By Jeremy Menard
Recently on ESPN Ithaca’s Between the Lines, host Jeremy Menard spoke with Ithaca College lacrosse defenseman Winston Wenham and discussed his lacrosse career.
A 2012 graduate of Ithaca High School, before joining the Bombers, he played a season of lacrosse at Northfield Mount Hermon Prep (Mass.) and two seasons at Syracuse University. Last year, after completing his first season at IC, Winston was named an Empire 8 All-Conference First Team Honoree. Here is a snippet of that conversation; to hear the full interview, visit ESPN Ithaca’s on-demand PodCenter at ESPNIthaca.com.
Jeremy Menard: Let’s start by talking about your high school career. What is something Coach Frank Welch taught you that still comes in to play quite often?
Winston Wenham: He did a lot of offense, so I wasn’t with him a ton, but the one thing that he really instilled in our whole team that I think made us very successful was always worrying about the “hustle plays” you can make during the game. He was really big on that.
He would really talk to us every time, even if we weren’t playing well, that no matter what, no one’s ever going to stop you from making the hustle play. That’s something you can always make the decision during the game that it’s what you want to do. It’s something that definitely other coaches have echoed since then, but he was really the first one to get us going with that. Our whole team really prided ourselves on, even if we weren’t playing technically great, that we were working really hard. Just make that one extra hustle play that could make the difference in the game.
JM: So, Coach Welch always wanted to see heart. He always wanted to see that extra effort.
WW: Yeah, for sure. Another thing he was big on was pride. Especially when we were playing with our high school team, you know during the summer and stuff, a lot of other teams were like these all-star teams or regional teams and we were always just our high school team, that’s just who we were playing with. Wherever we went, whether it was during the regular high school season or during the summer or fall ball, to really represent our high school well and play with a lot of pride for who we are and the style of lacrosse we played. He was really big into that too.
JM: You were on the 2012 team that played for a state title. What is your fondest memory from that season?
WW: Oh, gee, that’s a tough one. The guys that I played with on that team, and the year before, were guys I had played with for 10 or more years at that point. So, I think just the great team camaraderie we had and just the off the field chemistry we had was really great. Our best victory that year was in the semifinal. We had lost to Fairport earlier in the season up at their place and then we got a little bit of a chance at redemption later in the year in that semifinal game. We really played well. I guess that was a really good feeling I had from that year, was coming back and beating them when we had lost earlier in the season.
JM: So Winston, after graduating from IHS in 2012, you played a year of lacrosse in prep school and then you joined the Orange up in Syracuse. What was the transition like, going from Ithaca High to Northfield Mount Hermon Prep in Massachusetts, to Syracuse?
WW: I would say athletically, it was probably the biggest transition I’ve ever had. Certainly the speed of play is something that you never quite understand even when you’re watching the game on TV. You know, some of the guys you’re watching make it look so easy and you’re like, yeah I can do that too, of course. But once you get there, it really took me by surprise, those first couple of weeks. Even like my whole freshman year, it was trying to get used to how fast and how skilled everyone else was around me. So, that was big athletically. Academically, I feel like having that year where I went to prep school in-between, where I was actually the furthest I’d ever lived away from home, it was about four-and-a-half hours away, so I was really on my own there, that helped me just like mature as an academic student and be more comfortable on my own and independent. The transition athletically was obviously huge, but academically and like socially, I think that in-between year as a PG was really beneficial.
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Listen to Between the Lines with Jeremy Menard from 4-5 p.m. weekdays on ESPN Ithaca (1160 AM/107.1 FM) and ESPNIthaca.com.