Back and better than ever

Senior lacrosse players Noach Gleeson, Chase Baker and six other players return for victory lap year

By: August Vullo

March 2020 saw the COVID-19 virus become a national and global pandemic. This virus has affected America in many ways. One of the most important impacts of the virus was on sports. For collegiate athletes, the pandemic not only halted the spring 2020 sports season but also gave seniors a chance to return for the 2021 season.

For the Cleveland State University men’s lacrosse team, their 2020 season being cut short left a lot of seniors- many of whom helped spearhead the CSU program- unsure if they would ever play again. Because the NCAA gave seniors another year of eligibility, through CSU’s “Victory Lap” program, eight lacrosse student-athletes returned for this season.

The Victory Lap Program was announced in June of 2020 as an opportunity for senior athletes who’s seasons were cancelled due to COVID-19. Eight lacrosse seniors are back this season with an extra year of eligibility. Source: CSU Athletics Department

“The Cauldron” was able to get interviews from two of the returning seniors Chase Baker and Noah Gleeson to see how they felt last March when their would-be senior season abruptly ended. 

Baker talked about how he was watching the lacrosse conferences get shut down one by one, and he had a bad feeling looming over him that his season was going to end next. Both Baker and Gleeson described the shut down as “heart-breaking.” Not knowing if they were going to get another chance. 

When he heard about the NCAA’s extended eligibility, the decision for Gleeson was easy. He was excited to come back and in his mind, there was no doubt he was coming back. 

For others like Baker, the decision was not so easy. He had to decide between going into the workforce or going back to play lacrosse. Baker chose the ladder, saying he wanted to “finish off the right way” by coming back and finishing his last season. It is a good thing he came back as he has a career high of 14 goals scored this season. 

The team itself is sitting at 2-5 and they look to win their next three games to end the season at .500. Baker and Gleeson both say that the key to winning now is to play slow, and to play to each athlete’s strengths. They both also agree that the team needs to cut down on turnovers. With both of these ideals, Baker and Gleeson see the team finishing this season strong.

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