Home is not very far for a trio of Ohio State men’s lacrosse players.
For senior midfielder Scott Lathrop, sophomore defenseman Mark Crawford and freshman defenseman John Hardesty, it is a short drive back to their hometown of Upper Arlington.
All three Buckeyes played high school lacrosse for Upper Arlington High School.
“Playing there gave me confidence. It gave me drive to continue the success here,” Lathrop said. “I know everybody always wants to win, but it’s nice coming from a program that had that kind of success.”
In the case of Upper Arlington, “success” might not be the right word. “Dominance” might be more appropriate.
Upper Arlington coach Ted Wolford is entering his 18th season at the helm. He has won 12 state championships as coach.
Wolford said the trio of Buckeyes are some of the most loyal kids he has coached.
“If you say to yourself, ‘If I were to go into battle, would I want one of those guys in your foxhole with you?’ You would say, without a doubt,” he said. “Any one of those guys would be people that would have your back, people that would be there to support you.”
Lathrop, a co-captain for the No. 13/15-ranked Buckeyes, also was a captain when he wore a Golden Bears uniform.
“Scott was a captain for us, you know, as well as he is now for Ohio State,” Wolford said. “He was just always a very focused individual that worked very hard.”
Wolford said Crawford’s first choice was football and that he chose to play lacrosse late in his high school career. But, Wolford said, that didn’t change the type of character he had.
“He definitely had the strongest work ethic in his senior class,” Wolford said. “He’s definitely one of those kids that everybody looked up to because he pushed everybody to improve. There’s not an ounce of ego in him at all.”
Just a freshman for the Buckeyes, Hardesty was exposed to high-level competition early in his high school career. Like Lathrop, Hardesty also was a captain for Upper Arlington.
“Right from the get-go, he kept coming to us and asking how he could get better,” Wolford said. “He always pushed us as coaches to help him improve his game.”
The success of the Upper Arlington program has made it a hot spot for OSU recruiting. Wolford said he already has two players on his team this year who have committed to play for the Buckeyes in the future.
Although the three Buckeyes all are in different classes, they share a bond from their time as Golden Bears.
“I think the biggest part would just be having that person that you’ve known for two, three or four years in high school, and kind of having that connection already made and bringing it to college,” Crawford said.
Despite the three now playing lacrosse for the Buckeyes, Wolford said he still remains in contact with them.
“I always try to stick around after games and try to talk to them afterwards and see how they’re doing,” he said. “I want to let them know that I’m very proud of them; I’m very happy with the fact that they’re competing and that they’re doing well both in the classroom and in their athletic endeavors.”
OSU has started off the season with three consecutive victories against Detroit Mercy, Mercer and previously No. 3-ranked North Carolina. The Buckeyes suffered their first loss against Massachusetts on Saturday, 11-9.
While many of the OSU players come from all over the country, the trio has one advantage that not many other members of the team can say they have.
“We share a little bit, I think, because we’re always getting stuff for being so close to home and going home and getting home-cooked meals,” Crawford said. “So we all have to stick together and stay strong.”