Surrounded by his family on an August afternoon, sophomore Griffin Fries knew his decision was the right one. He knew all of the hours of lifting weights at the gym and running drills on the field had paid off.
Fries had just gotten off the phone with Eric Seremet, head coach of the United States Air Force Academy Men’s Lacrosse team. Fries had called him on Aug. 12 to confirm his verbal commitment to play Division I lacrosse at the university in the fall of 2019.
“When I called it was kind of a surreal feeling just because I’ve been wanting to play college lacrosse for a long time, and it finally came true,” Fries said.
By the time Fries was 13, he knew he wanted to play lacrosse in college. Because lacrosse recruiting starts early, he began competing in national tournaments with his team in order to gain exposure to college recruiters. College coaches attend these tournaments to watch younger players.
Since fourth grade, Fries has played on the KC Blue Lion Lacrosse team, which is a competitive travelling team. Over the years of attending training camps, he has worked with multiple coaches. Fries has four coaches, but Adam Woodward from KC Blue Lion has been his primary coach since he plays the most with his team.
Fries’s main position is an attacker. As one of three attackmen, he plays offense, primarily behind the goal at the position known as X. The attackmen work together to score goals. During his freshman year on varsity, he had a total of 22 goals and 30 assists (MaxPrep Stats).
Over the summer, Fries was a part of the Midwest team in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse tournament. 11 different regions held tryouts and put together a team of their top 22 players. He competed against players from 15 states for a spot on the Midwest team. College coaches are invited and the teams all play one another. During games, coaches from all over the country watched players from the sidelines.
Seremet was one of many coaches to watch Fries play. Due to NCAA rules, college coaches can not contact recruits directly until their junior year. But, recruits are allowed to call or email the coaches. The USAFA expressed their interest in Fries and contacted Woodward. Woodward told the sophomore of their interest, so he contacted the head and assistant coach.
Fries took an interest in the Air Force Academy along with the University of Virginia and the University of Denver. He went on unofficial visits to both Virginia and Denver during training camps at the respective schools, keeping his options open.
Fries took his last unofficial visit to Colorado Springs to see Air Force Academy in July. He toured the military-based campus, seeing the blue and silver decorated locker rooms and training facilities. Afterwards, Fries met with Seremet to hear about the top lacrosse program and academics.
“Air Force is a great school and I will have [the required] five years of service after college but I can work in business and still do what I want to do at college,” Fries said.
Before going to college, Fries will continue playing varsity on the Boy’s Lacrosse team for East. Fries took part in this year’s LAKC Championship for the Lancers against Blue Valley West 18-11. Even though he was one of the youngest on the team, he had a contribution to the team that upper classmen respected.
“[Fries] had a strong leadership position on the team last season,” junior Will Benjamin said. “He had a lot of goals and assists that helped us tremendously.”
In the fall of Fries’ senior year, he will be able to officially commit and sign his National Letter of Intent. He plans on continuing to play year-around club lacrosse and for the Lancers until college.
“My goal is to succeed throughout high school, which is nothing less than state championships,” Fries said. “At Air Force I want to impact the team and contend for a nation championship every year.”