TRAVERSE CITY — Jake Monette has been playing lacrosse for a long time. Chris Feaganes, not so much.
But both Traverse City West grads are headed to play collegiately at Defiance College.
The Division 3 Ohio institution has been recruiting Monette for years — even before the school had a program. And also before Feaganes even started playing.
A year ago, Feaganes hadn’t played any sports at West. But Monette convinced him to try lacrosse on the YMCA-sponsored Bayhawks team comprised entirely of TC West student-athletes.
“Jake talked me into it,” Feaganes said. “I’ve been working hard all year to get better. I guess I was good enough to play in college, so now I’m going to the next level.”
Monette had been a fixture on the team for years, playing on the varsity-level team as an eighth-grader and scoring 40 goals as a sophomore. Feaganes walked on and soon was a starting defensive midfielder. He was voted to the Northern Michigan Lacrosse Conference all-star game and even scored a goal in the contest.
Now they’ll continue to be teammates for the Yellow Jackets, who just started their varsity lacrosse program a year ago.
“I think we have very good chances,” Monette said of earning playing time early on. “I think we can get in there and make a difference right off the bat.”
Defiance was 0-17 in its first season, so the pair hope they can help drastically improve that as the school’s program evolves.
“Chris, the minute he walked on the field, you would have never known,” Bayhawks coach Ryan Schook said. “Just a natural athlete. He was good at everything he does. I’ll be honest, he was my favorite player that I’ve ever coached because of his ability to pick up things quickly and his desire to learn more. I wished there were more kids in this world like Chris, because of his quality and character.