Perseverance pays off for Palmer, Patriots
by Andrew Stark
Jared Palmer has always wanted to play high school lacrosse. He began playing the sport as a seventh-grader at Queen’s Grant Middle School, but the Stallions don’t have a high school team. So when Palmer arrived at Independence High, he approached then-Principal Mark Bosco about starting a team.
Bosco was in support and an interest meeting at the school indicated a number of students were behind the idea as well. Then, Bosco accepted an administrative position with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system, and Palmer had to start his quest again.
He eventually got enough support from athletics director Kelly Lewis, and the groundwork for the Patriots’ lacrosse program was put in place.
When practice finally opened for the first Independence boys lacrosse team this spring, Palmer, now a rising senior, saw a “good amount of freshmen” and a team with little experience or stick skills. The Patriots didn’t win a game this season but closed out the year with competitive losses to Butler (11-8) and Hopewell (7-4), proving that the guidance from Palmer and the other experienced Patriots had paid off.
“It took a few weeks of repeating ourselves and everyone making the same mistakes, but we came together and everyone did well,” Palmer said.
Palmer provided leadership to a young team in practice and said that although at times the season was tough, he can look back and be satisfied with the progress the Patriots made.
On the field, Palmer scored four goals and paced the team with 13 assists, and he is Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2012 Matthews-Mint Hill Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.
“I did OK but feel like I didn’t do as well I could have,” Palmer said. “I usually am not one to open my mouth a lot; I just kind of go with the flow. But someone had to step up and assume a leadership role, and I and some of the other guys took the lead.”
The results paid off on the field, as the Patriots improved and grew to be a cohesive and competitive team. Palmer said once the team’s collective attitude got better off the field, the improvements became apparent on it.
Now, Palmer wants the Patriots to take the next step.
“It would be nice to have a win,” Palmer said. “But we had a small team this year (in numbers) and will be more experienced and better overall players next year, so we should be better. We had kids that had never played before, and some of them didn’t know how to pick up the ball or how to pass when the season started.
“From where we came, we did well. It will be interesting to see what happens next year. We will be better and will have a good understanding of what we can improve upon, so that will be exciting.”