May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

HONORING CREAN LUTHERAN: Lacrosse team wanted ‘to play for a league championship’

Members of the Crean Lutheran boys lacrosse team gathered for a picture before the season. Back row: (standing) Jack Severson, Kaito Cuddyer, Sean Arldt, Scott Rick, Michael Schoenberger, Jack Norton, Will Grant and Coach Will McMinn. Middle row: Albert Shimm, Tyler Harris, Nolan Folsom, Caleb Fluegge, Ryan Williams, David Beckman and Nick Placek.  Front row: Tyler Buban, Joseph Menton, Noah Bray, David Huff, Josh Diaz and Nick Tuerffs. (Photo courtesy Crean Lutheran High School)

Crean Lutheran’s boys lacrosse team was off to a 4-1 start under new Coach Will McMinn when spring sports were cancelled throughout the county.

“This season showed much promise, and expectations were high by a tough, athletic, roster packed with seniors,” McMinn said. “We felt like we were just catching stride as COVID-19 hit. 

“My heart aches for our boys, especially those seniors (many of whom started playing the first year of Crean Lutheran’s lacrosse program), who wanted more than anything to play for a league championship and potential CIF playoff bid. They are a tremendous group of boys who have a bright future ahead of them.”

McMinn also talked about the team’s seniors:

Sean Arldt: “Sean is a fine young man who was a major asset to this team because of his attitude, his coachability, and his desire to play whatever role his team needed, whenever we needed it, with a great attitude.  He is headed to Azusa Pacific University to major in Theological Studies, after which he plans to continue using his genuine heart for people, and become a pastor.”

Tyler Buban: “Tyler was our key anchor and backbone at midfield, and one of our senior captains. Tyler is a true warrior for Christ.  He is headed to Colorado Christian College, where he will get a degree in Biblical Studies, and plans to live out his mission in vocational ministry, a role for which he is well suited.  Tyler was the spiritual leader for our team this year.”

Kaito Cuddyer: “Kaito is a phenomenal  athlete who was one of our biggest surprises.  As a first year player he earned a starting position, and played a key role for us from his very first minute playing in a lacrosse game.  Kaito’s plan is to major in engineering, and go on to design world changing machinery as a mechanical engineer.”

Josh Diaz: “Josh was a stalwart defender for us, even as a first year player.  His commitment and heart will serve him well as he transitions to Grand Canyon University, where he plans to major in Business and Marketing.”

Caleb Fluegge: Caleb, big brother and mentor to one of our JV players, served in whatever role the coaches asked of him.  He is the consummate team player, who would sacrifice life and limb for his team. Caleb is going to take that same level of commitment with him into the Air Force, where his goal is to literally put it all on the line as a special forces airman, saving lives of his brothers by doing the dirty work behind enemy lines.”

Will Grant: “Will was a key defensive player for us this year, who literally sacrificed his body (in the form of  a fractured jaw) protecting his teammates and our defensive end. Will fought back, and earned his way back into the starting line-up, and was a physical force for us on the defensive end.  Will is going to attend either Chapman University or University of Colorado in Boulder, where he plans to earn a degree, pursue an MD, and become one of the premier surgeons in the world.”

Tyler Harris: “Tyler was a fast, good spirited, hard working player for us this year.  He was always smiling, and always encouraging his teammates.  Tyler’s plan is to attend Grand Canyon University, earn a degree in Business/Management, and come back to the OC to make his mark building a business that serves the community here at home.”

Jack Norton: “Norty was a shut down one-on-one defender for us this year.  He could cover any attackman from any of the teams we played this year.  His plan is to get a degree at Baylor University that will facilitate a career in government service at some level that would make good use of his guts and determination …..”

Nick Placek: “Nick is Crean Lutheran’s first collegiate lacrosse scholarship commit. After only a year and a half, this young man’s commitment to excellence and his work ethic earned him notice by Concordia University’s lacrosse program, where he will be playing his collegiate lacrosse. Nick’s plan is to earn a degree that prepares him to make an impact in business here in the OC when he graduates, possibly going into business with his dad.”

Michael Schoenberger: “Schoey came out of the gate this season making a statement, with a hat trick in our first game of the year.  He is one of the inspirational success stories of this year, coming out of nowhere to become a dangerous finishing attackman.  Schoey will either be attending TCU or Montana State University  His sights are set on becoming an attorney that impacts the business world, possibly related to professional sports.”

Nick Tuerffs: “Nick was a key midfielder for us this year, who held his own and served his team well on both sides of the ball.  His main contribution on the field was his refusal to quit, and his total commitment to give 100 percent to the cause. Nick’s plan is to attend college locally, and train to become a core impact team member for a business. possibly in sales or marketing, just like he was a core player for the lacrosse team this year.”

Ryan Williams: “Ryan was one of our defensive starters this year, who provided core consistency and reliability that made us a better team.  He is focused and determined, and will take that same attitude with him on his next step.  His plan is to attend Mesa State (Colorado), earn a degree in Kinesiology, and become a life-changing rehabilitation therapist, or an athletic trainer.”

Hally Zhou: “Hally played his first year ever in sport this year, jumping in the goal for us to lead the JV team through its very first year for nearly every player on the team.  He was selected as a captain by his JV teammates, and provided leadership and stability for that unit. Hally will be attending UC Santa Barbara, where he will major in some branch of computer science, and follow that up with an impactful tech career.”