holly Springs, Apex and Green Hope are always good and demand a higher level of focus. Panther Creek has had good teams in the past and may this year as well.” Wetherby said.

Regardless of the opponent, Wetherby knows the support of the fans can help any team.

I am extremely excited to be representing Athens Drive, this will be my sixth year doing so in some form of coaching. One aspect that always helps every Athens Drive team is enthusiastic support from the student body. We would love to have as much support at our games as possible” said Wetherby.

Athens Drive men’s lacrosse kicks off their season with an away game at Apex on Feb. 28th. The complete schedule can be found on the Wake County Athletics page or on one of the many “Spring Sports 2017” posters throughout the school.