Shortly after a disappointing 2013 season, Santa Margarita Catholic High School hired Adam Guy to take over as head lacrosse coach. With his new role, Guy assumed responsibility for rebuilding the promising but struggling program.
As the 2014 season approaches, the Adam Guy Era at Santa Margarita is beginning to take shape and it appears that the Eagles will be sporting a new look and a new attitude. Guy and his new-look Eagles banded together as the OC Rebels for the Air Station Shootout and showed off a scrappy, blue-collar approach that that was markedly different from 2013.
Perhaps no Eagle embodies the new Santa Margarita spirit more than junior Nico Houser. The athletic midfielder has persevered to overcome freakish injuries in both his freshman and sophomore years. In the fall of his freshman year, Nico broke his left ankle while wrestling. He recovered just before the start of the lacrosse season and went on to become the MVP of Santa Margarita’s junior varsity lacrosse team.
Last winter Houser was looking forward to his first varsity season and building on the success of his freshman year when he broke his right leg so severely in a high school soccer game that many thought he would never play again. Houser spent his 16th birthday in the hospital where underwent surgery, had rods put in his leg, and was put in a cast that went nearly the full length of his leg. He was out of action for the entirety of the 2013 lacrosse season and the 2013 summer recruiting season.
There is no question that after two such severe injuries many players would have given up, but Houser’s resiliency and love for the game helped him persevere. While his leg was recovering, Houser continued to weight train and stay in condition. Houser finally got back on the lacrosse field in October, 10 months after his injury. Despite still having two steel rods still in his leg, the benefits of his dedication to conditioning and weight training were obvious, and he quickly began to return to peak form. In November, Houser traveled back east to recruiting events knowing he was not fully recovered but wanting to show the colleges he could still play. He did well, although in the cold weather the steel rods would freeze his leg. Stick checks to his leg caused his scars to swell to the size of a golf ball. Despite the rods, Nico had some impressive highlights at the Adrenaline High Rollers Showcase in November. Through it all, Nico never gave up. Anyone who has seen Nico play has witnessed his dedication and positive attitude.
The rods were removed from Nico’s leg on December 20, 2013. Nico is regaining his speed. He was an important contributor to his OC Kings Elite team in Las Vegas and San Diego where he played with more than 30 stitches in his leg. Nico attended the 2014 West Coast Starz tryouts two weeks ago and played at Sandstorm last weekend scoring nine goals. He has some upcoming college visits as well. He followed up his Sandstorm performance with a great showing at the Air Station Shootout where he had a couple of highlight reel goals including the game-tying goal against Harvard-Westlake.
Coach Guy is clearly impressed by Houser’s work ethic and excited to have such a versatile asset on the roster this season. “It’s great having Nico back in the mix this season,” said Guy. “He has had to navigate a long, difficult road to get to this point and his hard work is going to pay off. He has a great attitude and work ethic, good size and good stick handling skills so he adds some depth to our roster and has the ability to impact any game he plays in. It’s our job as coaches to put Nico in a position on the field to be successful, that being said we plan on moving him around the field from attack to midfield depending on where we feel he has the best matchup for that given game.”