Austin Wallace endured a pair of major setbacks as a member of the Guilford boys’ lacrosse squad, but the senior captain used positivity and persistence to remain a vital asset to the Indians.
Austin is an attacker who was called up to the varsity ranks in his freshman year and then served as one of the Indians’ captains this spring. However, Austin’s junior season was cut short when he tore one of his ACLs. Austin made it back to the field this year, but re-tore the same ACL midway through the campaign, and he also suffered a meniscus injury. While it was certainly difficult for Austin to miss the rest of the season, his dedication to his team never wavered, as Austin continued to provide an influential presence with his upbeat demeanor at both practices and games.
“Last year, we thought it was our year, and I saw my role and was ready to play, but I didn’t want the injury to take anything away from the team. I wanted to stay with the team, because I knew I still had a part on it,” says Austin. “I did the scoring books, I cheered them on, and gave them advice. I never wanted to let the injury become who I was. And being a captain this year, I had to be there, because I cared about the boys. I felt like I was strong enough to keep myself afloat and help the boys.”
Austin gained an even deeper appreciation for lacrosse after battling through some rigorous rehabilitation to return action this year. His first practice back came in the dead of winter, but that didn’t matter to Austin, who was just happy to be on the field.
“It was a huge accomplishment to get back after the first injury. I could’ve gotten down because of the injury, but I never saw it that way,” Austin says. “We had our first practice on January 5 this year, and I remember just being so glad to be back. I was proud of myself after doing physical therapy and going through nine months of recovery.”
Guilford’s Head Coach Brian White says that Austin displayed great character while dealing with his injuries, setting a great example for his teammates to emulate.
“He has shown strong leadership abilities and has stayed positive through this entire process,” says White. “Austin is a true leader among his peers.”
Austin feels that dealing with his first ACL tear taught him lessons that helped him in his captain’s role during the 2017 season. Ultimately, Austin loved being in that leadership position.
“It was a huge accomplishment and privilege to be captain. I’m about accountability. I’d rather have something be on me than someone else,” says Austin. “Managing the pain last year helped give me a sense of what it’s like to be a leader. I loved every second of being a captain.”
Austin thanks his parents John and Cindy for their support, along with Coach White, Indians’ assistant coach Scott Davidson, youth lacrosse coach Tim Kesselring, and all of his teammates and their parents. As an athlete who got to play his favorite sport for his hometown team, Austin says the experience gave him a whole new set of life skills that will prove invaluable for years to come.
“The Guilford lacrosse program is awesome. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the coaching staff. It was a dream to play for my town,” says Austin. “When I first got hurt, my friend said how he had many injuries, but he helped me realize that obstacles are meant to happen, because they are meant to be overcome. They are about how you deal with adversity. It will help me in my future, and it’s helped me stay level-headed in a game. You just have to keep playing.”