Athlete to Watch: Esslinger exemplifies what it means to be a lacrosse player

Jackie Sibila, Editor-in-Chief

As the spring sports season begins, lacrosse sticks and jerseys can be found strewn about the locker rooms. Among those jerseys is number 31, belonging to senior varsity player Chris Esslinger. 

Esslinger’s dad, who also played lacrosse at both the high school and collegiate level, “got a stick in his hands” when he was a young boy. Ever since, Esslinger has participated in the sport and is currently stationed in the midfield position for Dulaney. 

Esslinger enjoys the creativity that comes with being on the field playing this position. 

“Every player sort of plays their own way and there’s a million different ways to put the ball in the path of the net and finding your own way is a lot of fun,” said Esslinger. 

Esslinger described Dulaney’s team as disciplined, growing and athletic, emphasizing how everyone on the team is willing to learn to perfect their practice. Even before the season Esslinger spoke on the work that takes place behind the season. Doing Dulaney’s Bigger Faster Stronger (BFS) program as well as weight training classes with his teammates are things that he will miss most about Dulaney lacrosse; The camaraderie of being together. 

This season, Esslinger spoke on how a team goal is to beat Towson and Hereford. Last year they were able to win against Towson – an experience which Esslinger describes as “the highlight of the year for most of our team.” He hopes to get those wins as a senior for the pride of the Dulaney lions. 

“Chris’ passion towards success is a wave that lifts up those around him to build the best team possible.” said Jacob Murray, Chris’s teammate. 

Being a teammate is an important value for Esslinger who believes that it goes beyond games and practice. He emphasizes the importance of representing and serving your team, whether that be on the playing field, in the classroom or in the community. The boys lacrosse coach, Kyle Fiat, elaborated on Esslinger as a teammate. 

“Chris is always willing to be the first player to practice and the last to leave. He’s a humble young man who is a role model for everyone at Dulaney to look up to. He plays at a very high level, but what makes him really special is his willingness to mentor and help younger, less experienced, players.” 

As a student athlete Esslinger maintains his work-sports balance by prioritizing school work before he takes time to relax. While it’s definitely been challenging, this year his reduced schedule has allowed him some extra time to get work done for his impressive transcript which includes AP classes.  

In the fall Esslinger plans to continue his academic and athletic career at Messiah University. He plans to study Mechanical Engineering while playing for their division III lacrosse team. Esslinger voiced his want for a Christian school as well as finding one that had a good balance between size and resources for academic pursuits. After speaking with the coach he knew it would be a good fit! 

Reflecting on his time away from the team during the COVID-19 break from school, Esslinger passed on advice that he has for the younger members of his team. 

“Cherishing every moment that you have with the team and seeking opportunities with the team is huge because you never know when it can end,” said Esslinger.  

It’s clear that Esslinger will find success wherever he goes whether that be on the field, in school or in life!