The Florida Gator lacrosse team has done some remarkable things in their short time of existence. In just four years time, head coach Amanda O’Leary has been able to create a top notch program that is competing for championships year in and year out. Her team has already won three ALC conference championships, one tournament championship and appeared in one Final Four in that short period of time.
Much of that success comes from terrific recruiting thanks to the benefits the University of Florida can offer to the nation’s top talent. Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States and teams have been popping up around the country more and more every year. With roots in the northeast, many of the top teams and players have been from historic lacrosse states such as Maryland and New York.
I found it funny going to games a few years ago watching a confused crowd try to understand what game they were watching. If you have ever watched a girls lacrosse, there are a number of rules and regulations that can get to be more then confusing at times. Nevertheless, it was only a matter of time until the year round sunshine of Florida would breed some of the top talent in the country.
One of Florida’s top recruits for 2013 is Vero Beach (Fla.) Saint Edward’s mid-fielder Chloe O’Haire. A native from Vero Beach myself, the town has garnered a name for itself for having some of the best female lacrosse players in the southeast.
Chloe, who recently recovered from a torn ACL injury, just finished up her senior season and is ready to enroll in Gainesville. I got a chance to catch up with Chloe regarding her recruitment and expectations as she heads to Florida next season.
Seth Puglio: When did you know you wanted to be a Gator?
Chloe O’Haire: I knew I wanted to be a Gator in the 7th grade when I stepped onto the campus for the first time.
SP: What was your visit to Florida like?
CO: My unofficial visit to Florida was amazing. The athletic facilities and amenities they provide for the athletes were hard to pass up. The coaches were also very nice and welcoming, and being able to go on the sidelines to watch the football game was a ton of fun.
SP: Do you talk at all with any of the other recruits coming in or current players on the team?
CO: I talk with girls in my recruiting class all the time, luckily, we all get along very well.
SP: Have you watched any Gator lacrosse games? What stands out to you about the team?
CO: I’ve watched many Gator lacrosse games, and what stands out to me the most is probably how fast all of the players are and just how quickly the game moves in general. They all work very well together!
SP: I know you had a tough go your junior year after suffering an injury, were you concerned at all with your recruitment at that point?
CO: I was extremely concerned about the recruiting process after my injury. I though that it was all over. Hearing that I tore my ACL was devastating and I really thought that I had kissed my lacrosse career goodbye.
SP: How much contact do you have with the Floirda coaches and did they contact you at all after your injury?
CO: I have a pretty decent amount of contact with the coaches now, but I contacted them for all tournaments and camps during my freshman and sophomore years. I also kept them updated throughout my recovery process my junior year. The day after my injury, I called coach O’Leary to tell her the news. I was extremely worried about her reaction, but luckily she was very supportive and said that she still wanted me to play for her.
SP: What are you most looking forward to in your first year on campus?
CO: For my first year on campus, I’m most looking forward to the freedom and independence I’ll have. I’m also very excited to meet new people and play with my future teammates.
SP: What are your expectations in your first year on the team?
CO: I honestly don’t really know what to expect for my first year on the team other than that I’ll have to work my hardest and try my best. I’m ready for the challenge and I can’t wait to finally be out there!
Be sure to catch Chloe and all the rest of the Gator lacrosse team as they are sure to be another top team in 2013.