It’s long been Hudson Dennill’s dream to play next-level lacrosse at a university, and the teenager will get the chance to do that this fall.
The Sardis secondary student has just put pen to paper, signing a letter of intent with Walsh University, a program based in North Canton, Ohio.
“It’s really amazing to finally have this opportunity,” the 18-year-old said. “To be able to go to school, get an education and get a high level education while playing the sport I love is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
“I played fall lacrosse with Fusion West, and I was lucky enough to have a coach (Kevin Crowley) that knows a lot of people and reached out to a lot of schools for me, and it just worked out that Walsh U gave me an offer.”
Walsh U is home to the Cavaliers, an NCAA Div 2 program that plays in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC). Dennill describes the GMAC as a “very competitive” division, one that includes Mercyhurst, Seton Hill, Lake Erie College, Davis & Elkins, Alderson Broaddus and Wheeling.
The Cavaliers aren’t a total unknown to Dennill.
Another Sardis grad, Brydan Heisler, spent four seasons at Walsh. His dad, Dan Heisler, coached Dennill with the Sardis Falcons field lacrosse team and said he will be in good hands with Cavaliers coach Alex Skavarch.
“It will be a demanding yet rewarding experience for Hudson,” Heisler said. “Coach Skavarch values hard work, and assists his players in learning discipline, organization and goal setting, the significance of cooperation, loyalty and teamwork. Most notably, he emphasizes the importance of maintaining a high academic focus throughout their four years, so that when players graduate, they have developed life skills to support them in their career goals.”
On the field, Dennill’s goal scoring is his forte. He has a talent for putting the ball in the net, but Heisler said there’s far more to his game than just scoring goals.
“Hudson has great vision on the field. He uses his size and body positioning to drive to the net and can play a physical game when needed,” the coach noted. “He is deceptive beating defence in one-on one situations, has excellent stick skills in tight and has a very accurate shot.
“He was a co-captain of our team in his Grade 11 year and Hudson was a great role model for other players with his positive attitude, character on the field and unselfish play.”
According to one website, it’s 3,274.24 kilometres from Chilliwack to North Canton, Ohio. For a kid who hasn’t done much travelling, there’s a major adjustment coming, but Dennill can’t wait to get started.
“I’ve been to Las Vegas (Nevada) and Palm Springs (California) for lacrosse, but that’s about it, and this will be the furthest I’ve been by far,” he said. “It’s probably 50/50 between excitement and nervousness about it, because it is a big step that will push me outside my comfort zone.
“But I’m I know I’m going to grow as a person and get the chance to keep playing lacrosse, so I’m definitely super excited.”