Glenelg has put together another stellar season, led by captains Julia Salandra and Caroline Esmond. The two have been dynamic leaders all season. The Gladiators won their first region title since 2008 with a 10-5 victory against Atholton in the 3A/2A South final. Glenelg then advanced to the state championship for the first time since 2008 with a dominant 15-3 victory against C. Milton Wright. Glenelg ran past Oakdale, 14-1, May 24 to capture the Class 3A/2A state championship.
What type of bond do the seniors have on the team after competing with one another during the years?
Julia Salandra: We all get along really well, and we're all very close with one another off the field, and I think that shows in the way that we play with each other. Some of us played on different club teams through the years and would compete against each other all the time, so it is definitely cool to be able to come together with the same goals and win as a team on Glenelg. It has been awesome to just watch everyone grow as lacrosse players, especially Caroline and myself, who started out as the two freshmen on varsity to becoming senior captains together and now getting ready to go off and both play collegiately.
Caroline Esmond: The bond between our seniors is very strong. Some of us have been on the team together for 3-4 years now, so we not only have great chemistry off the field, but we feel comfortable coming to each other and sharing what needs to be fixed or adjusted on the field.
Are you also close off the field?
JS: Absolutely, the other seniors on the team are a few of my best friends, so during lacrosse season, we are literally with each other 24/7, which just makes the season that much better.
CE: Yes, I've grown up playing with the seniors on our team. We have been best friends/neighbors/teammates since elementary school. It's great to be so close with teammates coming into a season because that chemistry is already there.
How did Glenelg get better as the season wore on?
JS: I think that, in the beginning of the season, we knew that we had potential and that we had a lot of great players on the team, but it was a matter of finally coming together as a unit and just playing the game without thinking too much that has brought us more success.
CE: As a team, we gained a lot of confidence as the season went on. We have players of every year (including three freshmen), so I think it took our team a little while to adjust and find that confidence. As we worked on and developed our offenses and defenses, each player was able to show their talents individually but still mesh as a unit. I think that is what has us finishing the games [in playoffs] against teams that we lost to or tied in the regular season.
What are your plans for college and areas of study?
JS: I have committed to play lacrosse at the University of Maryland, where I will be studying business.
CE: I am attending George Washington University to play lacrosse. I plan on studying finance, but I'm also very interested in law.
What will you remember most about attending and playing for Glenelg?
JS: I will remember being a part of program that grew so much within the time that I was there -- going from freshman year and hardly being able to compete with a team like Marriotts Ridge to eventually beating them as a senior in a sectional final game. It has been a really incredible experience, and I am so happy for the people I have met because of it.
CE: We've had some really tough games against our rivals the past four years, and those are always fun to compete in. Sometimes the outcomes weren't in our favor, but avenging those games and matchups are so rewarding. Our players and coaches have worked so hard in building this team to the level we are at now, and I feel very fortunate to take part in a program that comes out onto the field every day ready to work hard. The determination and heart of a team like ours can't be imitated. This feeling of accomplishment is something I will always remember.