Meet Tom LaCrosse, who plays midfield for the Penn State Men’s lacrosse team. Despite being the brunt of jokes from both opposing teams and his own, he has never considered changing his last name, nor has he considered switching sports to badminton. And no, Buick has never offered him a free LaCrosse. It has never even LaCrossed his mind. In fact, Tom is very down-to-earth, in spite of his impressive Division I lacrosse career.
We got a chance to catch up with Tom in the midst of the team’s 5-3 season.
Onward State: When did you know you were destined to become a Division I lacrosse midfielder? Did you really have any choice given your last name?
Tom LaCrosse: I’d say probably freshman year of high school I wanted to become a Division I lacrosse player. I knew I wanted to play college lacrosse but didn’t know what division. As I got older in high school, I guess you could say, I started realizing playing Division I would be possible.
OS: But seriously, when did you first get into lacrosse?
TL: My dad started me before kindergarten. It was my family that definitely got me into it. It wasn’t really organized lacrosse, but I just had a stick in my hand running around. My first organized league was second grade.
OS: Did you play any other sports? Did any of your family play lacrosse, or is it just you?
TL: I played football in the fall and ran track in the winter. I was serious about football in high school, and I loved it, but I knew I would never be big enough to play in college. My dad and uncle both played lacrosse, so they’re definitely the reason I started playing. My dad played midfield in club lacrosse and in high school. My uncle played in college for Hofstra.
OS: Have you always played midfield, or have you played other positions as well?
TL: I tried different positions in youth lacrosse but didn’t stay with any of them. My dad played midfield and he had me in midfield, so that’s what I stuck with.
OS: What made you choose Penn State over other schools? You’re from New York, so why go out of state?
TL: I’m from the Rochester area in New York. I knew the old coach pretty well because he’s from Geneva and I’m from Canandaigua, N.Y., which are right next to each other. He recruited me and I just loved the place. It had all the facilities and academics, and I loved the guys here. I thought of other schools but was pretty set on Penn State, and committed January of my junior year.
OS: Do you have any other interest besides lacrosse that people don’t know about?
TL: I hang out with my friends a lot. I’m also huge into hunting and fishing. I’m a big outdoors guy.
OS: So what do you hunt?
OS: Like…people’s dogs?
TL: No, no, wait, like deer and duck. I love venison. I don’t hunt anywhere around here but I hunt every day over Thanksgiving break. We have 35 acres at home, so I hunt there with my shotgun.
OS: Do you know the origin of your surname?
TL: It’s actually French. It was originally pronounced different, like “la-kwah”. Then my ancestors changed it and now it’s pronounced phonetically.
OS: What are you pumped about for the upcoming season?
TL: I’m excited to get to playoffs. I mean, we’ve got a long season ahead of us. We’ve only had eight games. I’m just excited to keep going. As a team I’d like to see us win the CA and go to the NCAA tournaments, and make a good run.
OS: Any teams you’re excited to face this season?
TL: Our in-conference games are the most fun. They’re so intense because we’ve played each other once a year every year. You see the same teams and it’s always a grind. If you come to one game this season, come out to Drexel. It’ll be a big conference game and they’re a huge rival.
OS: If you were a dinosaur, which would you be?
A raptor, because they’re fast and can chase things down.