Last Spartan standing


Erick Gonzalez

Erick Gonzalez (11) faces one of his opponents during the Lausanne vs. St. Benedict senior night game last season. Intensity surged through the crowd and on the field as many played their last game as a Lynx.

Beads of sweat drip down his brow, gasps of air drone out the crowd, and Erick Gonzalez (11) races down the field as he catches sight of the rubber ball whizzing through the air. 

With only a ball, a netted stick and a helmet, lacrosse combines physical intensity with strategic teamwork to push players past their limits. Because White Station lacks a boys lacrosse team, Spartans challenge the idea of school rivalries by joining the Lausanne boys team. 

“Going in, I did think I’d be treated differently from the rest, positively or negatively, but after a while, I realized that I was treated the same as everyone else,” Gonzalez said. “In fact, it’s almost like they embrace the fact that I come from a different school, and I think they’re really glad me and others have joined the team.”

In most Memphis public schools, lacrosse does not receive as much attention as football or basketball. Even Lausanne, a school that prioritizes sports, depends on Spartans, homeschool students and members of other schools to build a large enough lacrosse team. 

“Obviously, I’d love to play for my school and have that true school spirit feeling, but I play just as hard for Lausanne, and I just think playing for a different school shows both White Station and Lausanne what they could be missing out on,” Gonzalez said. 

In science, chemistry may be the study of elements and matter, but in lacrosse, chemistry is what allows players to connect, play hard and succeed. Although many star players contributed to their wins, it was the overall group performance that allowed the team to break their losing streak.

“Last season, we really found a way to click the last six games,” former player Payne Mednikow (12) said. “Everybody started doing their job. We started figuring out plays, figuring out rhythms of each player and figuring out how each other worked. We struggled with that a lot beforehand. Once we started working together, that’s when we started getting stuff done.”

Many Spartans picked up a stick for the first time at Lausanne. All players have access to the facilities and equipment, and those who consistently bring value to the team often see even more benefits. 

“I would encourage anyone who hasn’t played a sport and feels they can’t go into baseball or can’t go into football to go into lacrosse,” Mednikow said. “It’s easy to pick up; it’s hard to be good at, but Lausanne offers you so many opportunities.”

Throughout the regular season, the team practices five days a week in order to perfect their plays. Unfortunately, as some teammates graduated and others did not have the time to commit to hours of rigorous practice, the team slowly started to shrink.

“I was doing robotics at the time, and lacrosse was just not enough of a pull for me to keep playing,” former player Beau Sorin (12) said. 

During their 2020-2021 season, half the team consisted of White Station players donning blue and gold jerseys of Lausanne. However, by spring of 2022, Gonzalez was the only Spartan remaining on the field. 

“I lost a lot of motivation to play when [many White Station players] left and even questioned whether or not I should leave too,” Gonzalez said. “When I mentioned this to some of the team, they made me realize that there was no reason for me to leave because I still had them to count on.”

As the team prepares for their 2021-2022 season, Gonzalez continues to juggle school, work and his Lynx spirit despite initial worry that his schedule would not allow for continued commitment to the team. 

“Though I questioned my availability on the team several times, I feel locked in to play both this season and my senior season,” Gonzalez said. “The school difference has been a factor in my questioning, but I don’t think I’ll back out from my commitment for a while. I’ve loved playing for Lausanne, and I’m glad I’ll carry on being a Spartan-Lynx for the rest of high school.”