It was the beginning of the season for the Winton Woods High School Lacrosse team when they were told to hang up their cleats and put away their gear. Their season, like the rest of the world, had come to a sudden halt. Now with a new year, season, and fourteen members, two familiar faces have returned to the field - not as players but coaches. Warrior alumni and former lacrosse players Nigel Akalaanana, Class of ‘19, and Daris Stallworth, Class of ‘18, were both recruited by Head Lacrosse Coach Christian Twitty as students when they began the game and now as members of the staff team. “My goal is always to bring alumni back to coach,” said Coach Twitty.
Stallworth played lacrosse at Mount Saint Joseph University and had late practices. This allowed him to help with Winton Woods High School lacrosse practices. Then, one day he was offered a position to coach. The students are given opportunities to participate in summer workouts and spring clinics with Saint Joseph to prepare them to play at the collegiate level and so they can experience collegiate competition and have something to which they can aspire.
During their time at Winton Woods, they were captains and great friends. Stallworth was defensive captain and Akalaanana was a captain and three-year goalie. They earned their positions based on their strengths. “Akalaanana plays video games as a hobby. He is very focused, said Coach Twitty. Akalaanana joined the marines and came back as a marine reservist, working at a recruiting center. Coach Twitty says Akalaanana brings his military background and strong discipline. The workouts will be structured at a high pace and challenging in order to help all players succeed! Stallworth brings a funny characteristic of high intensive energy during practice. Anything that happens, if they are discouraged, he makes them laugh and it is on to the next play.
“The unique thing about lacrosse is anyone can play. There is a position for everyone on this field. Whether you have low stamina or can run for miles, there are no specific body types to be on the field. In football, they are looking for someone with weight or that has speed. In lacrosse, that does not matter.” When asked why he coaches, he used Daris and Nigel as examples. “[The reason why] is to see the students grow - from freshmen to seniors - and be able to prepare them for the next stage of life.”