N I A G A R
A G A Z E T T
HS LACROSSE: GI’s Hultgren has grown into role
By Nate Beutel
GRAND ISLAND — One look at Alex Hultgren and budding
lacrosse star probably isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind.
He’s about 5-foot-10, maybe 140 pounds with that long, wavy hair that seems to
be the trend with most teenagers.
Now, think back a year and you’ll find the model of where the Grand Island
senior developed from, perhaps without the wavy hair.
“I learned a lot from Phil Wendt last year,” Hultgren said of his
relationship with the 5-foot-7, 140-pound former all-Western New Yorker. “He
taught me how to keep my composure, keep my body up and even draw penalties
against bigger guys.”
While Wendt was perhaps best known for his scoring exploits, it was his
leadership skills that left the biggest impression on the underclassmen,
according to Hultgren.
“Phil was a great leader for us,” he said.
The same is now being said of Hultgren.
“Part of his leadership is that he takes advantage of every rep he gets,
whether it’s in a practice or a game,” GI coach Steve Steck said of Hultgren.
“Alex along with Mike Magaris always go full-go with everything. To have two
seniors like that is a blessing.”
Those leadership qualities have been even more important this season as the
Vikings feature about a half dozen sophomores that see significant playing time.
“Leadership is real important when the team is so new,” Hultgren said. “We
have to teach them how to keep their composure and play at the varsity level.”
Many are willing to follow after watching Hultgren’s play on the field. With
the graduation of top scorers Ryan Samland and Wendt, the scoring had to fall on
the shoulders of someone else and Hultgren has taken on a big part of that
responsibility. The x-attacker, who begins the Vikings’ offense from behind
the net, has consistently been atop the score sheet in the early part of the
season and Steck believes that’s a product of hard work, maturity and
“He played all offseason and put a ton of work into it, but a big part of it
was that he grew physically,” the coach said. “He’s truly that
quarterback-type in that knows where everyone should be and what everyone should
be doing on every play and that’s a big reason he’s so successful out
Hultgren admitted that he’s been having a blast this year, getting a chance to
both put the ball in the net and set up his teammates more. But like any good
leader, he was quick to point out that the team has plenty of work to do if it
wants to be a legitimate threat come playoff time.
“If we can get all of our players together, get our heads right and have the
younger guys keep adjusting to the varsity game, I think we can make some noise
in the playoffs,” he said.
Hultgren plans to attend the University at Buffalo to study pharmacy next fall.
He also hopes to join the UB club lacrosse team, one of the better club programs
in the country.