ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- Four years after taking the field as a founding member of the Coulee Region's only high school club lacrosse team, Brady Welvaert will take the next step in a sport he says has it all.
"[Lacrosse has] the speed, the aggressiveness, the physicality, the smarts you need, too. It's a game that encompasses everything from all sports--all the best things, I think."
Welvaert recently signed his intent to play college lacrosse at Division III Augustana. Three other former members of the La Crosse Lightning are playing club lacrosse at UW-L, but Welvaert is the first to join an officially sanctioned NCAA program. That's a point of pride for Lightning president and Brady's dad, Mike.
"We've gone four years, and we've gone from not winning hardly any games to winning our conference and finishing 15-3 this year," Mike Welvaert said. "So, I'm really proud of our team, and I'm really proud of Brady to take it on and be the first person from the Coulee Region to actually sign a college letter and go on and play."
Brady wrapped-up his final season with the Lightning scoring 48 goals and 44 assists to help lead La Crosse to a 15-3 record. That's quite a feat considering there's no youth program in the area. Brady said the skills he learned playing hockey and soccer translate well to the sport of lacrosse.
"Some of the running from soccer, stick skills, physicality from hockey, and some of the style of play from basketball. You put all of those together, and you have a great, fast-paced game," said Brady.
Welvaert is hoping now to use those skills to try and bring a national championship to Augustana. However, he also said he'll be content just knowing he's a pioneer for a sport he's grown to love.
Brady said, "It's good to be that first person to go because then everybody else will follow. That's what I want to see. I want to see the growth of the game back here in the La Crosse area where it used to be played."
His advice to anyone considering filling his shoes with the Lightning? Take a shot.
The La Crosse Parks and Rec Department will host youth lacrosse camps from August 26-30. There will be two camps: one for kids ages 7-10, another for ages 11-14. Cost is $75 per participant and includes a mini lacrosse stick and pennie. Pre-registration is required.
For more information, call 608-789-7533 or visit the Parks and Rec website.
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