The seniors on Prout’s boys lacrosse team were set to play this spring for their fourth different head coach in four years. That made for a bit of a tumultuous ride, but they had stuck together and were eager to stay on board this season.
“The atmosphere at practice is always fun,” senior Mitch Lindley said. “We all end up being pretty good together on the field. We all have a connection. We might not be the best out on the field, but we’re always together.”
Lindley and many of his teammates are also hockey players. As a team, they held their own in the state’s top division this past season, joining in a new co-op with Scituate and delivering a few highlights, most notably a win over perennial powerhouse Bishop Hendricken. As soon as the hockey season ended, lacrosse sticks came out for captains’ practices. They were a few weeks in when the coronavirus pandemic and its effects began to take hold.
“We had some captains practices at the start of the year and I ran those. We had some kids learning and we didn’t have a goalie so I picked up one of my junior friends, and he was doing really well with it,” said senior Colin Bois. “We only had three weeks, but in those three weeks, we were running really well and had good conditioning. A lot of our players came from the hockey team and we didn’t do that bad this year. Most of our team was very well-conditioned. We were running a lot for hockey. Our team was looking good. Our offense was working really well with our defense and we were running some good plays. I thought we would have done pretty well.”
Prout was looking to build on a breakthrough 2019 season. After a challenging 2018 campaign, the Crusaders regrouped under new coach John Hooper and went 11-3 in the regular season, good for third place in Division II. They ran into eventual champion South Kingstown in the semifinals and lost 11-3.
“Last year was probably my favorite year. Everybody had their own little problems here and there, but we battled it out in like a day,” Lindley said. “And after that, it was just fun and games. We were all happy to be there.”
Hooper planned to do only one year at the helm to steady the program, which his sons had previously played for. Gary Champagne was named the new head coach for 2020, with Eric Thompson set to be an assistant.
“We’ve had a new coach for all four years,” Lindley said. “The team has done really well with that. The first few practices are usually a little weird, but we always knew what we had to do.”
Several key players graduated from last year’s team, but there was a good nucleus. Bois has been a standout since his freshman year as one of the team’s top scoring options. Lindley anchors the defense.
“We had a lot of kids playing and we were looking good,” Bois said. “When it actually hit and we realized we weren’t going to have a season, it didn’t feel that good. Knowing we wouldn’t step on the lacrosse field in our uniforms was a pretty big bummer.”
Bois has been playing lacrosse since second grade. He started even earlier with hockey, taking the ice in a learn to skate program when he was just 2 years old. The North Kingstown resident quickly made a mark at Prout, starting for a championship hockey team in 2016 and a runner-up lacrosse squad that spring.
On the lacrosse field, he played alongside several familiar faces.
“I grew up playing with Charlie Madeira, Ethan Longolucco and Mitch Lindley,” Bois said. “We’ve been on the same team since second grade. Our senior class is pretty close.”
Lindley, a Richmond resident, has been playing lacrosse since kindergarten. In hockey, he was a multi-year starter at the goaltender spot for the Crusaders. He was looking forward to one last ride in a Crusader uniform.
“It sucked,” Lindley said. “Senior season, been thinking about how fun it’s going to be. All our friends, just having good times after school, going to practice, big games. At least I got three years of it. It was still fun.”
The best part?
“Honestly, it was just being with the team,” Lindley said.