Seniors Bridget Cain, Taylor Austin, and Claire Welter were named captains of the 2018 San Juan Hills girls lacrosse team. These three athletes have been together since their freshman year and have helped to put a program that was in its infancy four years ago on the map.
Coach Michael Welter admits he was lucky to have the three captains arrive on his team as freshmen.
“They may not have made varsity at a more established program but here at San Juan Hills there was only one win in program history before they arrived,” Welter said. “Their freshman year was fantastic as they took over and showed the rest of the team how to play, how to be intense and how to still have fun.
“After all they were only 14 years old and hadn’t really matured yet so they were goofy and I think the rest of the team followed along because they were so good”, Welter reminisced.
The Stallions ended up winning 10 games that year and finishing in third place in the Sea View League. Now that they are seasoned veterans, the three captains hope they can lead the program that had only one win program history before their arrival to a third consecutive appearance in the playoffs.
Cain is a midfielder who seems to get better every year. She was awarded SJHHS Midfielder of the Year freshman year, 1st Team All-Sea View League sophomore year, and 1st Team All-South Coast League, 2nd Team All-County, and SJHHS Varsity Girls Lacrosse MVP last season.
Academically, Cain is a member of the National Honor Society, has been awarded the Scholar-Athlete Award, Spirit of the Stallion Award, and been named to the Principal’s Honor Roll for her accomplishments in the classroom. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and anything outdoors, and after high school, she plans on majoring in engineering at a four-year university, participating in Air Force ROTC and playing club lacrosse.
“Bridget was a complete and pleasant surprise to me because I didn’t know a lot about her, other than she played one year of club with Victory Lacrosse
,” Welter said. “But wow, she sure was the fastest runner on the team and started taking draws and winning a good percentage of them. I had no idea.”
Austin is another midfielder and four-year varsity letter winner who has excelled on the field and in the classroom. She played for the Orange County National Tournament Team
and was named to 2nd team Sea View All-League her freshman year. She followed that up with 1st team All-League honors her sophomore and junior years.
Austin was chosen as SJHHS Varsity Girls Lacrosse MVP her freshman and junior years and is a three-year scholar athlete who is fluent in Spanish. Outside of school, she loves to travel and plans on serving on a full LDS mission before attending BYU and law school.
“I had met her dad when she was in eighth grade and he offered to help coach. I knew there was DNA there because she was a very smart player for as young as she was and you could tell the fact Steve (Austin), who had played in college himself, had transferred a lot of his lacrosse knowledge to her through her youth-playing years,” Welter said.
Welter is a defensive midfielder and a four-year letter winner. She played on the Orange County National team for two years and secured an All-Sea View League honorable mention her freshman year and 2nd team Sea View All-League her sophomore year. Last year, she was recognized with 2nd Team South Coast All-League honors. Welter’s teammates can always count on her to cheer them up with her spontaneous personality, and she is committed to play D1 lacrosse at Kent State, where she plans on studying psychology.
“I get emotional talking about her but I’ll just say she has exceeded my expectations and grown into a fine, mature young lady with a great personality. This year’s senior night is going to be absolutely the worst for me,” Welter said with a tear in his eye.
“I expect great things from the three of them this year and the team will be looking to their unique and distinctive leadership styles. I don’t know what I’ll do next year but I’ll worry about that this summer,” Welter said in closing with a smile.
This article was contributed teammate Olivia Fu. Fu is a senior defender who will study at Stanford after graduation.