When defender Jackson Andres ’15 decided to play lacrosse, it triggered an unwavering passion. At 9 years old, Andres joined the Lightning Lacrosse team, which caters to young athletes in the West Windsor, Plainsboro, and Cranbury communities, and later the Team Turnpike Elite Lacrosse team.
As a four-year member of the varsity team, Andres has been the recipient of many athletic awards. Among other titles, Andres was a two-time All-American selection by the Central Jersey Region for 2014 and 2015 and was chosen by Trenton Times as a member of the NJSIAA Group III All-State first team.
According to Head Coach Peter Stanton, what sets Andres apart from other players on the team is not only his size—as he stands 6 feet 2 inches and 200 pounds—but also his refined skill level. “He’s very big and very strong and very physical,” Stanton said. “He throws passes that surprise people and he picks up the ball in traffic that somebody his size playing with a long stick shouldn’t be able to get to.”
As a defender, Andres has captured 47 ground-balls and contributed to countless turnovers this season alone. One of Andres’s most effective tactics, according to Stanton, is when he “de-twigs” an opponent, or uses stick checks to knock an opponent’s stick (“twig”) out of his hands.
Over the span of his high school career, Andres reflects that his favorite moment as a member of the team was its win against Allentown High School in 2014. “My greatest moment playing lacrosse for PHS was probably winning the Mercer County Tournament my junior year,” Andres said. “We beat [Allentown] the year before that in the same game … It was very rewarding and satisfying.”
Now a senior on the team, Andres has taken a more active role as one of the co-captains. “I’m a lot more vocal [this season],” Andres said. [The team] counts on me and Joe Hawes [’15] and Colin Buckley [’15] … We just have a lot more responsibility on and off the field.”
Rory Helstrom ’16 noticed an evident change in his role as this season. “He transitioned from just leading the defense to leading the whole team and [he] always stayed positive, even when we were down,” Helstrom said.
After graduation, Andres will play lacrosse at Drexel University at the Division I level. Stanton said, “He’s got that combination of size and skill that makes him a really good prospect to get playing time at the D-I level.”