When “Wall Ball” Leads to College 4

Three Lee’s Summit High School Lacrosse Players Earn Athletic Scholarships to the Same School

Going to college on athletic scholarship may seem like a lofty goal to some, but for three Lee’s Summit lacrosse players, this dream has become reality. Justice Greenberger, Chris Snyder and Darien Orellana have done what only a small percentage of athletes ever do. All three earned scholarships to attend Missouri Baptist University and the path that brought them this far is a tribute to the rewards of discipline, coaching and inspiring amounts of parental support.

Getting on the lacrosse field was only the first step in a chain of events that would eventually land the boys at MBU. Christie Orellana probably had no idea just how far it would go when she encouraged (or “forced” according to Darien) her son to play lacrosse for Lee’s Summit. Justice Greenberger, who was playing football at the time, made a deal with a friend that he would try lacrosse if his friend would try football. His friend never showed, but it was too late for Justice, the lacrosse field hooked him. Chris Snyder walked into the sport as a 13 year old who didn’t know what he was getting into, but after attending one practice, he “couldn’t drop his stick” for weeks. A new passion had been born.

For all three boys, this passion quickly became an exercise in hard work and discipline. Traveling to places like Illinois quickly taught them that they had some catching up to do.

According to Snyder, “Illinois teams are really hard. Lacrosse is a thing there, ya know! They grow up with a stick in their hands. It’s a regular sport to them…not to us.” So they got to work. Each boy committed to two to three hours of practice per day, shooting drills, hours, watching hours of YouTube videos, and non-stop “wall ball.” When asked what wall ball was, the reply from Greenberger was simple. “It’s just that. You walk around and bounce the ball off a wall…any wall you can find…anywhere…endlessly.” With every extra hour of hard work and discipline, the path to MBU was taking shape, but according to the boys, what made it all come together was an incredible amount of support.

“Tanner Briggs!” the boys unanimously stated with an almost reverent sense of awe when asked if any particular coach had shaped them. According to Greenberger, Briggs was a coach that started leading them during their sophomore year when “the team was in bad shape.”

Snyder chimed in, “Coach Briggs would put everything he had into every practice. He took lots of time away from his own family to organize trips and tournaments for us. He was a fun guy that would get in there and show us up on the field.”

According to the boys, Briggs turned the team around and made it a family. He put together recruitment packets and individual films to highlight their abilities. Briggs was clearly a committed mentor, but even he would probably agree it couldn’t have been done without the most important support of all…the boy’s families.

When asked what role’s their parents played, the MBU bound students didn’t even have to consider their responses. Almost talking over one another, they spouted a litany of supportive parental credentials. Orellana said his parents were absolutely his biggest fans. Greenberger remarked that his parents didn’t know what lacrosse was at first, but fully supported him in it anyway. Snyder gratefully reflected that his parents came to every game and traveled when they could. The boys were in near disbelief as they took a moment to consider the time and money their parents had invested. It was quite clear they were grateful, felt supported and it seems the investment has paid off.

Now destined for MBU, Justice Greenberger, Chris Snyder and Darien Orellana serve as reminders of what can come with the correct mix of passion, work and support.