Richardson driven to compete

Friday, May 21, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:38 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

After school, Jeremy Richardson does not hang out with his friends, go home or stay after to study.

He hops in his car, turns on some music and drives.

Richardson, a sophomore at Jefferson City, makes the 30-minute commute to Columbia every day to practice with the Rock Bridge lacrosse team. He said the drive does not bother him and he passes the time listening to music or talking to friends on his cell phone.

“It’s not too bad,” Richardson said. “The worst part about it is the traffic in Jeff City leaving the high school. The most it delays me is about five minutes.”

Richardson said there are always days he does not want to make the drive, but he does not regret joining the team. He likes contact sports and it keeps him in shape. Richardson said sometimes he has trouble getting to practice on time when he stays after school. The coaches are never too hard on him.

“They give me a lot of leeway,” Richardson. “They’re real understanding about me traveling up every day.”

Richardson and the Bruins meet Hickman at 5:30 p.m. today at Rock Bridge in the Golden Cross match.

Richardson decided to play lacrosse because he wanted to try something new and the sport is similar to hockey, his favorite sport. He went to the Rock Bridge tryouts and made the junior varsity squad. Rock Bridge coach Ben Smith said Richardson’s performance during conditioning impressed him and JV coach Derek Coleman.

Both coaches said it was easy to work with his natural athletic ability. They said he learned the game quickly and became a standout on the JV.

“You get the occasional player who just naturally has some ability and picks up on some stuff right away and he’s one of those kids,” Smith said. “We didn’t have to focus on the basics all the time with him.”

Coleman said Richardson’s desire to become better is another characteristic that sets Richardson apart from his teammates. On the first day of conditioning, Richardson went to Coleman and asked what it took to develop his game.

“A lot of kids come up and say that, but most of the kids who come up and say that are just trying to get on the coaches’ good side,” Coleman said. “He really came up and he wanted to become the best lacrosse player he could.”

Coleman said Richardson does the extra things he’s told to do and it shows in games. To have a player with so much drive is fine with Coleman.

Richardson’s hard work paid off late in the season. He played in a varsity game against Shawnee Mission on April 29. The Bruins defeated the Raiders 7-1. The coaches said they were certain Richardson would play for the varsity next season. He was not so sure.

“I hope to be (on varsity),” Richardson said. “You just never know until tryouts.”

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