On Jan. 13, Greg Awa-Moppert picked up a lacrosse stick for the the first time in his life. On Wednesday, he signed a scholarship to play college lacrosse.
The Canyon Springs senior became the first player from the Pioneers’ first-year club program to commit to playing collegiate lacrosse, signing his national letter of intent with Central Christian College of Kansas at his high school.
“It was super crazy and exciting,” Awa-Moppert said. “I’ve only been playing lacrosse for not very long, and I fell in love with the sport.
“I thought I would suck.”
Awa-Moppert was the team’s only senior, one of 27 players who had never played the sport. Lacrosse is not typically found in the area around Canyon Springs, and coach Bob Nixon proudly boasts that his team is the “only inner-city program.”
There are 12 schools with a club varsity team, including private schools Bishop Gorman and Faith Lutheran and public schools like Palo Verde and Coronado, which are located in more affluent areas. The Pioneers went 1-8 in their inaugural season.
“When you look at the teams, we’re definitely a different team,” Awa-Moppert said. “That’s the cool part — to be different, and to get our name out there.”
Nixon helped start the program this season and served as one of the team’s coaches. He said there were 108 athletes that came to the interest meeting for the boys and girls lacrosse teams, and used a specific way to lure them from the other spring sports.
“If you’re a great athlete, you’re going to play lacrosse. If you’re not, that’s OK,” Nixon said. “There’s a lot of kids that took that as a challenge.”
He said it didn’t hurt when he explained lacrosse is a full-contact sport. And when Awa-Moppert came out, Nixon knew he had a star.
“He picked up the game fairly quick,” Nixon said. “If you have great hands around the net, it’s a big deal. And Greg has great hands around the net.”
Awa-Moppert is a midfielder, and will play attack in college. Central Christian College of Kansas is an NAIA school, and plays conference-independent Division II lacrosse.
“He’s not great yet, but he’ll get there,” Nixon said.
■ Bishop Gorman senior Nick Israel to San Diego State for baseball.
■ Bishop Gorman senior Ryan Kiley to Waldorf University (Iowa) for men’s basketball.