Sophomore Will Wynn paraded to the center of the lacrosse field in his black jersey with the number #33 plastered on the back, knelt down and prepared to faceoff against his opponent. With an instant scramble following the sharp blow of the whistle, the ball was finally secured in Wynn’s stick and counted as an East win. He quickly surveyed the field for an open player as his team cheered him on from the sidelines.
When Wynn and his family made the two hour move from Springfield, Missouri to Prairie Village, Kan. this fall, he had no idea he would be stepping in to take the faceoffs. The faceoff marks the start of a lacrosse game and after each goal. Two opponents face each other stick to stick trying to gain control of the ball. Previously East’s faceoff competitor was senior Hank Breckenridge. However, after his torn ACL, the varsity team was in desperate need of a new faceoff competitor.
“He literally saved our team this year when [Breckenridge] went down,” coach Dan Leff said. “We were without a face off guy and [Wynn] stepped in and did a fantastic job.”
After the news broke that Breckenridge was out for the remainder of the season, the team spent part of practice doing a faceoff clinic. Wynn, a midfielder, stood out for picking up the needed faceoff skills the fastest. The coaches decided that he was best fit to take over Breckenridge’s job for the remainder of the season because of his quick reactions.
“I did [faceoffs] a little bit in eighth grade,” Wynn said. “[Breckenridge] taught me a lot of stuff over the past couple weeks.”
Wynn started playing lacrosse in fifth grade. After realizing his love for the sport, he started to partake in competitive travel tournaments. Wynn and his family made the decision to move to East knowing the lacrosse potential that Kansas City held for Wynn and his eighth grade brother, who plans to also play for East next year.
“I wasn’t getting much better [in Springfield], so playing better people now makes me get better,” Wynn said.
Since Breckenridge can’t play he has spent his time passing on all his tips and tricks to Wynn. The second the referee blows the whistle, Wynn starts performing all the steps taught to him. He focuses on clamping the ball under the stick before his opponent does, and then pinches the ball and pops it out. Once he has possession of the ball he immediately takes it to goal or looks for an open teammate so he can make a pass.
“I have just been working with him getting all of his technique down, his naturally a pretty big and physical guy so its been pretty easy,” Breckenridge said. “He’s learning quickly, he needs to work on a few things, but he has gotten all the basics pretty quick which has allowed him to have a lot of success so far this year.”
According to Coach Leff, Wynn is currently ranked second in the LAKC league for faceoffs and wins an average of 70% of all his faceoffs.
“He has improved drastically,” Leff said. “He was good when he got here but playing daily against top competition has really taken his game to a new level.”
Wynn isn’t certain whether he will be the player to take the faceoffs for the Lancers next season, but he plans to continue to work on them for the remainder of the current season and over the summer.
“From this point forward we are just working on solidifying [Wynn’s] fundamentals along with working on more advanced technique to help him against better teams,” Breckenridge said. “Look over some film, just kind of be his brain until he can figure it out for himself.”