Hangin' out with … Jared Zaniewski
The new collegiate season is on the horizon, and a New England school is preparing for its first foray into the Division 1 men’s lacrosse landscape: UMass-Lowell.
The River Hawks’ roster for their inaugural season is made up of 29 freshmen. The team certainly will face some growing pains as all first-timers do, but it will have strength in numbers, led by freshman midfielder Jared Zaniewski (Sandwich, Mass.), who was selected as one of the first captains in program history.
Hometown: Sandwich, Mass.
Major: Business management
Why did you choose UMass-Lowell?
“It was a pretty easy (choice). The opportunity presented; there’s not many Division 1 schools where you can compete for playing time right away. … I really wanted to play right off the bat. I took a tour on campus and loved it. My parents both went here and graduated here so I have family ties. But the biggest thing was to come in right away and get some playing time.”
What does it mean to be one of the first captains in program history?
“I’m pretty proud of that. We have about 30 freshmen on the team. I was wondering who would be captain and what that process would be like. Coach had given out leadership roles. I had one of the first ones, and I guess he liked what I was doing. I love the guys on my team.”
What was the captain process like?
“I was a little bit surprised. I was hoping I had a shot at it. I was captain my junior and senior year in high school for lacrosse and senior year at football. It was a two-week period of you being a captain. From there he picked guys he thought would be good leaders and from there he made decisions on what he saw at practice.”
What do you think is the hardest part of being captain as a freshman?
“Seeing as everyone is the same age it’s a little difficult to keep everyone on the straight and narrow and focused. We don’t have any upperclassmen to look up to. I don’t have anyone that has been here before me. We have to start traditions here. We’re the first ones here. I love that challenge, but it will be a little bit of a challenge, not having any upperclassmen to look up to.”
What was fall ball like with an entirely new team?
“Fall ball was really interesting. I enjoyed it a lot. Our first practice started right off with a fast-paced transition drill. From there we got it rolling. We practiced pretty much every day, lifting two days a week. Everyone was competing really hard. Our games and schedule was really fun. We didn’t know what we were getting into. We played in the Northeast Classic. Getting fired up for that game, we all felt excited just to finally play some fall ball games. It was such a relief to get on the field and compete.”
How did you start playing lacrosse?
“I started playing in third grade. I played baseball up until then. I was looking for something more fast-paced. I joined up with a town rec league. I played that from third to eighth grade. I had great coaches that really developed my interest in the game.”
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
“This one is easy. It would definitely be super speed. I love running. If I could have super speed, it would make it that much easier and that much better.”
Anything you want the readers to know?
“For any of the kids reading, keep giving to the game because it will give back to you in a big way.”